Friday, 4 September 2015

Pike Season Prep and The Gudgeon Swim.....

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Last weeks blog update i was a little apprehensive about publishing as i was not sure if it was what people would want to see or read about.  The views this week on the blog have been mad so i guess that's a good litmus test to a posts popularity and a little insight into the behind the scenes work on the blog is something i thought would be interesting to read about. Thank you to all who emailed me this week with regards to the update your kind words are greatly appreciated and provide me with plenty of motivation I'm doing something on the right track to what people are interested in.

On to this weeks blog update..

Changing Seasons: Signs are all around!!

Walking the bank to the river this weekend there where plenty of signs all around me that the seasons are on the change.  It may seem with temperatures in the upper teens to twenties that we are still enjoying summer but nature follows its own signals to begin preparing for Autumn and the signs are all around.  We decided to look at a new stretch this week with a view to scouting it out for a future session and as we walked the banks a flock of Canada geese flying in a V formation passed over head, these are always a sign for me of change and as much so as the swallows arriving to mark the start of spring and summer these birds moving in high numbers is a sign the wild life around us is starting to think about migrating to other shores. 

A look at the hedgerow and the elderberries are starting to bear fruit, a great sign that hemp seed is going to be the bait to go to shortly and then we look further and little changes to the leaves on the trees have started to show, the sycamore trees leaves now have a tinge of brown about them with the odd leaf completely dying off and on Sunday the river was away with leaves coming down stream after losing their grip on the branches in the wind. 

Time are changing but for me as an angler i could not be happier! Autumn and certainly winter see the fish in the rivers become more compact in the deeper stretches.  The lack of food in the natural larder sees the fish coming onto the feed and the need to feed and not pass up a free meal for some species like chub sees the leaving the safety of the snags and moving into the swim.  The pace pf life on the banks of the canals and rivers starts to wind down as the fair weather summer dog walkers and boats fall into a slumber and leave you at times completely alone on the banks in complete peace and tranquillity.

This time of year also signals the start of the pike season......

Pike Season Prep.....

So September is here and we are literally weeks away from the first pike bung being cast in Earnest, me I'm quite calm about the whole situation but i hear reports of other, no names mentioned, Garry cough cough, already making up back up rigs in case he has to dip into his back up rigs for his back up rigs.  Joking aside having people around you like Garry and Ste that have a passion for pike angling and a will and determination to go the extra mile and get out there in all weathers with you is fantastic.  You know that they will be there in the dark setting up in the snow and hail, just like me uncle does with the river fishing.  Even now as i type this up in my dinner hour in work a message has just been posted to our group on facebook with pictures of pike getting the blood flowing for the end of the month! As said great to be mates with people so passionate and sharing your passion for the sport.

This week i began my preparation for the upcoming season by having a good sort through my pike box and seeing where i need to stock up.  Last year taught me so much about actually catching pike but it also gave me a understanding of the amount of tackle i will get through and the areas where i use most and surprisingly that department is hooks and crimps!  Next pay day there will be a trip to the shops before i start my pike campaign on the 1st October 2015.


Its fair to say that the fishing on the blog has been a bit one dimensional the past few months and a lot of that is down to me only having a 13ft rod to work with.  Not having my 17ft river rod basically has stopped any trips to the river Dee due to the areas we fish holding quite a deep depth and being quite wide in their nature.  This lack of a longer rod for my river fishing has also put a hold on us exploring further afield on rivers like the Severn and Ribble.

This week hopefully marks a line in the sand as last Friday i finally ordered a replacement top section for my 17ft rod from the local tackle shop.  The earliest i can expect it is this Friday but with it being a niche piece of kit i am not going expecting it to be there.  If it is then a trip onto a new river is a certainty, even if just for a change of scenery.  I have a swim in mind if i do get it and hopefully it will see us finding some nice shoal of roach.  If the rod is not there then a trip for chub might be on the cards if the conditions allow the swims to be access able.

All in all the rod is coming at the right time as we move into the colder months and we naturally move away from the shallows and into the deeper areas of the rivers. Fingers crossed.

on to this weeks fishing...

River Dane Stick Float and the Gudgeon Kid!!

Its safe to say nothing at all is taken for granted when fishing and although that goes for all branches of our sport it is even more so the case with rivers.  A swim can be rammed with big dace, roach and chub one week and the next its like they where never there as they can move miles upstream.  People also assume that with rivers you draw fish into your area and although this is normally the case sometimes that big shoal of fish 100 yards down stream are quite happy to stay there and not move up to where they can be caught.  This is the perils of river fishing and no amount of planning or research before the session can predict how the fish will react on the day or even if they will be there.

