Tuesday, 19 January 2016

River Mersey Seal and Silver on Bread Punch...

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and you nets wet.  This week has seen me book a weeks leave for the first time in a long while.  With the view to hopefully getting out and finding some pike during this week i have to say i am excited.  I just hope the cold snap stays around as any warm sustained weather could see my week off being a disaster if they decide to spawn.  A week on the river is not such a bad back up though.

Moving on to this weeks update i talk a little on my thoughts on the seal that has found its way into the mersey system and also a look at my plans for the coming weeks towards the end of the river season.  The fishing sees us

on to the update

River Mersey Seal of Approval..

Well the secret is finally out there that a seal has set up home on the mersey so i thought i might as well cover it on the blog.  The seal no doubt took advantage of the extraordinary high water levels to get above the weir in Warrington.  If it is anything like the ones on the river dee system it has no doubt followed up a run of salmon who will have also taken advantage of the high water.

The problem with this one on the Mersey is the area it is situated.  The seal is now trapped between  two big weirs and the only good news is the fact the chances of it going any further upstream is limited by the huge woolston weir, i think.  This leaves Warrignton Anglers with a apex predator trapped on its waters and with a fresh run of tidal saltwater coming up daily i imagine the water will be brackish enough for it to be comfortable.  The seal has already been seen with large pike in its paws so damage is already being done.

The seal on the Severn is still there as far as i am aware a good year at least on so actually moving the seal is really difficult and this will only become worse as the seal gains popularity with the public.  The mersey in reality holds no where near the prestige of the severn so a feeling of "it can not be moved from the severn how can it be moved from the mersey".

The other end of the story is how remote the mersey is.  On other rivers like the River Wyre the seal has mysteriously appeared dead on a sandbank with suspicious wounds to the carcass so there is the chance this seal could meet the same fate.

We do need to remember here though that this is no fault of the seal the animal is just following a food source and is now trapped.  Action does need to be taken though.  The mersey area it is in has come on leaps and bounds over the passed few years with match weights showing the increase in fish,  This is still at this stage a very fragile ecosystem with fish stock now at their full potential.  I do hope this situation is dealt with the severity it deserves and the seal is some how moved over the weir.  Fingers crossed!

Not long left now....

So we are fast approaching the month of February and the end of the pike season and the river season looms large.  I am sure this will see then usual petitions for doing away with the closed season appearing on social media and in the angling press.  This year for the rivers has been a complete wipe out so looking solely at the rivers first my hope is to get out and wet a line for dace on the river dee and hopefully some sessions for silvers and chub on the dane.

The other branch of my angling right now is pike fishing and the rising temperature has got me thinking the end of this season might come sooner than we think.  It is always wrong to set targets with fishing but my focus with this is to end the season with a nice pike either a mid or upper double.  I have a week booked of next week and i will be going all out to try and find a pike to close the season out on.  There will of course be some fabulous socials during that week and im hoping to also sneak in a river session.

This week sadly also marks that dreaded week for any angler.  The dreaded MOT on the car week.  There is no way I'm getting away with it this year i just hope the car is done in time for my week off work.

So fingers crossed for a nice croc and as i have always said i will never fail in angling through lack of effort.  I will put the time in and if after next week i end it with a few pike on the bank instead of the double I'm after i will be happy knowing i had caught a few pike and i had done all i could, that's all you can do.

On to this weeks fishing

It finally felt like the nightmare with the rivers was coming to and last week as all the rivers where dropping nicely.  Monday through to Wednesday all was fantastic as the levels plummeted and it even looked like the mighty Dee might get to a level where fishing was considered sane.  Waking up on Thursday morning the rain was bouncing down and my heart sank, how long had this been coming down for?   I checked the EA chart and there was no sign of this water hitting the rivers.

Thursday afternoons level also showed nothing of this rain and a excited angler called his uncle making plans for the Saturday on the River Dane.  A few pints of maggots purchased i headed home from work on Friday and was a happy camper till i noticed the Dee had stopped rising and the Dane showed a slight rise.  0.60 is about the limit for stick float fishing on here and the level showed 0.58m, i hoped the next morning would bring a chart that showed a drop overnight.

I knew the river would be up and slightly high but rather than being down beat about it i decided to be positive and really attack the river.  Three pints of maggot, a pint of hemp and a full load liquidised i was ready to attack this river and really go for it hoping for a positive outcome.

Waking up on the Saturday morning i put the kettle on and followed my morning routine before fishing getting the gear ready.  A quick check of the EA levels and a reading of 0.75m!!! A disaster she had gone even higher over night.  We decided to give her a go any way and heading off in the car we kind of both knew the river would be a mess but with the seasons end fast approaching we where desperate to have a decent session on the river.

Arriving on the banks she had a good colour considering but she was belting through.  We both set up on pegs with a slack on our inside and both felt unusually confident.  On any other river you would bag up with that clarity and a huge slack on the inside of a river belting through.  The dane is unlike and other river though and despite my uncles sole dace we both completed a two hour stint in our swims without a knock or anything that resembled a bite.

Admitting defeat we dropped back on a still water with the hope of catching a few silvers on the pole.  I started off feeding maggot to the side of some reeds and i also fed a ball of liquidised bread to a swim a few yards to my left in a similar depth of water.  The fishing on the maggot was slow to say the least and my temper tested by having to set up from scratch twice.

That was it for me with the maggot line it was slow to say the least and having got stuck on the reeds and snapped off twice i was in no mood for playing any more reed roulette.  What happened next shocked me.  I went in over my bread line on punch and under the float zoomed!  A small roach my reward but it was a start.

Next put in and a few taps on the bread resulted in a hard strike and another small roach.  The next few put ins saw me striking at little knocks on the float and i was quite frankly shocked how a float as dotted down as mine was could not go under but could be teased to the point of going under, was madness.

I began to get to terms with the bites and in time i picked up that striking as soon as the float moved up down left or right was the key.  Getting the bread shipped out presented a whole new set of challenges and also taught me next time to spend time preparing the punch bread.

I got to grips with it and bites came every put in and as soon as they stopped i fed with another small nugget of feed and the bites came back.  I would say in total i was fishing bread for around a hour to hour and half and put together a respectable net of fish considering its a bait i do not really fish much and it certainly has given me confidence have another go.

well that concludes another angling blog i hope the weather is kind to you and your nets are wet over the coming week



  1. When the Mersey tides are at their highest, Howley weir actually get covered. My feet were the first to know, as I got them wet once fishing above Howley, whilst not realising that the Mersey is tidal all the way up to Woolston. So maybe there is some hope the seal will return to the sea. I doubt though that the water above Howley ever gets brackish.

  2. Hi Jay,

    Not been seen in the matches for a few weeks now so hopefully found its way out of the system. Certianly was seen with a few nice pike in its chops so hopefully not made too much of a dent. Living close to mersey those tides are so quick!! certainly now to be messed with when its a spring tide and a big bore comes down the mersey.