So the closed season slowly has come to an end and as it does your mind turns to the season ahead and what your plans are for it. This year i have not so much as set out a set plan as such more to discover the hidden gems that the River Dane holds. Most of the river is wild and over grown and looks like it does not see many anglers once you leave the hustle and bustle of the streets behind and get into the miles of river in farmers fields and down untrodden tracks. The river dee is never far from our thoughts and I am hoping that this year this river provides us with the odd special trip away and becomes a treat for us to visit her rather than the norm it has been in past years, we have spent many hours exploring her banks, walked two or three farmers fields to blank big time, fought bulls and found out of this world dace fishing past their hooves and horns and I have enjoyed every minute of it. What it does do, now we have got out there and put the hours in, is put us in a fortunate position where we know the good spots to go for some dace fishing at almost any time of year in any conditions and although nothing is ever guaranteed in fishing i would feel confident of a fish or two.
The River Weaver is a river that all being well and us getting no silly floods like yesteryear's is a river i wont be on till winter when the pike season starts when i plan to take on board lessons taught to me last winter with Gary and take them onto a river and hopefully catch my first River Weaver Pike. The only other place i hope to visit this year is the River Wye, it is a river i have wanted to fish for a number of years and hopefully this year i will get a chance to stand on the banks of this river.
This weeks blog update is going to be slightly different as i did manage to get out Saturday on Curlston mere, Monday on the Dane and again on the Dane Tuesday. The dane pictures alone when i sorted them out equated to 28 pictures and the two sessions onthe river where such different sessions with regards to methods and approach that I am going to cover Saturdays session on curlston mere and Mondays session on the dane in this update and then do another blog update just covering the second session on the Tuesday.
Away from fishing we decided on visiting the Blue Planet Aquarium on Sunday, my choice as it was fathers day and it was either this or a walk along a river bank haha. It is a place i have never visited before and was eager to see what it had to offer. Entering the car park i have to say i was a bit taken back by the fact you had to pay £2.50 to just park your car in their car park, we thought nothing of it and parked up and began to queue to get in. A glance at the price list left me a little shocked at the £16.00 per adult price tag and i must say to all looking to take their children there is a board measuring height next to the queue that allows free entry if below the sign, our little girl is not even two yet and she was close to having to pay, although this wont be a problem from now on as we wont be returning.
We decided to pay as it was fathers day and also i thought it would be something she would enjoy as she loves feeding and watching the fish in our tank at home. I must say i personally enjoyed the first room as it was UK course fish so it had all manner of fish from roach, dace, carp to tench. To most a fish is a fish but after looking at the tank for a few minutes it was rammed with trout, signs said tench and i was glad it wasn't plural as there was literally only one 4 inch long tench, 2 chub and 3 dace and the same of bream and carp the rest was literally stuffed with trout, hardly a show of the true diversity of a river, but maybe that's me being picky haha. Our little girl loved seeing the fish but in seconds she was drawn to some of those rides you see in the arcades, pepper pig, postman pat you know the ones, well we let her have a go as she really likes them and slowly moved onto the next room. She was again drawn to the fish but then soon spotted another ride put right in open view her attention was then on this ride and not being one to let their kids get their own way we said no and like any youngster she got a little upset, we again slowly moved onto the other room and this theme of rides (thank god she doesn't know what sweet machines are) in every room,, in short it turned what should be a nice educational place where children can see up close all manner of fish from perch to sharks into a nightmare, i personally thought it was sly and a very obvious and silly way to get more money from an already over priced destination.
In review i struggled to find anything good to say about the place apart from you can get close to some lovely fish in some big tanks from all around the globe. The actual place is quite small and even taking our time we were round the walk in around 30-40 minutes max, you can go round again and we did 3 times, but for 16 quid each when you think you can pay that to go Chester Zoo and spend nearly all day there is a bit extortionate. Their lust for dragging every last penny from visitors was reflected not only in the rides and sweet machines as you went round but the fact you come out of the tunnel under the sea aquarium to an open canteen area bigger than any of the aquariums you visit and are then funnelled into a shop before you are allowed to exit, all in all i left with little good to say about this place and will not be going back again.
