Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stick Float Fishing: River Dane Chub

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This week saw the river season coming to its end and as it is with most years the last few weeks leading up to March 15th can bring some of the best fishing of the year, this year probably more so as the months of flooding have saw the fish more spread out that years when we have a settled cold winter.

Rivers in there nature are ever changing from season to season but the picture below shows just how dramatic changes on the River can be.  The picture below shows the same stretch of the River Severn a month apart, in one the river is in full flood, over her banks and in the town and fields yet only a month later all that is left to suggest of the devastation before is the dirty water line marks on the local buildings.  Again a picture that should act as warning to any new member to river angling of how powerful and deadly a tranquil looking river can be.  Thanks to @DaveThroupEA for permission to use hos picture.

Many people worry about the welfare of the fish in these times of flood and you do read comments along the lines of "these floods will ruin our rivers as it will see many thousands of fish washed out to sea."  In my own personal opinion i don't believe this is to be the case and i think the biggest threat to the fish in these floods comes from getting stuck in fields as the river drops after the rains stop, an example of this was on the river Severn where a large shoal of roach became trapped in the racecourse after the river dropped.  I believe many fish just move into the slacks behind trees and most probably feed quite well on the influx of food washed in off submerged trees and bushes, we know barbel given the right temperatures go on the feed hard during floods so it makes sense that all other fish will find food.  Lets not forget as well that these fish in rivers are against the flow their whole lives so them being washed away is very unlikely.

Fish also have great adaptation powers as no sooner have our rivers got out of flood, some like the Dee are still carrying extra water, that the fish are getting ready to or have recently spawned, dace i caught in this weeks blog where either really slimy of rough as sandpaper to the touch a sure sign they are about to or have recently spawned.

This time of year i normally do a recap on the highlights of the river season but with these floods it would in effect be a recap of all my river sessions what with missing 3 months of fishing.  I would say these past two weeks have been one of the biggest highlights in my short river fishing career, certainly since learning how to trot and catch dace on the River Dee, as joining this new club in Northwich Anglers has really got me excited about the future of my river fishing and gives me so much opportunity to target so many different species only a short drive from my home.  My head at the moment is literally full of all types of fishing opportunities i can explore from pike fishing the river weaver in winter to maybe hunting down my first river dane barbel, next season holds so much promise.

Looking forward a little bit to the next 3 months and up to autumn winter i will be running another Quest on the blog, i am unsure if it will be under a separate heading yet or whether it will make up part of my weekly blog updates but it is certainly going to revolve around the hunt for a new personal best carp and hopefully will lead to me catching my biggest ever fish of any species on the bank, its sure to be a great adventure and i hope it ends as well as the last quest.  I will be going more in detail on this in next weeks blog where i will be outlining my challenge, info on some locations and my thoughts on how i am going to go about it.

Here is the last Quest to catch a 10lb Carp:

If you enjoy the blog and would like to keep up with my sessions as they happen and my day to musings on all things angling you can keep up with the blog on both Twitter at @satonmyperch or on Facebook on the following link:  I see these social media arms of the blog as a great way for any readers of the blog to ask questions and post their captures from the bank so feel free to follow or like the page and let me know how your fishing is going.

And with that its onto this weeks fishing:

Sunday:  Stick float fishing on the River Dane:  The hook length tying KING :-/

Sunday morning and with a slight rise in river levels on the River Dee we again decided on visiting the tiny intimate River Dane, after last weeks half day session where we banked a few chublets who could blame us.  As with all our fishing we take turns fishing areas we know are good so if there is a peg that is notorious for being a good peg we will always take turns in fishing it from visit to visit.  On this session my uncle let me have a go in the swim he had done well in on our previous trip while my uncle dropped in a swim downstream.

The swims on this river are a far cry from the comfy pegs of the weaver but as a seasoned river dee angler you kind of expect to have to "adapt" you swim to fit all you essentials into it.  The Dane for me is synonymous with the smell of flowers and almost tropical humidity as you sit amongst the brambles and later on in the year Himalayan balsam and its this that once set up you take a breath before making your first cast and you know your on the banks of the river Dane.

My set up for the day was my 17ft carbon active float rod in conjunction with my blue Shakespeare reel loaded with 4.5lb drennan float fish line on which perched a Dave Harrell 10 number 4 stick float down to a size 18 kamasan animal hook, as simple as it comes, bait wise was my trust two pints of maggots and a pint of home cooked hemp seed.

As always while setting up i was introducing some freebies down the swim and after a quick chat with my uncle about snags he had found the previous week and areas to avoid (so valuable to have this insight) i was all set to go.  My first cast down and right over my hemp the float buried and i was into my first chub of the day, after a week in work and the warmth of the sun just beginning to break through it was a welcome bend in my rod.

A great start to the session and i was optimistic for the session ahead.  A few more trots down resulted in a dace and small chublets and i was starting to think i was in for a extraordinary session indeed.  The next trot down and no bites came over the area i was getting them so i ventured further down the swim and the float buried, striking i felt solid resistance, too solid to be a fish and sure enough my first snag of the day, o well i thought just avoid that area.  I had tied 5 hook lengths the night before the trip and over the next hour or so preceded to loose all 5 on snags at different points in the swim.  In total i had one right out in front of me cutting off the far bank run, casting further down stream below snag resulted in hitting a snag down the far bank and the inside line had a hum dinger of a snag along it meaning to inside line was a no go and any trot down the middle was like playing snag roulette, too far inside and it was hook length tying time again.

