Friday, 6 December 2013

If you never try you'll never know...River dee Exploring

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and thank you to all the people who sent me nice messages around my weight loss i mentioned in last weeks blog. Thank you it really is appreciated and although with Christmas looming large temptation will be all over the place i am sure i will get through it and still be on track come the new year.

The first thing i would like to do this week is congratulate Dave Harrell in his capture of this fantastic match winning weight of chub below.  The story behind it goes that he woke up really late for the match and only arrived just in time for the start of the match and goes to show that sometimes you can think to much about your different options on the river and not do them all justice, all these fish were caught on the same rod, on the rig and even the same hook if i remember rightly and as i said goes to prove that sometimes narrowing down your options and concentrating on one can be the best way to go.  A fantastic net of fish, a dream net for any river man and it is great to see that after a the bad draws in the RiverFest competition that the river is starting to repay its debt to Dave for all his hard work in putting together that fantastic competition that has really put river angling back on the map.

I have always believed that to write a blog every week and keep it as interesting as possible you need to have great planning and believe it or not this past week or so my mind has been running wild with my plans for the blog for 2014 past when the rivers close.  You can of course only plan so much as with river fishing you really are at the mercy of mother natures winter wrath but some things do run in set cycles and we all know that come next spring and summer carp and tench will be at the forefront of our minds as anglers and with that i began putting a few ideas together another Quest for the blog. As regular followers of the blog will know the last quest i did was to catch my first ever double figure carp, it took me two seasons but considering i started from nothing knowledge wise on carp fishing and i learnt as i went along i think that is quiet an achievement. This time i  am running over a few ideas as to what i want the quest to entail am slowly putting together a small portfolio on each idea taking into account venues as in are they local and easy for me to fish?, do they contain my target? and most of all is it something that is going to keep me motivated as whatever challenge i choose its going to be a step up for me.

The past quest for a double figure carp can be found here:

The quest for a 10lb carp of course taught me lessons on rigs and watercraft when fishing for bigger fish but i also noticed a few things as i was completing the quest and the two main things that occupied my mind where 1)  how much a second rod would be use full, there were plenty of times i wanted to try two areas but only had the one rod and times where i did not know whether a pop up was best of bottom bait and two rods would allow me to experiment on one 2) how under gunned i felt fishing with my 1.75tc barbel rod in its Avon form, i didn't know if i was under gunned or not but just the thought of not knowing really worried me at the time, what if i hit a 20 would i get it in? that's not fair on the fist at the end of the day, so i made a promise that once the quest was over i would make sure i was equipped properly before embarking on the next one.

With that in mind i have been keeping my eyes peeled for a pair of carp rods in the 2.75lbtc bracket for some time now .  I had originally had my eyes on the Sonik SKS  range as i wanted a rod that could do the job but not see me spending a fortune on it and 50 quid per rod was the maximum i wanted to spend and with my birthday coming up quickly time was running out to make a decisions, so on Tuesday night i was all set to make a buy a pair of these rods when i decided to make a quick brew, on my return there in front of me was a big advertisement on facebook of a sale on at Climax Tackle, Prologic C3 carp rods reduced down to 49.99.  In my research i had come across these rods but with each costing well over 100 pound they were well out of my price range, needless to say i took no time at all in snapping two of them up and all being well by the time this blog goes out i should be the proud owner of a pair of these rods.

These rods will not be sat gathering dust as they will be going straight into use for my piking as i have a session planned for the pike this very weekend all being well.  My barbel rod will become just that from now on a river rod for barbel and chub fishing and the ultimate aim is to be able to vary my fishing at easy without having to keep changing the same rod over from barbel fishing to pike fishing, having two rods will also add to my options with the pike fishing and will see me targeting pike on future sessions on the Dee as two rods give you the luxury of two baits in the water.   All in all there are exciting times ahead for the blog there a a few conversations ongoing with people with ideas going into 2014 and i must say i cant wait to make a start.

This weekend marks my birthday and as is the tradition i have booked an extended weekend off work with the plan of getting out on the bank as much as possible.  All being well there should be some river fishing for dace and chub and also i am hoping to get out for a pike fishing trip on dead baits as well, of course these plans are always subject to change but all being well a nice weekends fishing lays ahead.

This does not fit in with the blog right here but as many of you know who follow me on twitter and facebook i write this blog over a few evenings, anyhow i fear there is never a right place for this.  Tonight as i set up the laptop to continue with the blog the news has broke about the passing or Nelson Mandela. In my younger years  in college i was fortunate enough to travel to South Africa for three weeks playing Rugby Union on tour, i left full of enthusiasm for a holiday playing rugby and i returned having learnt a huge life lesson from a country this main carved from a cell.  During my time there we saw many shanty towns and saw the poverty that still exists there and also saw the very island that nelson Mandela spent 27 years of his life imprisoned on.  The whole three weeks changed my thoughts on life dramatically and the stories of how life was during apartheid stick with me to this day, at the time the country was still far from a reformed and perfect country but it was certainly nothing like the stories we heard. RIP Nelson Mandela a true great of our era and a man that whose actions will be taught in history lessons for hundreds of years to come.,

on to this weeks fishing:

"if you never try you'll never know...River Dee Exploring"

  As the title of this weeks blog suggests it was a weekend of discovery for me and my uncle on the River dee this weekend and although it is always great bagging up on the more productive sections of the river a big part of my river fishing is about discovering new areas and hunting out those little spots where fish shoal up.  Along the whole of the river course there are places where the fish will go to in numbers at different times of the year and if you find these spots in winter it can mean you can really bag up on fish whilst also getting some peaceful fishing away from the crazy, hectic, much busier areas of the river that can become irritating over time.