Before we get into this weeks blog i received the news a few weeks ago of the passing of Gordon Munro, he was a avid reader of my blog regularly commenting on Facebook posts about his fishing and of course was an avid angler. Gordon was a man i first met on the banks of the River Dee, i had just stopped of to see how he was catching and he was thigh deep stood out in the river catching well. His nice friendly nature was evident from the off and what was me just dropping in on someone for a brief chat soon saw me still chatting 2 hours later and as he left i always remember him popping over and saying here you go mate i am not out tomorrow here is what is left of my bait, a true gentleman. I went on to bump into Gordon on the bank a number of times after that and always enjoyed out chats and this weeks posting the start of the river season on facebook i noticed more just how you miss his comments. This weeks blog is for you mate and thank you for having a word with those angling gods as this first week has been fantastic!!!.
On to this weeks
Saturday 14th June - Curlston Mere - 5am to 11am.
An early start saw us pulling up at a small pond we call curlston mere to find it at least a foot or so lower than it had been in winter and the makeshift pallet pegs a lot more accessible. The pool itself contains a massive number of roach from small fry up to and just over a pound, some nice perch and a sprinkling of carp from around 2lb to around 10lb from what we have seen.
Setting up in swims close enough to have a bit of a natter we both fished the pole on maggot and ground bait. The presence of the carp was evident early on by the amount of bubbles erupting from the bottom all over the pool. My bait for the day was Silver X ground bait fished with lose fed maggot over the top, experience has taught me on this venue that if the carp are up for it they will come to maggot and you also have the bonus of plenty of bites on maggot while you wait, elastic wise i went with a tightened blue hydro elastic through my match top.
As predicted the bites where frantic from the off with roach coming regular both on the drop and when the bait settled. Periodically streams off bubbles from feeding carp would erupt through the swim but frustratingly even when the float was almost over run with bubbles it did not go under. A quick change over to double maggot saw the bait resting long enough on the bottom for the carp to have a chance and barring a few more roach it was not long till i struck into a solid fish that had elastic shooting out of the pole tip. The elastic set tight i felt in control even when it headed for a sunken tree, dipping the tip under the water turned the fish and kept the fish in front of me where i could wait for my opportunity to net it, as you can see below these carp are the jewels in a days fishing.
The first carp caught the second was literally minutes away as another soda stream of bubbles erupted in the swim, connected with this fish i did feel i could be in for a few of them but alas the carp above was the second and last visitor of the day. As the sun rose above the trees and began to warm us the shallows the carp moved away into the shallow end of the pool to catch some rays leaving us to catch some more roach.
By 11am we had caught our fill and knowing we were due out on the River on the Monday we decided to call it quiets there and take a drive out to the area we planned to visit on the 16th to scope out some swims and possibly find some signs of areas where the fish might be, it was a choice that proved to be a good one.
Monday 16th June - The Glorious 16th Trotting a Float on the River Dane
The evening before the opening day of the river season is always an exciting time and for someone who still gets excited the night before Christmas i can only liken it to this feeling. The hemp was cooked and split nicely, which is always reassuring when dealing with a new supplier, maggots where chilling in the fridge and I was busy tying up some hook lengths for the session the next day. 11pm and all my gear was ready to go and be loaded into the car and i spent the next hour reading stories on Facebook of other anglers epic adventures into the night to cast in right on midnight, i have to say that had it not been for the fact we trot the rivers and need the light to see the float i would have joined them.
With a few hours to burn till i was due to meet up with my uncle and no chance of me getting a wink of sleep, too excited, i passed the time watching a few of the fantastic videos on You tube, Dave Harrell River wye and the Shakespeare stick float videos to name a few. Eventually the time came and I loaded the car and set off into the night the voyage of discovery had begun.
