In this weeks update the fishing comes from the River Dane where we find the river in perfect nick but the temperatures well into the minus figures, the results of this session are more than worth reading on for. The next day i was of course out piking for the morning and again it was nice to get a few pike on the bank and keep my total ticking over towards the challenge of 100 in a season.
The introduction this weeks covers our River Dane campaign and what where we are at with discovering this intimate river and a general look at how me and my uncle tackle new rivers over the year, a little bit on the yearly carp stocking charade from Warrington Anglers and a little piece on my fishing plans for the coming weeks over Christmas.
With that its onto the Update:
New River Need A Plan....
I have lost count how many times i have seen the following question on Forums and social Media pages "I have recently moved next to a river, how do i tackle it". In my early years river fishing with my uncle the River Dee was the river we dedicated all of our trips too and week in week out we travelled to her banks and unless she was flooded or unfishable we wet a line.
To start off with we did our home work by locating all the EA water level stations along the rivers length and on all the major tributaries feeding the main river and every time we headed out i saved a copy of the water levels to go with the trips we were fishing. Sometimes the level station might not bee in the length you are fishing, sometimes it can be miles away, but the key is remembering that the level at certain stations is all relative to the stretch you are fishing. An example being i know if the level at Farndon on Dee is below 4.75 i knew the gravel bars at almere where not under water the two places are a good distance apart but you can see how one level lets you know information about the other when you learn your river.
The next stage of our plan is always to fish a wide range of water and fish as many locations along the river as possible taking in the deeper lower reaches as well as the middle reaches to try and locate the fish. The dace especially is a fish that does shoal up in winter but in summer spreads far and wide but what we did find was these dace shoals would also return to the same areas in summer and finding these hot spots proved invaluable to us and to this day the fish still return to the same spring and summer spots before heading to the well known winter spots to form the huge shoals the river is famous for.
Dont get me wrong it took a long time and many many blanks fishing stretches that looked like they would hold fish but in truth did not to pin down the hot spots along the river. Once these areas where known we then had a range of river to go at where we know good shoals of fish lived and we set about learning how the river fished in different conditions. Many people will tell you that the river Dee is not worth fishing if it is over 6.5m high but you would be wrong to stick to these set in stone laws as i recall a session when we fished the river at 7.5m and bagged up on dace taking 20lb each from a swollen tributary on the stick float. The key to this was knowing the dace where in the area in hue numbers and that come the main river rising they would all push into the slower tributary that had back up.
I guess learning on such a big river gave us the confidence to then take this these principles onto the small river dane and have confidence in our plan, at the end of the day most rivers are the same just on a smaller or larger scale the same featured such as back eddys, under cut banks, smooth shallow dace glides and long deep roach swims are still there. So far this season we have fished all the lower and middle reaches of the Dane and have already located areas that hold nice Roach, chublets and perch and we are currently moving into our first winter fishing this river as our main river so we hope to learn areas that will fish in high water and also see if the better chub in the 3-4lb bracket come more to play as the cold sets in and they come to the feed.
One thing is for sure to learn a river you need to get out there on the banks both summer and winter and sometimes you learn a lot more from the blanks than you do the sessions you bag up and it comes easy. The road may be hard and sometimes you think why go here when we can go somewhere we know we will catch but in the long run it pays and this year we have reaped the rewards of having a good knowledge of the River Dee, Dane and Bollin and is the main reason the blanks on the rivers this year have been few and far between. In short its worth the effort in the ling run.
Got To Keep Them Carpers Happy....
Reading Franks Collumn again this week a post came up i had been expecting for some time. It was the yearly communal invite to come and rejoice on the banks of the local carp waters as the latest batch of carp where stocked into the waters. Some people may laugh at the words genetically modified but the fact of the matter is in this day and age you can literally go these places and if you want a fully scaled mirror carp or a linear mirror carp then the answer is "of course sir we can breed you one of those". Long gone are the times when these fish where the jewels and one in a life time fish you caught and admired and personally i think you lose the whole magic of such a magnificent creature when there more the norm than the exception.