Rivers are unlike their sillwater counterparts in more than just looks, on a river you always feel like you could start catching at any time, this is of course a common feeling on a still water but as a river is constantly flowing and pushing your bait downstream you can draw fish from great distances downstream onto your bait, but you also need to know when to cut and run and this comes down to knowing the river well from past visits and experiences and Saturday was a great example of this as we actually left the swims whilst we where still catching.

We decided to visit a stretch we had fished close to before and had noticed a decent depth change on the visit and had earmarked it for a visit in Winter.  The nature of this area means it is only really fish able at a certain water level and with the unpredictable British weather we knew if we were to try it out last Saturday was our chance as the river was in perfect condition and the water level favourable.  The area we fished before had produced some nice nets of dace and it was this species we had our sights locked on, on Saturdays trip.

Maggot and hemp was the bait for the day and i made my first cast as always full of expectation and excitement.  The float went down the deep glide a dream, not a breath of wind meant the float was a mere pin prick in the surface of the water and utilising my 17ft trotting rod i was able to tease the bait through the swim searching out those different places in the swim where i expected a bite.  As with most sessions on the river the wait for that first bite seems like an eternity, unless that is you hit the ground running on one of those magical trotting sessions the dee can grant an angler.

That first bite took an age to come but when it did it was solid resistance i was met with, certainly not a dace or a roach but i did think i could have been a chub due to its stand and fight stance.  This was short lived as the fish soon gave its identity away the fact it moved upstream with the grace and elegance that only the lady of the stream possesses, this was a grayling and i knew given the cold conditions she would have her full winter colours in bloom, although capturing this fishes beauty on film is easier said than done as any angler will testify they are as wily as they are strong.  During the time we spent at this venue i went to pick up 4 more fin perfect grayling, not all made it in front of the camera though.

With grayling fishing slowing down i  took a walk down to see my uncle who had also had a similar session to myself with a mixture of grayling, salmon par and trout but none of us had even had a sign of the dace we were so hoping for.  I sat with my uncle for a good half hour and i tell you now you cant help but learn something when you watch a person who can trot a float down a swim as well and he can i could literally sit and watch him trotting for hours, a little hold back her and slowing the float down there almost guiding the bait into the fishes mouths, it almost inspires you to want to get back to your peg and try and replicate it and that i did although not with the touch that he does, the way he holds the float back without it rising out of the water at all is so hard to do.

I returned to my peg and first trot down i struck into a fish that had me chuckling like john wilson as the fish jumped time and time again and it was not a bad fish so my heart was also in my mouth each time.  A trout it was of course but it was this fishes markings that caught my attention it was mesmerising in its beauty i certainly have never caught a trout with such vivid markings as this fish.

Both myself and my uncle where desperate for one dace to show up as we both knew where there is one dace there is more but as time passed and more and more grayling continued to show up we both knew a decision had to be made, the dace where not here and it was obvious from the amount of game fish coming to our swims that there was no dace in the area, if they had been around we would have certainly hit one by now.  With this we decided to drop back on another venue on the way home to a place we knew held some dace.

Dropping back for the Dace 

Like i have mentioned before on this blog we always have a plan on our trips we very rarely hit the bank without a plan B and we visited this stretch on Saturday with the intention that if we did not find the dace we would drop back on a stretch we knew held some dace.

Arriving on this popular beat we were amazed to find it so quiet,we quickly settled into our pegs and instantly was into dace action.  My uncle was out of sight but i could hear form the noise of his striking he was getting a few fish going.  The dace where right there from the off and i soon was over the ten fish mark and although i didn't have much time i was sure i was in for a decent net.  The dace action was steady but it was not over my help and i found the dace to be coming at all areas of the swim and not really in one place which can happen in a fast swim.  It was during one of these trots down i hit a fish right on my hemp, i was actually taken by surprise as i wasn't expecting it but luckily for me it was one of those unmissable bites, my reward? A fantastic river dee roach, the fish of Saturdays session for me.

The session for me got a bit hit and miss after this fish with the fish seemingly moving in and out of the swim to the point they were there one minute and not next.  I visited my uncle during one of these dry spells and he had got the fish going right under his feet, one a chuck.  I returned to my peg for the last hour of the session and continued to pick up the odd dace and on last knocking had a fish taken by a pike that spat the fish at the last moment, like last week, seconds before i was to get a glimpse of him.

The final nets:

my net:

uncles net

That is is for this weeks instalment for the blog,

till next week i wish you all tight lines and stay safe.


1 comment:

  1. Worth a read as ever Danny. I too have found trout caught recently to be ultra variable, even had one a cople of days ago looking rather like the fish you have pictured. I actually read that there is more genetic variability in the brown trout genome, than there is inherent in that for Homo Sapiens!
    You hit a sore point with blogs in general. I always find it difficult to come up with something I actually WANT to blog about in advance. And it would suggest that my aim in angling is partly to feed the blog, whereas it is not. The blog is purely an optional extra, decoration, and therefore not essential. So I don't plan any trips based on how they might look on paper. Usually venture out thinking, OMG not blogged for a week or so, nothing to say, but something usually crops up once I have a rod in my hand, angling being such a variable pastime.