Friday, 3 April 2015

Go Outdoors Talk, River Dane fishing and Piking...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Well what a weekend it has been for me i have just got back from my day at Go Outdoors where i was asked to appear at the opening of their New Store in Shrewsbury.  It has been a fantastic weekend and a great experience for myself and one i will never forget, more on that in a moment.

This weeks blog introduction covers the day at Shrewsbury and our time down there, spring arrives and i cover a bit on a short trip to Chester Zoo.  The fishing sees us on the banks of the River Dane trotting a stick float and a pike trip that shows why being in the right place is better than cumulative hours in the wrong one.  Please remember if you have any questions on any of my fishing or just want to share your fishing experiences with me the blog is on Facebook, Twitter and you can also email to

on to the update

Go Outdoors Opening....Amazing where a Blog Leads...

Friday evening and the day i had been looking forward to and been a bit nervous about was finally working its way round i had spent many hours practising for the event making sure i had a fair idea what to say when it was called upon.  The morning came and we set of on our journey to Shrewsbury and it was rather apt on the the way we passed all the landmarks of my fishing life to this point, first the bridgewater canal where i grew up as a kid and was taught the basics of angling by my dad then the River Dee where i have spent a great deal of the last 10 years of my life learning a new trade and falling in love with moving water and the joys its brings and then finally we passed many rivers like the Severn which i have only fished a hand full of times,  in my head these represented the journey in angling and the unknown adventures to come.

Arriving at Go outdoors there was a whole host of events going on outside with a huge climbing wall and rescue boat both visible for customers to go up and see.  On the door there where plenty of Go Outdoors staff who where really friendly and informative.  I met up with the ThisIsMission who where organising the event for Go Outdoors.  The team gave me time to look around before our event meeting so it was great to have time to look around the Fishing Section and also take in Ray Mears Question and Answers Piece on the main stage which was really interesting and a little piece of the talk is below.

A quick meeting with the team and it was time for me to meet up with Ray Mears and ask him some questions i received over Facebook and Twitter.  All these experiences where new to me i have been to events before but very much as a customer never as the person asking the questions.  I was really surprised by how easy going and easy to speak to Ray was he took just as much time and went into the same amount of details with my questions as i had witnessed him doing earlier on the Stage.  The transcript the questions will be in an upcoming blog introduction.

A few pictures with Ray and it was time for him to move on to other commitments.  My time for my Questions and Answers on the main Stage was 12 o'clock so that gave me a hour to look around and take some pictures of the Angling Section.  I was genuinely impressed with the quality of the tackle on show.  Anyone who was listening in on the Questions and Answers would have heard me say this but i remember 20 years ago if you did not go a dedicated angling shop for your tackle you where very limited to those small rods with the plastic reels and very thick white line, these are probably the reason angling never took off with people who where never taught by parents, now we have stores that are not dedicated angling shops but the section they devote to it has the quality for new anglers to catch with names like Shimano, Shakespeare, Dynamite Baits and Savage gear to name a few brands, see collection of pics around fishing section.

My time came to appear on the main stage and handing the microphone over to me the reality of what was happening did hit me but i walked on the stage confident if a little nervous.  The first question came in and replying i could hear my voice echoed through the speakers, my first time speaking on a microphone ever it did throw me a little but after a shaky start to the first question i got into it and as the questions progressed and we delved deeper i felt my confidence increasing as the quality of my answers showed this i feel. Fifteen to twenty minutes into the section and i felt i could have talked forever as we covered all aspects of my fishing from early trips with my dad to the delights and benefits of fishing near unusual spots like sewer outlets.  As the section drew to a close a talk that i had worried and been nervous about for weeks i felt like i didn't want it to end i was in my element talking about my thoughts and my own opinions on fishing.

After this talk my commitments i had signed up to on the day came to a close.  Having two children under three years old and me spending one day a weekend fishing means in the past few years time just for me and the other half has been very hard to come by and this trip down to shrewbury we decided to turn into a over night stay so after the event we got the ball rolling with a lovely meal at Chiquitos and a well earned beer.  We hit the town in the evening and made our way back on Sunday morning.

All in all looking back i am so glad i decided to go completely out of my comfort zone and do this talk the buzz once i got into it and afterwards was amazing and it is something i would do again.  Parts of the QA at the beginning where not perfect but being my first time on a stage talking in front of people it was never going to go completely word for word perfect but it will certainly set me in good stead if any other opportunities like this come along.  All in all i am so glad i did it and will always look back on that weekend with fond memories and a sense of personal achievement.