At the time of me being excluded from the WAA facebook for merely acquiring the numbers of carp stocked from the Chairman's own blog and using these numbers to out my point across that the numbers of carp being stocked to silver fish was grossly unfair, i guess its easier to adopt a dictatorship mentality than actually listen to a member. I mean like at the time of being kicked of i think i counted over 650 individual carp stocked and that was two yearly stockings ago now so i guess we must be fast approaching the stocking of 800-900 carp now.
I guess its only fitting at this most biblical time of year that the chairman and his band of disciples can now claim to achieve the feet of waling on water as there must be that many carp in Sandiway and Grey mist that you know must be able to walk on their backs there are that many. I wonder how many people turning up to witness the stocking will then relieve our chairman of begging for catch reports by actually owning up when they catch these fish....hmmmm it would be interesting to count, yes lets count, fingers and thumbs at ready...doubt i will need my toes.
Don't let my moaning form time to time about these carp lead you to believe i am anti carp, i actually enjoy fishing for the species. My upset is around the equality of the club and how just a small amount of the money spent on these huge amount of carp could do so much for one or two waters silver fish population. I mean what does the average 20lb carp cost these days 400-500 quid?? you but 3 fish in roach and you would have a healthy weight of fish to stock the other pools with. I said a few years ago High legh needed silvers stocking when they put the carp in as the fishery is not balanced and hey ho i read a week or so ago a WAA angler complaining he was blanking on there. Well hey ho mucka the carp have shut down in the cold and on the long cold blank just think of the fun you could have had on a light whip for roach.
With the birth of our little boy imminent it may mean this is my last blog update before Christmas and maybe before 2015 arrives. 2014 has been a great year on the bank but it has been an equally fantastic year off the bank and it has been great to meet so many anglers who read my weekly blog both on social media. emails and on the bank. I have also met a lot of people this year from the angling world with business like Beechwood Baits, Pondip, Water to Go, ALDI, Go Outdoors and the BBC all being fantastic people to work with on projects.
I would like to wish you and your Families a Very Merry Christmas a Happy New Year and a Safe Festive period. May 2015 bring you all the tightest of lines and Success in your ventures.
On to this weeks fishing....
River Dane Stick Float: Bumper Chub Nets and Move Pays Off...
After a long hard week in work 4.30Pm on Friday had arrived and the weekend beckoned she had been a long time coming. There had been little rain through the week so the River Dane was in fine fettle and after just dropping down from flood conditions we expected a good days sport the next morning. That evening i spent a few hours on the bank with Garry fishing for pike at a well lit location but unfortunately none where forthcoming but it was great to back out on the bank with him as December is by far the busiest time of the year for him and bank time has been at a minimum so it was great to meet up again.
i recently came across a feature on Blogspot that allows you to schedule your blog posts to go live a certain time and Friday at 6pm was the first time i utilised this tool so sat on the bank i had a quick check and bang on time it went live and all updated fine so that will certainly be a feature i will be using more its just a pitty the pike where not as punchual in their appearance.
That evening i spent a few hours knocking up some rigs for the session on the river the next day. With rivers and especially with trotting a float where you can really be hunting out snags this preparation the night before saves so much time on the bank. I normally make up between 4 and 10 hook lengths the night before a session and if and when i want to change its a simple as attaching the hook length loop to loop.
Leaving the bustle of the town behind on the morning of the session myself and my uncle both commented on how mild the temperature was again despite it being a clear sky. A quick glance at the temperature gauge on my car showed 40oc. Passing out of the town the temperature dropped with every mile of the journey and then plummeted as we entered the dane valley to a water freezing 28oc. Luckily with flowing water you get some extra scope with water freezing so we where really confident when we pulled up in swims we had caught good nets from before the recent floods.
The first hour and half and i had one small chublet to show for my efforts and i was sat mulling what was wrong when my uncle visited my peg having caught 3 proper chub in the same time. This let me know the fish where on the feed and it was the peg i was fishing not the fish that was the problem with the lack of success so far. Whether you subscribe to the theory that frosts or the amount of day light hours cause fish to migrate to different swims on rivers there is no doubt that silver fish certainly do and it was quite possible that the fish that where holding in my swim all summer where now residing in their winter haunts elsewhere, it was time for a move.
