Tuesday, 1 July 2014

River Dane Fishing: Coppers Show For Twilight Peg Digger

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  Thank you to the great reception the two blog updates received on line both on the Forums and on Social media, it is really great that in these that are so dominated with pictures of specimen fish that the effort and time it takes to put together a net of silver fish still gets such a great response.

Fridays travels with the dog and my mate from work saw us plodding along the Bridgewater canal.  At this time of the evening it was great to see a few anglers out on the bank although i didn't agree with one group we bumped into who were dead baiting for pike, not the right time of the year in my opinion and speaking to a accomplished piker afterwards the risks of deep hooking a pike at this time of year are greatly increased so a big no no.

Angling is never far from my thoughts on these trips and walking the banks i am always on the lookout for any fishy activity or spots that look worthy of the long walk to fish.  I came across a few swims i did not know about and some really great looking pike spots for winter in a small turning bay i never knew existed.  Aside from the fishing distraction it was a lovely warm summers evening on the canal and it was great to see all manner of wildlife from swallows, blackbirds and a chance sighting of a common buzzard to the more serene sight of a family of rabbits emerging from the cover for an evenings foraging and trying to escape the jaws of the foxes that must inhabit the rich area.

Our walk took us along the road to Moore and i decided to take a detour and have a quick drop in on the Warrington Anglers water, Moore Quarry.  There were signs us on all the swims saying no fishing due to the carp spawning and on our walk round the quarry we were treated to some fantastic sights of the carp in the margins and from our high vantage spot we watched quietly as they went about their business not knowing of our presence.  The quarry is a fishery i have not visited for a number of years and last time i went there were a few swims built in and it was nice to see that this place has got a good working team on there as nearly all the swims had study built proper swims in them for the anglers.  It is great to see on one hand but n the other i had to think of the fact yet more money was being spent, on top of the cost of the carp that went into stocking these waters, while /Franks column again for the 4th year running mentioned the state of the track at Worthenbury on the river Dee, good enough for a mention on his blog but not worthy of the clubs pennies it seems,.  The fact that there is a pile of hardcore purchased by the club in the car park of Moore quarry goes to prove they can afford it and even if only half of this was purchased it would be enough to sort out the very worst of the holes in this road, not a lot to ask for but hey ho.

Away from that the actual venue of Moore as you can see form the picture below looked fantastic in the late evening sun and its high banks giving a great angle for a picture.

The discovering did not end there as on Tuesday i took a sneaky early dart from work to go out exploring the River Dane with my uncle.  We set off armed with bank sticks and in the soaring heat we walked and walked and walked looking for those out of the way swims on the river that we think could provide us with the quality fishing and the peace and quiet we have come to love with out river trips.

We walked a fair amount of the river and as we did i tracked on my phone the areas of the river we had explored.  In reality we found very few bits of the river that had much depth to it and found the banks in some areas to be very very wild, now we expected this from the outset but i don't think we expected them to be as wild and overgrown as we found them.  In all we covered all the bits of the river we wanted to scout out and the beauty of this is we have only scratched the surface and we left having made 3 or 4 swims for us to try in the coming weeks.   The beauty of this is now we have a steady area we can drop back on if these new areas don't produce with the added bonus if they do that we will have these areas to ourselves.   out what you put in as i always say and we certainly put it in. 

These past two weeks on the Dane has shown me just what this river can produce and support, in the lower reaches the river is alive with life and fish or all age brackets showing a healthy and sustainable fishery.  I put this is comparison to the middle reaches where WAA have their stretch and I look back on my recommendations that the club should look into stocking or the EA to stock some silver fish in the river here.  This stocking would reduce the hordes of minnows in the river and mean an angler could expect a steady days action on the float rather than just fishing for chub, imagine how good it would be to have a nice mixed net and the odd 3-5lb chub thrown in.  I was of course laughed at and shot down for moaning but this proves what is possible with this river and as much as it is OK the leave it to nature the reality is that these fish in the lower reaches are never going to spread up the river as they are locked down stream by at least 3 weirs.  Man made these barriers so man should take responsibility for the biodiversity problems they cause in my opinion.

