on to the update...
Never Checked By the EA, waste of time.....
This comment above is probably the most commonly made statement when the subject of the Environment Agency comes up in anglers conversations and although it is always sad when we read or see instances where we feel the EA could do better its always worth baring in mind just how much waterway there is just in the North West and how few officers there are patrolling them.
That said it was great this week to have my EA licence checked again, third time this season on three separate waterways, what was also great was the time they took speaking to my mate Garry about fish being taken early mornings from the locations we fish. It is a sight i know only too well from my days fishing the Dee where carrier bags of pike would be hauled up into a car before first light and those who say a few fish does little damage only have to look at the decline in pike on this river to see first hand the damage that has been done.
Keeping on with the good news theme around the EA it was also great to see the EA officers check many anglers licences and not see the sight of a single angler packing in as they did not have a licence. Its a great feeling knowing you are sharing the waters with similar law abiding anglers who are paying their way and putting back into our lovely sport and countryside.
The only sad part about seeing the EA was seeing just how bad the decline in human natures has become that these officers now more resemble police offices than water bailiffs as they now walk the bank with a stab proof vest and I'm sure they had a baton. Has society really declined that much that these officers when asking for a licence are met with weapons being wielded and violence? sad sad times if this is the case, just pack in and go home or better still why not pay the small amount of £27.00 and not spend the time watching your back and enjoy your fishing.
With pike playing such a big part in my fishing of late i have been keeping a close eye on the temperature gauge on my car and although we have now dropped down from the barmy 20+oC temperatures of a few weeks ago we are still regularly into double figures during the day and even sometimes in the morning i will get into my car and the temp will read 9-12oc, if we have some cloud cover.
When i imagined pike fishing i always imagined rock hard frosty ground and my thermal boots crashing through ice capped puddles. So far this season there has been none of that and we are quickly approaching December. Long term readers of my blog will remember a couple of years ago when the angling mags where full of reports of fish not surviving the torrential floods that seemed to last the whole of autumn and winter and i said then that mother nature works in cycles and we will get really mild winters, like this one, where the fry survival rates are high and the natural food larders remain well stocked, just look at how many midges we are still seeing of an evening hatching.
On the fishing front it may well mean that dead baits continue to be sparsely taken and wobbling may be the method for the whole of the season as the pike remain active in the warmer temperatures chasing the roach shoals. It may also mean shoaling fish like dace and roach on rivers don't migrate in as many numbers to their normal winter haunts and may choose to spawn in areas of the river more local to them as they don't feel that drop in temperature that triggers them to move.
Personally i hope the frosts are not too far away and we get a consistent drop in the temperature to just above freezing. It is by far my favourite time of year and the once busy banks become desolate of the fair weather dog walkers, ramblers and of course anglers, proper peace and quiet.
River Fest Final......
This weekend just passed saw the RiverFest Final take place on the River Wye, marking the culmination of many weeks matches along the length and breadth of the country the actual final going ahead lay in the balance on Friday evening as the heavy rains leading up to the competition took their toll. I follow dave harrell on Facebook and its great to see how a seasoned river angler plans their trips to the river and also over the year you see just how much money he puts into the competition by entering a lot of the matches.
The river was high and coloured on Friday evening and after many discussions with the EA, who apparently where great and provided predicted levels for the competitors, the decision was made by the match referee for the competition to go ahead. The final was a two day competition with the winner being the highest weight of fish over the two days. It is testament to the work the Angling Trust and Dave Harell has done that this competition now attracts the Sky Sports Camera's and will feature on tight lines but also the prize money on offer was now £12,000 for the winner.
The winner over the two days was Steve Sadler who fished a stormer over the two days and was the deserved winner of the competition that saw one angler capture a 20lb carp on the second day. The match over and people packing away take a look at this for a pike caught after the match had finished.
All in all a great competition and one that is doing wonders to put river angling back on the map and maybe one day we will see the days my uncle and dad talk about where the Dee is lined with anglers and a River Fest competition.
Wide Hole'y Mess....
One of the trips this week was a social trip with myself, Garry, Ryan and Ste, the afternoon of it is featured further in the update, where we decided to visit Wide Hole on the Macclesfield canal. This place was said to be a well maintained and well bailiffed water by Warrington Anglers. Unfortunately what we found resembled more and overgrown landfill sight with mountains of litter strewn all over the place, inflatable bed boxes and signs of open fires and barbeque's.
The fishing was poor but is that really a surprise given how the place is being abused? The banks looked like they had never seen any type of attention in years with most of the swims down the far end completely reclaimed by nature and literally enough rubbish to fill 3 skips. Maybe its time for this club to employ a team of dedicated bailiffs instead of buying carp. Yet again another example of a water on the card in disrepair as many of you will remember the feature i wrote on Rixton Clay pits being in a complete state.