It got the the stage where if i got down the swim i was hitting fish but beyond a point it became not worth the risk so it was all or nothing on one area of the swim and frankly once the bites died in this area it was a long wait for them to come back up the swim, in fact it was a long, frustrating day full stop as i knew i was in a swim full of fish.  After snagging up again enough was enough and out came the feeder rod and i sat the last two hours out on that over my bed of hemp where i put together a few nice roach.

My uncle further downstream had a cracker of a day putting together a bumper net of chub, roach and dace topping the scales at 16lb and it was only the reflection of the sun on the water that made it impossible to see his bites that caused him to pack in early or i am sure he would have broke the 20lb mark. I finished with around 5-6lb of fish, great to be out and i can now tie hooks on in my sleep.

uncles net

my net

Tuesday: Stick Float Fishing on the River Dane:  Score to Settle and my luck changes

Monday saw me on a days pre booked annual leave as me and the family visited Chester Zoo, a trip we make every year and one that sees me not sleeping the night before with excitement, ever since a kid i have loved the place and year on year it just keeps on building and improving and improving, i have to say i love the place.  Last year they replaced the loss of the Sea Lions with giant otters and try as i must last year i could not catch a glimpse of them, well this year was different as they put on one almighty show for me, boy are they loud and i dread to think what the angling world would make it one of these super charged otters was seen on one of our rivers.

The weather was beautiful and the recent warm temperatures where evident in most of the wildlife basking int he sun, now most would post a picture of lions here but not me i love those little corners of the zoo and peeking in the moats that surround the exhibits, upon looking in one i came across this carp basking, a sure sign its time to take down those pike rods and out with the carp gear.

During the day the disappointment of how badly i had done on the Sunday was running through my mind and whilst walking through the bat cave i bit the bullet and promptly rang work to book a days leave for the following day and also put a call into my dad to pick me up a pint of maggots to top up the half pint i had left from Sunday.

Tuesday morning and i had in my mind to fish the river dee as she looked in good nick on the charts so off i travelled into the night and just as day broke i arrived and set up in a popular area for dace.  It wasn't until around a hour in i realised i had not set up my landing net and a quick check in the net bag revealed it to be absent and it hit me like a brick i had hung it in a tree to dry on the River dane and i had left it.

To this point i had caught one dace and around 20 of these salmon smelts, not my intended quarry at all and knowing how they can eat it was decision time, i had in the back of my head that i was knackered if i hit anything decent or a pike moved in as i wouldn't be able to try for it to move it on so at 7.30am i took the decision to nip back home to puck up another landing net and then make the short trip to the dane.

Arriving on the banks of the Dane my luck instantly changed as there in the tree where i had left it was my landing net, all 25 quids worth of her, i was over the moon and was one very very lucky angler indeed.   I quickly checked the swim availability situation before plonking my gear down on a nice comfy peg with a gentle glide down to shallower water.  Set up was my 17ft float rod and a dave harrell 8 number 4 stick float with a size 18 hook, i knew chub would be on the agenda but i have never been a fan of big hooks for trotting for chub and i wanted to give myself every chance of catching every species of fish.

A quick glance at my watch, 9am, i had made good time from Wales to home and then to the dane so with the sun on my face i made my first cast.  Bites came pretty much from the off with small chublets greedily gobbling up my free offerings, easily distinguishable from the dace by their XXL mouths. Eventually some better fish moved in and first was this heavily spawn laden dace, my green t-shirt reflecting in its mirror like scales, can you beat a hand full of dace.

The swim went through a major lull around 11am till 1pm where i could not buy a bite only the odd small chublet right down the swim, on the dee you would swear a pike but on the dane it normally means decent fish have moved in and this is where the beauty of the river comes in, on a still water you know its either carp, perch or bream but on a river it could be barbel, chub, bream, perch or carp.  I carried on persevering and then right on my hemp i struck into a solid fish that moved slowly over to the far bank before making hard runs for a snag under my feet, as it did so i knew it was came over if it made it so i quickly moved down the bank giving it side strain to pull it down stream.

The fish came up to the surface and its bronze flanks shimmered in the afternoon sun revealing itself to be a chub and one of the better ones of recent sessions.  In the net she went 1lb 10oz, not the monsters you get further upstream but there about on there that's for sure.

As soon as this fish hit the net the bites where back and instantly i was into more dace and chublets which kept the swim ticking over nicely and with the sun just becoming a problem with glare on the water i began to pick up some nice roach which just tipped off a nice days trotting and trip well.

The sun on the water made fishing impossible as seeing the float past a few feet down the swim was a striking lottery of when you thought the float had gone under, not ideal for good presentation or striking shy biting roach, so conscious i had work the next day i called it a day and was more than happy with the net of roach, chub and dace i put together of just under 10lb.

till next week its tight lines from me,


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