Spring has Sprung!!....

It has now been two weeks since i have hit the bank and i am thoroughly enjoying a well earned break away from angling although i must admit this week seeing all that tackle in the Go Outdoors store and stopping in on Gary pole fishing it has started off a need to get out there again in my mind.  Tonight i will be picking up my Environment Agency Licence and this act always is a sign that spring is here for me and to start thinking about days tench fishing and long mornings chasing roach and perch on the canal and local ponds.

Springs arrival need not be signalled by any set date in the calender as all around us for the past few weeks spring has been in a battle to break through winters sold clasps.  All the roads now have been taken over by flowers with crocus plants and rows and rows of both planted and wild Daffodils lining all the local roads.  My dads house is always the first place i look though as not only is it surrounded in trees that blossom at this time of year coating the ground in a carpet of white and pink but we also have a family of sparrows that nest in the guttering each year and their arrival and collection of twigs being transformed like only a mother can into a safe heaven nest is the start of the spring for myself.

Chester Zoo Trips....

I try and incorporate a little bit about myself in my angling blog and my family life as much as i can and this week we made our annual visit to Chester Zoo.  This was a very special trip for me as it was the first trip to the zoo where my little girl would know what the animals where and have an interest in seeing them!  I have always grown up with a real love for all types of wildlife and would spend many hours watching recordings on Wildlife on One, nature has always been a huge part of my life and still is to this day.  A huge part of why i go fishing is the wildlife i see on the banks and the journey to the water and it is something that i want my family to grow up with and have a respect for animals and the wildlife on our planet as its the next generation that the worlds wildlife fate will be left too.

Chester Zoo trips have been an annual trip for me since i was old enough to walk and i love how much this Zoo reinvests its money into improving the Zoo itself and the facilities the animals live in.  They also do a fantastic amount of work in with conservation all over the world which is great to see.

Arriving at the gates of the Zoo the magic was there in my little girls eyes she knew all the animals she wanted to see, Elephants and Giraffes being top of her hit list.  It was really warming to see her be excited by the animals and asking loads of questions as we moved form species to species and it was a great family day out that left me with lots of happy memories and i am sure left our little girl with more.

With that picture its onto this weeks fishing....

Stick Float Fishing River Dane...

With two weekends to go till the end of the River Season it is the time where all your hard work during the season should really pay off for you.  Having worked out where the fish are holding up in their winter haunts these last two weeks of the season as the fish are feeding hard ready for spawning should be the time where you are reaping the rewards.

Sadly for us our winter of exploration and discovery on the River Dane has been a little stop start with the regular rainfalls keeping the river running coloured and every time we thought the levels where right snow melt from the hills would flush through and make the river a torrent of brown.  It meant we had little chances over the past months to learn about this river but we did know where the better swims where from the end of the last season so we decided to take a risk and hit those swims.

The swims we set up in looked mint with plenty of visibility for trotting a float and the pace of the glide was bob on.  Casting in we expected roach and dace with a splattering of chublets but a hour and half in and we had little to show and certainly was not meeting out one a chuck expectations.  We moved to an area that had been good to us in the past but it would mean me doing a little pruning of the bank side.

The second to last weekend of the season is not the time you want to be digging in a new peg but it was a glide that i had wanted to fish all season and with a big snag in the main swim i really had no choice. Half a hours digging and i had enough room for my box and bait waiter.  I had been lose feeding the swim with maggot and hemp while digging in the peg hoping that food would distract the fish from the loud noise i was making.  I need not had worried as first trot down the float buried and i was rewarded with a palm sized silver dart.

The swim i had dug in was just above some really fast water so it was not the longest of trots and what happened on this session truly shocked me.  I returned the fish and began my next run though and instantly the float was getting knocks and bumps going through, eventually it went under and another dace was in my palm.  This knocking on then line as it goes through is a sure fire sign of plenty of fish in the swim and the key here is not to get carried away and think you need to feed heavy as you run the risk of the whole shoal coming up in the water and hard to catch, you want the fish taking 5-10 yards down the swim at a comfortable striking distance.

The fishing was a bite a chuck, some of them lightning fast and hard to hit but it was a chance of a fish each run through which is all you can ask for.  Some times the float would bury and a chublet would be the obvious culprit.  Among the smaller fish you would find the odd better dace show and these where either rough to the touch like sandpaper or really plump and slimy and bursting with spawn.  It was obvious these fish come into this area to spawn as we have not run into as many dace before in this location.