On to this weeks fishing:

River Dane Fishing: Coppers Show for Twilight Peg Digger

As regular readers will now we are very very early birds on the bank often arriving before the dawn chorus to set up in any lights we can find, car headlamps, torches, lamps and street lights all taken advantage of and often we time it just right to be ready for first light.  Saturday was no different and as we knew the area we wanted to fish would need pegs both putting in and also one peg digging back a bit to fit a box on we hit the bank slightly earlier.

The gear in the car we set of along the bank with out lamps and spades to set to work on the pegs, in the pitch black we clambered down the banks and began our work.  We were a good 30-40 yards apart down our banks when at the top of my peg arrived a man shining a bright torch in my direction "Hey, What you up to he shouted"  without hesitation, shovel in hand,  my reply was instant "Fishing".  I tell a lie i had brought with my my holdall with my rods and umbrella in and it was at the mans feet so quickly realising this i climber up the bank and looking to the side of the torch light i realised he was a Police officer, "Sorry mate didn't realise you was a copper" was my instinctive reply.  Not convinced with my answer he was soon on the radio as i noticed down the path two more coppers heading to my uncles swim, i explained what i was doing and even with my fishing gear at his feet he was not convinced so all my details where taken and put through to the office for checking.  In my eyes i was not worried at all as i knew what i was doing was legit but it was a nervy 20 mins while they ran my name, uncles name and my car reg through the computers. 

peg before(taken on recce):

Peg After

After 20 mins of chatting and explaining they were happy but could not for the life of them understand our madness at being out so early "fishing" well in my comfort zone at this point i mentioned the blog in the hope of a selfie for the page but the eyes rolling at the mention of fishing blogs put pay to my question.  I really should learn to think before i speak as well and walking back to my peg and the coppers car my comment "So can i get on with burying this body now" was not met with any humour!

The peg in the light of day was a good effort and although looks a bit muddy and a mess now as the grass grows again around it will become part of the bank and will be a place where you can always get a basket down for a comfy swim.

The rest of the river is generally around 5-8ft in depth where the obvious deep runs and swims are between shallower fast rapid sections and for a few weeks now i have said to a friend of mine you will find an area where its an even 3-5 ft and get a bite a chuck right on your hemp.  This peg i was in today looked just as deep to look at as the other pegs but it is really hard to tell as the river here is quite coloured and you can rarely see the bottom in any of the deeper runs hence why you can get a lot of bites through day even in bright conditions.

Plumbing the swim i found an even depth of around 4ft all the way along its short length down to s inside tree.  Against the far bank i had a line of trees i could trot along if i needed to later on in the day.  My uncle always taught me go easy to begin with and only go onto s harder line if the bites stop coming as he says you will eventually draw the fish on your inside easy line if there having it.   It is a lesson that has always put me in good stead and as i threaded the 8 number 4 Dave Harrell stick float through the rubbers on my line i began to drip feed the line i wanted to fish with maggots.  If it is a swim i know and have fished a lot i will also at this point commit to putting some hemp in but with not knowing the topography of the bottom or any potential snags i did not want to commit to putting this bait in, maggots in my opinion will trundle down and out of the swim quite quickly so putting these in will only benefit me getting fish on that line where as the hemp as a bait that is used to hold the fish takes a lot longer to move out of the swim and of course there is a lot more in each pouch full.

Hemp seed is a very interesting talking point and i am going to be writing in a upcoming blog introduction a bit about all things hemp related, why i use it, how i prepare it and what i think it gives me and my river fishing so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks blogs.  Back to the fishing and with my light hook length attached it was time to make a start.  First trot down, well i say trot the float had only just settled and it was under and the first fish was on the bank, a small roach and a great start, nothing is more exciting than a fish first cast.   The fish in the net it was back in, float in and then maggots to follow followed by a pinch of hemp in an area where i thought all the bait would meet and again the float buried instantly and this time it was a chublet, two half runs through and two fish.

