Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Stickfloat Fishing the River Dane: New Area Explored

A warm welcome to a midweek blog update on the second session of the season.  The rivers have been in fine fettle and i hope they have been as kind to you as they have to me.  Lets get straight into it.

The River Dane: 17th June: New But Challenging Swim Produces

With the excitement of the opening session on the Monday behind me I woke up a little later than usual on Tuesday. for most it would be a normal  time to go fishing but for me 8am in the morning feels like I have missed out on the best bit and quite often if i wake this late i don't even bother going.

I arrived on the river and checked in on a mate i knew was on her banks from first light to see how he was getting on.  He was in the swim i had fished the previous day and by all accounts had got of to a great start but the swim had died a bit like mine had the previous day and when i arrived was going through a bit of a lull.  As always i spent far too much time gassing in the swim and it was gone 10am by the time i got back in the car and headed to find a swim. 

I always say on my blog that there is no substitute for preparation and having walked the banks a number of times in the closed season I had a fair idea of what swims where available.  There were no end of easy to fish and simple end of rod tip trotting swims to choose from but since seeing the river all those weeks ago i had my heart set on trying a swim that in all senses of the word was a feeder swim but i knew given the right set up had the potential to be exceptional on the float.

The swim coming of a straight onto a wide bend has a massive slack on the inside and a slack on the far bank with the main flow keeping much to the far side and the trot sweeps round the outside of the bend and down into a tree.  It had all the features to say it would hold some fish and the cover to hold some better chub in my opinion.  Most of the dane you will get away with a 6 to 10 number 4 float and a 13ft rod but in this swim i knew my 17ft float rod would come into its own and my main priority would be to keep any line from the inside slack as this would drag the float in and ruin the presentation.

Float choice was also important and it may seem silly to some my choice in float but i went with a 4 gram bolo float as i knew the extra weight this provides would help me keep the float and bait going down what was quite a narrow line on the far side.  My bait for the day was 2 pints of maggot and pint of hemp seed.  The gear ready i was all set to make a start.

The first few trots down the float was riding high in the water giving away a shallow depth change which saw me altering the depth accordingly.  You then always get that one trot where the float goes down proper and about 10-15 yards down the trot the float went from being up in the water to settling nicely and within seconds it buried and the first fish was on its way in, a nice roach to start off.

It became obvious as the session went on that there were two deep holes along the run as the float would ride up in the water and then settle for 5-10 yards then back up again before settling into another deep hole and in each of these i had a chance of a bite, getting the float down the line at this point was a bit hit and miss though and feeding as well with the catapult made it just that little bit more difficult.

With all days trotting a swim on the float you learn so much more about the swim than on the feeder after a few trots down you can almost map the bottom and as time progresses the amount of times you get it right increases, it really is all about practise and years of fishing the River Dee had put me in good stead for fishing this swim and it wasn't long before i was into a rhythm of casting into the far slack, feeding and then pulling the float back into the float, bite a chuck at some points with some nice dace mixed in with the roach.

As the session progressed the quality of fish increased with the odd skimmer and better Chublet showing.  I get asked quite a lot on emails about how much to feed when trotting and it is always a tough one to answer as it all hangs on that swim on that day and how the fish are feeding.  I was always taught little and often to begin with as you are not there to feed the fish but to catch them so you put in just enough to keep them lined up, unless you think their having it.  I guess that is where the skill in stick float fishing comes in, not only being able to control a float through a swim but also feeding the swim correctly.

The swim at this point i was feeding a pouch of maggots every other trot down and a pouch of hemp every few trots down and it was evident that there was a decent head of fish in the swim as the bites here instant over the hemp and deep holes. Chublets spewing up mouth fulls of maggots got me thinking just how much bait was getting down so i began to up the feed to see it it brought on the better fish, a pouch of mag every put in was now my feeding pattern.

Around this time i was visited by Scott who had packed in and was off for an evening session on a local pond, he spent a good hour at the peg during the period where i was getting to grips with the swim and began to put together fish with regularity, i have no idea on weights but while he was at peg i was getting fish most trots down, roach and dace.

It was after he left they really came on and the introducing more feed certainly was the right call as the better roach like the one above and a better stamp of chublet started coming to the net.  The session culminated in a cracking bite right down the swim when in the final hole the float buried and i was into a fish that in the flow put up a great fight making hard runs for the far bank cover, a good 40 years down the swim it was a great fight and i was more than made up when i slid the net under a nice chub around 1lb to 1.5lb, certainly the best chub so far and proof the better boys are around.

As the session grew to a close it was only the fact i ran out of bait that saw me pack in as the fish were still having it as i packed in, i did manage to get three chublets on my last maggot haha. The final net weighed just under 16lb and considering it was caught in the middle of the day is testament to how well this river is fishing.

In all it was a session that gave me so much joy as i had picked a swim and gone at it with a plan, had confidence to go heavier and in my choice of feeding and end tackle and had put together a decent net of fish from such a small river.  I was soon on the phone to my uncle letting him know how the session had gone and ho happy i was in my own efforts on the day.

till next time

tight lines



  1. Nice to know the roach/dace/chub are still there in numbers. I used to catch similar bags to that way back in the late fifties from the Dane. Find the right swim, feed it, trot it, and the fish would come...no bream though. Very enjoyable fishing.

  2. Hi JaYZS, the river at the moment is alive with chhublets, roach, perch and dace but the problem we are finding at the moment is the fishing is great for a few hours then all of a sudden the swim dies completely with no signs of pike ot bigger fish if you persevere, its going to be a big learning curve finding how to keep the bites coming but the future for this river is really bright for year to come. And yes its fantastic fishing hence us not going onto another river yet lol