This area was a real find for us and in a season where we uncovered very little about this river it showed its hand to us right at the very end and i guess almost tipped her hat to us as a reward to all our hard work.  It will certainly set us in good stead for the season coming up.  Back to the session and the bites kept coming steady right though the middle of the day and into the afternoon but the size of the fish certainly deteriorated.

It was a weird feeling as the afternoon moved into time to pack up as i knew rain was planned during the week and i guess deep down i knew that would see this river colour up and not be worth the risk the next weekend and as such this would be my last session on the banks of the River Dane for this season.  I had left my scales in my pike gear, a problem that has happened a few times this season and one i will have to sort out with another pair of scales, we estimated them to be around 10-12lb nets and if the torrential downpours in the week did materialise it was a nice way to sign off.

my net

uncle net

Pike Fishing: I will Never Learn!!!!........but worth it haha

Regular readers of my blog will recall last weeks update where i dared the wrath of her in doors by sneaking off on a Sunday Morning for two hours pike fishing before the house woke up and although i picked up two pike i did pay the penalty when i returned home to cook my own breakfast!  In school my report always said the same thing, clever, easily distracted and does not learn from his mistakes, well some things have changed i am now not clever but others have remained the same, easily distracted and does not learn from mistakes as Sunday morning the fishing devils returned and off i went with a pike rod and a bag full of smelly dead least the freezer was empty...for a bit.

This time there would be no getting out of it i knew exactly what i was doing so ignorance was not an excuse this time.  I had to be stealthy and my clever side had to return.  6am and i arrived at the bank and set the alarm on my phone to go off at 8.30am to give me a warning to pack in and get back in the car and home.  Casting in i was confident the water was like a glass pane and there was not a breath of wind, my only company was the solitary robin looking expectantly for his anglers free breakfast.

A two hour window is hardly any time in piking but i would say in the time i have been piking this season the first two hours are the time to be on the bank.  You can often spend many hours on the bank piking but i would say the majority of my bites have come in the first two or last two hours.  The floats cast out into the gloom i sat back on a tree stump to await the pike to play their part.

The first swim produced no signs of fish so i moved into another swim and withing 5 minutes the float was showing the signs of a pike coming to dine.  A few tentative bobs on the float showed me a pike was interested in the bait but it took a good 10 minutes for the pike to actually commit to taking the bait and move off.  Reaching for the rod it was a slow run that pulled line steadily from the reel and then the best moment in pike fishing came, time to reel down on the fish and set the hooks.

In that moment of striking your excitement of the run has built and there is no going back, after the strike your either going to pull clean out of the fish, strike into a jack and the fish will normally come up in the water or in some cases you strike and the float gently bends over into something with a bit of fight.  This was the later.  The fish put up probably the best fight of the season it made long hard runs and i just hoped it stayed on.  Knowing the fish was a double i reduced the drag a little as to not pull the hooks but as the fight drew on i knew with each minute and head shake the tide was turning towards the pike escaping so i decided to try and take some control of the fight and upped the drag and the fish did respond and soon came to the net.

The fish went 11lb on the scales and it was a great start to the short session.

The pike returned i was smiling like the a Cheshire Cat, a quick look at the clock and it was 7.05am, i had around a hour max left but it already felt like mission complete.  The hardest part of piking this year for me has been letting myself not get complacent and lose my drive when i get an early bite.  so many times i have had a early fish and not had a touch the rest of the session just because i have been happy with the one fish.  Maybe these shorter sessions at the right time of the day are the key.

I leap made my way back to the car and leap frogged the rods as i did.  Right on the alarm for packing up going on my phone i was about to grab the rod and reel it in when i got a run on it.  This run was far more erratic that the first as the fish shot off with the bait.  The fish a jack of 8lb was the complete opposite of the first pike and i reckon it moved more in the run than in the fight!  The fish in the mat the hooks came out in the net, such small margins with this game.

The second pike returned it really was time to beat a retreat and with pike fishing its a simple task of clipping off your traces folding the rods in half and putting your gear in the back of the car.  Home and the gear stashed away i lobbed in some bacon and toast and a cuppa tea and it was mission complete!

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog and all the people who constantly like and share the updates it means a great deal!, Thank  you and till next week, tight lines.


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