The fishing for the next hour was out of this world and i have to say that being an angler who float fishes for dace a lot i have been fortunate to be in the scenario where its a bite a chuck every run through but i don't ever think i have been in a swim where i have had so many bites before i have got to my hemp, crazy fishing.  A sign of how frantic the fishing was on the day was the fact i called my uncle further down the bank, who i could hear from the striking and splashing was having a similar start, to say that i don't think i have got enough bait if this continues to be like this as it was unbelievable fishing.

Eventually the swim seemed to settle and the fish moved down the run over the hemp and i had a few runs through with no bites, this normally co insides with the sun coming up above the trees and shining on the river but we were a good hour or so away from that.  A few mazy trots down and holding the bait back hard on the hemp saw the float zip under and i was into a better fish that was instantly recognisable as a chub by the fact it stuck hard in the swim on the strike and then went hard for the sunken tree on my inside.  Some hard side strain saw the fish coming back out into the flow and once you see those white lips gulping air in you know its game over and i slid the net under the best fish on the session.

As the morning wore on the sun came over the trees and shining down on the swim marked a stern and very abrupt end in the action that i can only liken to a light being turned off as time and time again the float trundled through the swim with no interest at all, had anyone been watching at this point they would have found it hard to believe the swim as it was a hour or so earlier.

I always knew i had the option or the line against the far trees to trot down and i had been feeding some bait down this line in case the swim died.  A quick plumb up found the same depth i had been fishing which again was ideal.  First trot down the float buried and i struck into something solid, too solid in fact as the taught line straight down the the bottom of the river added extra weight to the fact i had hit a snag and pulling the rod back towards me saw the hook length part with the main line, a sure sign it was a solid snag.  I retied my rig and cast a bit further down stream hoping to miss the snag but again the float slowly slid away and with that another hook length.  I can only think it is a sunken tree given how long the sang was and for the fishing it meant not fishing more than 3/4 of the way across the river.  I picked up a few fishing in the remaining hours of the session but nothing like the rate we had earlier, had there been a trot down the far tree line things might have been different but alas that is fishing isn't it and i left with a nice net of 11.5lb and my uncle put together a lovely net mixed net of 10lb and like mine the bulk of the weight came early on.

my net

uncles net

Sunday - 4 hours, 7.5lb of fish throws thinking on head

Sunday morning and with a good pint and half of maggots in the fridge and around a pint of hemp i was all set for a short session on the river.  I set my alarm for a barmy 5am hoping to get out on the bank, catch a few fish and get back home in time for no one to realise i had left, that was the plan.  The reality was far different as the alarm failed to go off and i was awoken by my little girl at 9am, this time i thought i was not going to bother as i knew the best time of the day was behind me and i really did not have the motivation in me to get all the gear ready, very unlike me at all but hey i just wasn't feeling it.

A hour or so passed and with my shreddies still swishing in my belly i got a new lease of life and thought you know what lets get out there and do it and off i set in my car driving to the river in bright sunlight and going on past trips i could not see why i was bothering as surely the river would be dead now like the previous day at this time.

Setting up in swim my uncle had cleared the previous day it offered some shelter from the sun but also offered the luxury of parking my car right behind the peg and also with the low branches offered me the opportunity of using my 13ft rod so all those excuses people offer up of river fishing being massive long walks and involve specialist tackle are not valid on this stretch of river, its about as luxurious and easy as river fishing gets.

The time was 11am by the time i made my first cast and from the first cast to the last i was treated to a steady days fishing with some fantastic roach dominating a nice net of fish.  Mixed in with these was the odd chublet but the majority of the catch was roach like the one above and below.

All in all i spend 4 hours on the bank, only the lure if my missus's Sunday dinner luring me away at 3.30pm.  In that time i put together a net of 7.5lb of fish and i left happy with the catch but also questioning how you can catch such a nice net through the day but struggle previous day time in a swim that started so well.  This river surely is posing us with a great challenge and although it is enjoyable catching double figure nets most times we hit the bank the challenge will be unlocking the code to catching an extraordinary net of over 20lb.

till next time, watch out for those coppers on the bank and remember to think before cracking a joke to them,

tight lines


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