Sunday, 10 January 2016

Lets Talk Blanking And Monster Dace Scale Regrets...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  To be brutally honest i have tried to put a blog together a few times since new year and each time my mind has just been blank.  Just like fishing blogging can have its peaks and troughs where blogs like fish either come easy or seem to be a struggle.  A day or two off work i find myself with time on my hands and suddenly it feels right, laptop booted and here we go.

So in this update i am going to really concentrate on one main topic and that topic is blanking but before we get into that i would like to take a second to wish you all a happy new year and i hope 2016 is a year filled with success both on the bank and in your family lives, all the best to you all.  The fishing sees a trip to the river and boy do the fish turn up, sadly it is the one and only trip i have ever forgot my scales and boy do i live to regret it.

On to the update..

Blanking, A story or woe? or good lessons learnt? 

I am very fortunate to be an angler that gets on the bank at least once a week, madness some say and others will call it passion, me? I call it a necessity for my sanity.  Fishing offers me all manner of benefits, time alone to think through problems, relaxation and with a ever increasing amount now companionship and comradeship towards a common goal.

Getting out on the bank this much you experience peaks and troughs in your angling, the times where you feel like an angling god where it seems no matter where you out your bait you catch a fish, you never tangle and no fish come off.  You then have the flip side of this where the float can be as stagnant as the very still mill pond you are fishing, every cast down the river is a snag and it seems that no mater what you do the float not go under.

Blanking, a word that seems to send chills down any anglers spine, a word loaded with a sense of failure and almost embarrassment as each trip seems to be a quest to avoid "the dreaded blank..  I know when i first experienced a dip in my angling a few years ago it really hit me hard and fishing turned into something that was not a pastime filled with excitement and relaxation and became more a chore that built into fishing becoming frustrating.  As time has gone on and i have matured and grown into fishing these dips i know are times to not to be too hung up upon, i know from experience to keep doing what worked before and in time the tide will turn.

Blanking is part and parcel of fishing, we all do it and at times its to be expected and this is all forms of angling.  In mine when i try a new area of river or a completely new river then finding the areas the fish congregate especially in winter can lead to a string of hard sessions but in the long run these hard sessions make the good ones even the sweeter.  Pike fishing of course has taken off with me the past few seasons and these early lessons learnt trying rivers have put me in a good mindset for dealing with the blanks that come more often with the pike fishing.

Pike fishing does present a new set of problems with blanking as you might only get one chance on a session so that chances of a blank are high.  I feel the key to dealing with these is to evaluate if the area you are fishing is still where you think the pike will be as pike can be so seasonal in their movements as they follow the silvers and then also remain confident in your tactics.  Very rarely are huge changes in tactics needed i feel, the tactics and baits that caught pike before will catch pike now and as mentioned location can be reevaluated but in essence time is the only healer here and keeping positive, the fish will come.

One thing we should try to avoid is beating ourselves up as this only leads to you making more bad decisions on the possible bad decisions you are already making.  Try to avoid looking too much at what other anglers are doing and concentrate on your own fishing.  When blanking it is never a good idea to go looking at groups or pages on facebook of other anglers catching as remember only catching anglers really post so it will seem like the whole of the world but you is catching. Keep concentrated on your own fishing and in time the bites will come.

On to the fishing....

Monster Dace, Big Chub and Scale Regrets.....

So with the majority rivers around all in the fields we had a good sit down on Friday night and evaluated our options.  The river Dee was in the fields and most would say un-fishable but if you find the areas where there is a slack and the colour is not like chocolate you have a chance.  Most people look at the river charts, as i do, but from this chart only see the numeric level.  The chart is there to show you the trend of the level, if a river is in the fields then it is deemed un-fishable yet if this river has been in the fields for 10 days then the clarity of the main river might be good for fishing and its a case of finding the right spot.

We went through our options looking at the blog and past trips, yes the blog is my main tool for looking at passed trips over the years haha, we settled on a venue where we knew the level was i would say "ok".  In reality it would be the highest level we had ever fished this river but it had been dropping for a day or two so we knew we where in with a chance of a fish.

My plan for the day was to spend the morning in one swim where i was hoping to pick up the odd chub and if it died, it normally does due to the low stock of fish in this swim, then move and spend the afternoon in another swim where i knew there was a good head of chub.

The swim i was in was a stick float anglers dream, a nice even pace, even depth and fair bit of cover along the banks for the fish to feel safe around.  The first trot down brought the expected trout, greedy and always willing to feed i had a feeling this would be the first fish in.  Either that or a chub, i would have preferred the latter.  Trout are lovely fish but their erratic fight and flapping allover the swim does little to help your dace and chub swim.

half an hour into the session and i was pleased to see the dace hard on the feed as i knew it would prolong the longevity of the swim.  The swim being positioned where it is i knew the shoal of chub would be around eventually when the maggots proved too much to resist but in reality i would be happy to catch dace all day.  The quality of the dace seemed to suddenly improved with a me losing a nice dace and putting this dace on the bank.

I took a minute to admire its beauty, scale perfect as its mirror like scales glistened in the mottled light coming through the trees.  A few more trots down brought a few more dace and i was in heaven and then i hit a fish that felt nice.  You can normally tell from the fight what you are connected too, dace seem to thug and give a gliding fight, dace you really feel the tail, chub feel like your connected to the bottom and barbel leave you feeling like your in trouble from the off.  This was a weird fight and at first i thought chublet and even more so as it came up as it was a nice big fish, chub i thought, then i saw it on the top!  "jesus its a dace i thought!!"  in the net i was in ore at its beauty it was a really big dace.  I then thought scales which hit me where in my pike gear! gutted.

A fish i will never know the size of although i will always have the memory of its capture and this photo.

After this dace was in the net it seemed the dace died off and over the next hour or so i picked up the odd chub but as predicted around midday the swim seemed devoid of bites.  All my tricks to tempt another bite attempted i decided to take a picture of the net and move on, not a bad mornings work.

The move of swim brought me closer to my uncle and i looked forward to an afternoons banter as we fished the last two hours of the session.  The swim i was in i knew held a good head of chub and i had experienced some phenomenal sessions in this swim over the years with nets of chub over 30lb but the next two hours i have to say shocked me.

The pace of the river was more than i would have liked here and at first i thought i was wasting my time as the bait float trundled through the fast glide down to the snag.  A few trots down and nothing to show i started to experiment with feeding and presentation and it took a few changes here and there before i unlocked the key to the lock on how the chub wanted the bait on this session.

Trundling down the swim i feathered the line through my fingers along the swim slowing the bait right down and then right before the snag a gentle hold on the line and as soon as i released the float buried!  Solid resistance as only a chub gives and the 13ft korum float rod was bent double.  A tense battle i the extra flow and the chub came up to be netted.

The tactic nailed i went on to have two hours fishing to remember taking 11 chub and a few dace for a net estimated to be around 25-30lb.  A cracking two hours sport and fishing does not come much better than that on the stick float.  All caught on maggot and hemp.

That brings us to the end of this weeks blog update i hope the talk on blanking and the nice river session where a nice introduction to 2016.

Till next time i wish you all

tight lines



  1. Great piece mate. I too have had a very bad run lately , and as a match as well as pleasure angler, my passion died . But eventually I have sat back , updated my gear and thought about becoming a tidier angler ( rigs all over the place ) Reading this really as got the fire going again. Great blog by the way

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