In essence you can have as many clean up a water work parties as you want but until you deal with the problem, i.e the anglers your club is attracting, then you will never solve this issue.
on to this weeks fishing...
Wobblin Jacks and One Very Hungry/Silly Pike...
Saturday morning and i was sat in my car at the front of my house with the wind blowing in the trees all around me thinking of what direction to point my car in. My dead baiting to this point has taken in so many different venues across so many different types of fishing that i honestly did not know where to head for the best. I eventually settled on a venue all four of us had fished not long ago that had thrown up a double for myself and a few jacks for Ryan and Ste. With a trip to the river dane planned the next day i had only relaxation in mind and i had packed all but the kitchen sink for this pike trip, chair, holdall, flask the lot, which is quite unusual for me and my piking.
Walking the banks to my peg i set up my base for the day, a nice comfy chair and 2 dead bait rods out fishing hoping the pike where hungry, i sat back and awaited events and hoped my floats would sink below the late Autumn leaves.
A hour or so passed and the leaves where becoming a nightmare, the wind dropped and left the whole swim covered in a thick layer of leaves that was not moving at all and was making keeping the bait nailed down on the bottom impossible. A quick moan on facey was met with a text from Garry that changed my whole session
"Get off your chair, put your gear away in the car and just take a dead bait rod and wobbling rod and cover the whole venue and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN they wont always come to you"
He was right i was getting lazy with my piking and sitting in one spot was not how i had fished to this point but i was slowly session on session falling into a lazy approach of waiting for the pike to find me. A quick walk to the car to drop off my holdall and chair i was armed with a landing net, ruck sack with my tackle and bait in and two rods and i marched to another peg a good 200-300m away from where i had set up. My first job was to set up the dead bait rod and my chosen bait was a nice joey mackerel that i placed just over the drop off in the margin, madly enough whilst doing this i felt a tug on the line, then another and another and the float slid away. I gave it a few seconds as in knew i had a decent bait on and struck, up to the top came a small jack which i was surprised wasn't being strangled by the bait it was so small. More importantly i could see the pike had just mouthed the bait and i knew it was going to let go at any moment and no sooner had the thought left my head than it did the very think, still fish in the area and active, confidence was high.
The rod set in place i mounted up a smelt for a bit of wobbling and it didn't take long for it to get noticed, second cast in fact, twitching it back in i could see the bait working in the water and then a mouth come in and completely nail the bait. The adrenalin of the bang and then the feeling of, "gotya!", as you let the fish take some line before striking to see what you have lured into taking is a rush indeed and like i said last week, what have i been missing! The fish was only a jack but the venue i was fishing i knew it was a case of mainly jacks with possibly a double being the icing on a days fishing.
No sooner had i released this fish than the next fish was doing its best to make an appearance as again the float fished mackerel rod began to show some signs of attention and slowly move away, i again gave it a few seconds and struck but again the fish came off, my god i thought you are blowing some chances here Danny. Returning to my wobbling rod i cast back in and very next cast there was a swirl right at my feet as a pike shot out from no where to claim its mid morning snack. This time i showed no mercy and on the first opportunity the pike was scooped up.
At this point the move was paying off big time and things only got better when a short move to the next peg saw a hard solid thud mid water that there was no missing, letting the line go loose saw it zipping from the reel as the fish moved confidently off with the bait. As i had not seen this fish i gave it a bit of time before winding down and setting the hooks and on my small wobbling rod i was met with the feeling of a solid fish on the end. This rod i use is really old, i am sure its got to be getting on for 15 years old now but boy what fun it is. Its had fish to 14lb on the river so i am always confident using it and i have to admit since getting my proper pike/carp rods i had forgotten what fun it was. The fish in the net and another fish for the wobbling rod, she went just over 4lb but it was another one off the total and three for the day so far.
The next pike took an age in coming and i have to admit to suffering four missed fish, one came off on the dead bait and 3 either spat the hooks or just followed the bait in without taking and it was into the afternoon till i connected with my fourth pike of the session, again only a jack but great fun.
I mentioned earlier on about having a fish follow in and not take, what i forgot to say was it was quite a nice fish. In the same swim, and i think the same fish, i had a pike come out and swirl at the bait without taking. I had tried a few times to tempt a bite and even the old letting it die in the edge trick but nothing was forthcoming so i decided to pop a smelt right in the margins on my dead bait rod in the hope the free lunch would prove too resisting to refuse. The rod was in a hour or so before i caught a glimpse of a dip on the float before the float zoomed off and i mean zoomed it was easily the fastest run i have ever had from a pike. It was so fast my rod that was laying flat on the bank was in danger of not being able to let line off quickly enough so the rod started to move. I quickly grabbed the rod and let the fish continue to move off.