Friday night and with the river at rock bottom levels due to no rain fall during the week we knew the river was going to be a tough prospect and more than likely all sport would be done by the time the light started shining on the water.  We decided as the fishing was going to be unpredictable in the normal area we had nothing to lose ion scouting out a new stretch and fishing that.

As mentioned in last weeks blog i had been doing some research on a completely new stretch of the river dane and had spent a few hours trying to find out as much as i could about this new area but the main problem i had was accessibility as there was literally no where to park my car near the stretch.  A hour before first light we set off and arrived at a lay bye some walk from the actual banks of the river dane.  Walking the field we eventually hit the verge of the bank side foliage but with head high balsam and grass so over grown it had knotted at our feet it was a hard slog to even get the the river bank.

The river looked quite nice here but with only the odd deep glide it did not scream huge amounts of fish and looked more of a big fish area than an area to be fishing 4lb line to a 1.7 hook length.  The stretch was heavily neglected, it looked like no angler had been near all season and with the first rays of light hitting the river we could see it was frightfully shallow in places and very snaggy.  The recce was a useful one as i let us know that this area was worth a punt just to see what was in it but we certainly needed to head back with the sheers and a spade to prepare the swims for our boxes before making the long hard walk with out gear to the swims, one for the future.

We decided to head to an area we had both had solid double figure nets in the previous weeks.  I settled into a nice long 5ft deep glide lined with overhanging trees where my uncle set up in the inside of a bend in the river with a slack at his feet and a nice gentle flow down the middle of the river.  I was optimistic of catching a few fish and in my head i was thinking the nice roach and dace i caught in this session below could not be too far away.

link to session:

Its a swim i dug in a last year and fishing it last time i noticed the floods has back filled it slightly so before setting in a dug the peg back a bit so now it easily fits my seat box on it and provides a sturdy plat form to fish from for any other anglers and hopefully gets some more anglers thinking about fishing this underrated river, Jesus i say underrated this catch coming up does little to promote it haha.

The first trot though and the obligatory small roach claimed the crown of the first fish of the day.  Alright i thought, a roach to start off and there must be more around the area and maybe the better ones.

The next few trots down brought tiny chublets that could be from this year they where so small, so small in fact I'm sure one of the maggots had one in a headlock, real eyes of fish.  Not good i thought, then the gudgeon moved in and one after another after another gudgeon of all sizes came to the bank.  I love catching fish of all species but these fish being so small it was a case of striking and then reeling something in with no resistance, not much fun.

After countless gudgeon i decided to slow down on the hemp thinking the bed of these grains was the reason they where all over the swim, attracted in by my fiery hemp, so i just fed maggot for a good hour.  This did nothing to bring the better fish in the swim and the gudgeon just kept coming and coming.  These fish being bottom feeders also meant a lot of bites where missed and i felt this was down to me pulling the bait out of their mouths as i struck and them not getting hooked.

During the gudgeon fest i did strike into something that kicked a little and although put up hardly any fight i knew it was not a gudgeon and upon swinging it in i was proven right as another tiny barbel graced my palm.  Fantastic to see lets just hope they all make it to the stage where we are catching them at 5-6lb.

During my time fishing the swim i was constantly full of expectation that the better fish would suddenly arrive in the swim and the action would take off.  My uncle fishing down stream was also having the same problem with the swim dying but he had caught a few roach that he had used the net for, action was still patchy for him though.  I continued to plug away and plough through the endless gudgeon that seemed to have taken over my swim and eventually i struck and was met with something that at least put up a fight.  The skimmer bream was probably my best fish of the day for me and upon catching i was expecting one of two more of these fish but in keeping with the day the tide of gudgeon continued.

At 11am the bites from even the gudgeon had gone and i was not trotting through the swim not even a knock despite changing baits and also depths to tempt a bite.  My uncle was in the same boat and again we where left perplexed at how up and down the sessions have been on this river.  We made the decision to make a move to a small pond.

The final nets on review where not too bad but when you look at the gudgeon you can see the average size of fish in the net was tiny.

We spent around a hour and a half on the pond and the mad thing is every time i have been with my little girl on the whip she has hit a carp yet me tackled up to the eyes on the pole failed to connect with a single one, going to be some angler hahaha.  An enjoyable hour or so on the pole was had and we left early as to make the most of the afternoon at home with the family.

Well that is another week on the bank wrapped up I'm glad you all enjoyed last weeks update and here is to hopefully picking my replacement section up after work today and getting on the river tomorrow.

Tight lines


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