If fishing was ever easy it would be boring and at the age of 30 i am thinking that you could waste a lifetime trying to work out fish and still come up miles short, work this one out. Ste turned up for a chat and being the good man he is he helped me move my gear to a new swim. The swim i left was 4-5ft deep and normally held a good head of roach and chublets. I moved literally 40 yards to a straight glide and plumed up the swim, exactly the same depth as my previous one so no need to alter my depth. Within 10 trots down i had netted around 6-7 fish and it left both me and Ste shocked how you could leave on swim so close and move and then be straight into fish.
Ste left to have a chat with Azza and i continued to catch well in the swim i had moved to. The time was 12 and upon Ste and Azzas return around a hour later i had amassed a nice net of fish weighing around 5-6lb and was well on my way to a good net. Azza had continued to build on his early chub by putting some more quality chevins in his keep net.
Ste left us both catching fish and during the remaining hours the swim i was in went from strength to strength as the fish really came on the feed, nothing massive but great sport and fun and like always with this river it was great to catch such a variety of species with Roach, Dace, Chub, skimmers, perch and even a rogue ide making up the net.
It was one of those sessions where the morning when i was not catching dragged and was hard work and when i found the fish in the afternoon time flew bye and before i knew it the light was closing in and it was time to weigh the nets. My uncle was first and my god did he nail it with a 25.5lb net of all chub. It was a net that was great to see and as i said in the introduction this is our first season on this river and we are already building a picture of where the fish hold in winter.
uncles net and weight
My net went 15.5lb and was a net i was really made up with as it came in around 3.5 hours of fishing.
Few Hours For Mr Pike...
The next morning i had a few hours to burn and i decided to drop in on a spot where i had caught some pike recently in the hope i would find one or two pike willing to take my float fished smelt dead bait.
It was a set up of one rod fished on a float fished dead bait while the other i fished on my small wobble rod. The first 20-30 minutes passed by with no sign of a fish in the clear water and it was beginning to feel like time for a move when right under my feet a flash of olive green and yellow propelled from no where and engulfed my free lined smelt.......GOT YOU i thought as i watched the pike turn the bait and it disappear into its mouth. I could quite clearly see it was a small jack so once the smelt was out of sight I struck immediately to set the hooks in the roof of its mouth. The fight on the small light spinning rod is always good no matter when the size of the fish and with the drag set light so not to pull the hooks it was fun to see the pike pulling line from the reel.
not the biggest pike in the world but most welcome.
With the first pike of the day on the bank you always breathe a sigh of relief and its almost as if the pressure is off and you can relax. An early fish is always welcome on the pike trips although sometimes it can be a kiss of death as its the only bite you get on some trips.
I may have only been dead baiting for pike for a few months but i have certainly began to piece together some theories from my trips for these fish. Two stand out ones are 1) there is certainly a pike feeding spell during the day where the pike seem to switch on and on some days all your bites will come in that short window 2) With jack pike i believe if they move off fast its to get the meal they have found away from the other pike in the area before the meal attracts attentions so they can sulk off and eat it in peace. The fish that i caught first certainly did not hang around after it nailed the wobbled bait so i was confident of more action.
A quick glance at the static dead bait rod is all that is required and with each glance your hopes are heightened and then dashed as the float remains motionless. Then out of the corner of my eye the static dead bait float began to show signs of a bite developing so i calmly brought in the wobbles bait and slowly tip toed past the float to pick up my rod and waited for the right time to set the hooks. The result of the short fight under my feet was another jack pike but a fish is a fish in this game when piking and i will take them while they keep coming.
Unfortunately despite many moves this was all the action for the morning session out for pike and i left the bank feeling a little disheartened as i had caught two pike really early on but spent the next few hours chasing their tails.
Well that is it for this weeks blog update. It was due to go out before Christmas but since the birth of our little boy all safe and well on December 19th time has literally not been there.
Till next time