When pike do this its normally a jack rushing off to eat its prize away from the other predators that may want to take its meal or even turn itself into their dinner but striking i knew this was no jack and it zooomed off on big long hard runs and kept really deep. The fight was a good one and i remember thinking if i get this one in then it would be a lovely way to end the session. Thankfully i did and the hooks where in a nice place just in the top of the mouth and it was time to take a picture.
She went over 12lb in the net but subtracting the net we was looking at a fish just over 11lb.
That fish marked the end of the session and i left with 5 pike for the session, 4 on the wobble and one on dead baits and it proved what Garry said was true, sometimes you have to find the fish and simply waiting with a dead bait wont work, he was right. Garry also keeps gill pictures of all the fish he catches and he recognised this fish, it was a fish i had caught in February and again in the social last week and just to prove how much these fish move i had again caught it on this session a good 300-400m away from where i caught it last.
Chocolate River and November Carp....
Sunday and it was time to wet a line on the river Dane hopefully trotting for a dace and chub. I arrived at my uncles to find the river the previous day was a eye watering 1.78m but it had dropped on the day to 0.78 so we travelled through hopeful of finding a river in favourable condition. The swim i was in had a fast run on the far side and a slack on the inside and in normal conditions you catch well all the way across, today though she was bombing through and like chocolate and even the slack was pushing through. I set up to fish the slower slack but i was far from confident and i even set a wager with Ste who was pike fishing on a water that he would catch more individual fish than me.
A hour and half in and i had not had so much as a knock on the float despite my best efforts and i could hear my uncles foot steps approaching my swim, a sure sign he was having the same experience. While speaking about moving i hit my first bit of the day in a nice silver dace which prompted us to give it another hour. In the next painful hour i took one more small dace and a daddy ruffe and my uncle in a terrible boiling and fast swim had found every snag, it was time to make a decision. We first took a look at the lower reaches but it was still boiling through at a huge speed so we then had a look at the weaver but with matches on its length it was a no go. We eventually decided to stop off on Curlston mere, what a decision that turned out to be.
We both set up side by side and decided to fish the waggler out in the middle of the pool hoping to catch some nice roach. The warm temperatures where clearly shown by the sheer amount of fish topping on the water, barmy when you think this is a water that really does close down in winter. We only had a few hours but we both enjoyed catching a roach a chuck on maggot and to show what a fertile water this is we caught roach of all year classes.
We knew this water contained a good head of wild carp but we didnt think we would encounter any on this trip, that was until azza struck and line started zipping from his reel as the carp made for the sanctuary of the trees. The fish came off mid water but what a fight to that point and it gave us both a lift that the carp where feeding as you can normally put a few together. I was next to hit a carp and again i had an epic battle on my hands, to this point i had only ever fished the pole on this water and boy had i been missing out and come summer i will certainly be hitting this pool with my 13 ft waggler rod. The fight was immense from the turbo charged carp and eventually i slid the net under her buttery flanks.
The pool was alive with roach and we did notice from time to time the schools of fry being spread far and wide and as i had never caught a pike on this water and i had caught some perch i could only imagine it was perch chasing the fry. I quickly set about making a rig and presented a small roach fry live bait out and it didnt take long for the float to slide away. As i expected it was a perch but what i wasnt ready for was the sheer size of the fish and when i eventually landed it and placed it on the scales it went a crazy 2lb 10oz and has really opened my eyes to the potential of this water for these stripey predators.
the final net was one that made up for a horrible morning on the river.
Wide Hole Blank But Ryan comes Good...
As mentioned above our trip to the wide hole was a complete disaster both from a fishing and location point of view with neglected banks and rubbish to rival any landfill. The morning was spent on the banks of this canal back water but we decided to move location for the afternoon. I endured a frustrating afternoon with one pike following my wobbled roach in time and time again without taking and when i did trick it into taking under my feet the fish had just mouthed the bait and spat the hooks before netting.
Ryan was the star man of this trip taking two jack pike in quick succession with one on the humble sprat and another on the monster mackerel tails that are his trade mark.
fantastic effort mate
Well that sums up another few trips i have had on the bank. I have two more trips saved up to blog and you wont believe when i blog next who turns up on my next trip. Till then i leave you with a beautiful fish caught by Garry on a recent trip over 11lb,lovely fish mate.
till next time