Arriving on the banks we already had an idea of the swims we wanted too fish on this opening session so in the pitch black with bats scooting above our heads and all the creatures of the night wondering what the hell was going on we began to flatten out and uncover the peg from 3 months worth of vegetation growth. The pegs sorted it was still pitch black and earlily silent, so quiet you could actually hear the buzzing of electricity from the near by building, very surreal to experience and obviously a noise that is there all along but it lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Fishing is often referred to as a past time that can take adults back to their your, make them a child again as such and sometimes to the point an angler can question their sanity, a feeling we both had on Monday morning as at the ages of 29 and 50 myself and my uncle where threading line through our rods in the light provided by a small street lamp, fantastic stuff!!!.
We had a fair idea of depths to expect and what line to fish from our winter exploits so while waiting for first light i began to trickle feed maggots down i line i was going to fish, first light was quite a while off at this point so much so i couldn't really see where the maggots where landing on the river but hey ho i thought some going in is better than none. First light approaching as a Robin broke the silence and began the dawn chorus closely followed by what i think was a blackbird, either way it signalled that the first cast was not long off. 03.54am marked the first trot down of the season and i have to say i could barely make out my float and only the thud of a bite down the rod saw me striking into a chublet, my first fish of the season, so dark it was that i cant use the picture haha but i did catch a number of chublets during the day which were similar like the one below.
The fishing in winter saw us ending with nice nets of dace, roach and chublets for around 10-16lb nets of fish but this was summer time and rivers can be such that fish really can migrate from one part of a river to another based on the seasons so we had little knowledge as to what to expect fishing wise form this session. We need not had worried as in the first exchanges fish came with great regularity, small roach at first and the odd chublet of a similar size but as time went on the swim built and it was literally a bite a chuck at some points with some instances me not being able to let line of the reel before the float had buried, great stuff.
The fishing was so good i was getting them right under my feet so after the first hour or so i felt like i had amassed a decent weight of roach and chublets. The swim from this point built both with size of fish and variety as small perch and the most surreal fight ever from a small skimmer bream made an appearance.
Around 3 or 4 hours into the session i had a cracking bite right over my hemp that i struck into and felt resistance so solid i thought i had hit a snag, this was until i felt the kick of a tail and the fish held in the middle of the river. My hook length being only 1lb7oz i knew i had to be careful and i also knew from winter that there was a snag under my feet about rod tip so i could not let it have an inch in the fight. After a battle in the flow eventually i netted a bream of around a 1.5lb still a skimmer but just starting to get the slightest hint of bronze.
To be honest before this fish the swim died completely, little knocks on the flat as it went down ceased and the float trundled down a few times without response, in my mind i thought better fish and after this bream i thought i could be on for a really good net as these fish are not a species that usually travel alone so a shoal of these moving in could mean a very special day.
This failed to be the case and after this fish the action began to decline and bites had to be really worked for. This lack of activity though did allow the diversity of species in this river to be found as gudgeon and even a eel made an appearance.
By 12 the sun was right up in the sky over the river and the culmination of this bright light on the river seemed to make the fishing harder as bites would come in flurry's before returning to a hard trot again and right on last knockings before we packed in a possible culprit for the lack of action showed itself in this lovely marked perch.
The session came to a close and i felt like i had done OK with the early hours making up the majority of what i thought would be a respectable net of fish. My uncle had fished a session that almost mirrored mine action wise with a steady start and show middle but he did get them going again towards the end. The final nets weights showed just how healthy this river is with mine weighing 13lb and my uncles 10.5lb, two nets separated in reality by that nice skimmer and perch.
my net and weight
uncle net and weight
In reflection we could not argue, we are going to be exploring this river over the coming months and these nets were more than we could have asked for as they showed a great variety of species present including roach, perch, dace, bream, skimmers, gudgeon and chub and all in great healthy numbers. The better fish showing also gives you that excitement of not knowing what fish will be next and you could have a session where you draw some quality fish in and have an exceptional net over 20lb. In all we could not have asked for more and it filled us with hope for the season of exploration ahead.
till next time, look out for Tuesday trip later on this week,
and tight lines