Monday, 18 January 2016

River Roach and Dace Brace To Remember!!

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  Well finally the temperature has dropped and unlike the rest of the non anglers i am over the moon.  This update i share my thoughts on going fishing in the cold and then look back at some of my favourite memories of fishing in the cold and the snow. The fishing this week see's us heading out to take advantage of another window of opportunity on the river and this time i remember my scales.

On to the Update...

4 Below Are You Mad To Go??

The news is full of all manner of stories telling of the "Storm of The Century" is on its way or "brace for the Icy Blast" and although from time to time they are right on most occasions the weather is no where near as bad as they mention.  Angling is a sport that has many divisions and sub divisions but the biggest way to divide all arms of angling is into two brackets.  Anglers who fish all year round or anglers who fish in the warmer months, commonly know as fair weather anglers, there in my eyes is nothing wrong with being in either camp.

I am most certainly in the All Year round camp and one of the things i love most about angling is experiencing the great out doors in all its forms.  I find the sight of a canal path laden with ice covered puddles and snow covered river banks just as exciting as the sight of the first daffodils rising in spring and the new lambs in the many fields as you travel to your location.  Each season is as magical as the other in my opinion.  Winter is not a season to be afraid of, many look out and think "as if I'm going fishing in this" but others also look out and think they wont catch in the cold and in my opinion that is the thought process i aim to challenge in this piece.

Winter for me fishing wise is a season i love and although the bank sides are barren and died back it really is in my opinion the season of plenty and actually the easier months fishing for me.  Fishing can be hard don't get me wrong but if you have put the time into learning where the dace will shoal up or taken the time to walk a lake at first and last light to see where the silvers as topping then you are already half way there.  At this time of year location is everything and being on the fish is paramount as the distance fish will travel to their winter haunts can be huge but the difference between catching and not can be minute.

 A great example of this was a session me and my uncle fished on the river dee.  We both fished an area known to hold huge heads of silver fish in winter.  My uncle pegged below the bridge and me above it a gap of only 100 yards and both swims an even depth.  All above the bridge netted up to and above 20lb of fish while my uncle had 3 bites.  Again once you find the fish the lines of success can be so thin.

You have to be prepared to fish in the colder months with the right gear but with good thermal base layers and solid thermal boots you should be fine.  Target fish you know will feed in the cold and you will be amazed what great fishing you can have.

Cold Sessions To Remember...

So when the cold really sets in the excitement levels really start to rise and there has been a few times we have headed out with snow on the ground and had some fantastic sessions but the river Dee sessions really do stand out for me.  The first i remember was a session when me and my uncle headed off to the river in search of dace.  The roads all the way there where a nightmare and it was more out of relief than anything else when we pulled up to the pegs.

The weather for the day had forecast freezing rain, what the hell is that we thought, we ll later on in the session the rain hit and as it hut the floor it froze instantly.  I remember being warm in my thermal gear but my hands where sooo cold and every time i had to put my hand into my hemp that was no mixed with a freezing cold slush i regretted it.  The dace really showed up on the session and i remember us both bagging up on dace, a real show of what can be caught even when the temperature goes into minus figures.

full update of this session here:

The next species normally on my mind when the cold and especially when the snow arrives is the pike.  A few years ago i set my heart on a pike in the snow and off i set to try and achieve that goal.  A stop of first for a bit of stick float fishing to catch some live baits and it was off to the spot i had in mind, same river mind.

The mighty river dee was my river of choice and i arrived at a spot i had caught some pike in summer.  The pike in summer where all jacks around 3-5lb but my target was a pike in the snow i did not really care about size of pike.  The bait lowered into the slack i waited and it didn't take long for the float to disappear into the depths.  A good hard strike and the rod hooped over, at this time i was not really into my piking and was using my 1.75lb barbel rod so you can image the bend.  Certainly not the tiny jacks of summer and yet not a monster, in the net i had my pike in the snow.  Was there more to come though? find out in the update.

link to update:

There are of course many other sessions over the years where we have gone out in the snow but these and the ones that spring to mind.  Having been out yesterday as well in the snow with not so much as a touch you really appreciate the sessions you make the effort and it all comes good.

On to the Fishing...

Brace To Remember On The Stick Float...

The night before the session we had a good look at the rivers and decided to fish the same river as the previous session and in a twist we decided to just take one set of gear and fish the same swim taking it in turns of around 30 minutes to trot the swim while the other fished a lead into a deep hole. 

We arrived on the bank full of expectation and hope.  The swim we knew from experience held a good head of chub with the potential to give us both a bend in our rods for most of the day.  We expected to get the full day as there was no rain forecast and although the river was up a foot or so it had a nice clarity so we expected to catch.

Feeding the swim as we set up i was excited as i sat in the hot seat for the first half an hour stint.  The first trot down and i small little dace was my reward, a good sign as these fish in the swim would only increase the amount of fish In the net s.  A trot down again and the rod hooped round as i struck, a chublet came up in the water and into the net.  Two casts and two bites a solid start.  The nature of this swim is that you normally hit a few nice chub and then the swim can die for a half hour or so and then they come on again.  By fishing the way we did we hoped for one person to catch, then stop catching and then time it so the other person took over right on bite time.

The third trot down i hooked into  fish that felt like another chublet, this was till it came up int he water and i noticed it was a dace and a big one to boot!.  Fighting in the clear water i could see my prize right in front of me and it was a dace i did not want to lose.  A few anxious moments as the dace held in the current and then moved flank on in the current giving you that horror feeling of slack line and a lost fish.  Eventually she came up and slid into the net, a clonking dace and this time i had my scales, 14oz!

The next trot down i decided to go along the fast water to the snag and inched the bait down the swim.  Reaching the snag i held back and the float zoomed under, a nice bend in the rid again and in the fast flow it put up a great fight.  Again an unusual fight that had force but lacked the brute power of a chub.  Up the fish came and revealed itself to be a massive Roach!  Another big silver and a fish i did not want to lose.

My hands trebled as i lifted the roach from the landing net and marvelled at its beauty, a very rare fish indeed and one that certainly a new personal best for myself.  On the scales she went 1lb 5oz, although in the roach world a long way off a monster fish, for me, was two trots down the river i will never forget.

Handing the rod over to my uncle i sat back and thought about the two fish i had caught and was over the moon.  The only thing i love more than fishing a river is watching my uncle trot a float through, it takes me back to when i first started trotting and i would spend ages just sat in his swim watching how he fished the river.  Asking questions about why he fishes that line and why he holds the float back in that place in the swim was all a vital part of the stick float angler i am today.  Able to read a river and approach a swim on my own and feel confident i can catch fish is all down to those early sessions.

Trotting the float through it was no surprise that he was soon into some chub and a good standard to boot.  He took a number of dace and chub during his stint.  Taking over i caught some more but the bite had become really patchy.  The fish where not moving out and the river had gained pace.

For the next few hours we really struggled for bites with my uncle picking up the odd one on the float and a lead fished tight to the snag accounting for another.  Come pack up time at 2pm we had put around 15lb in the net, not the 30lb plus we had hoped for but a nice day on the bank with plenty of banter. 

This session will aways live in my memory for the two trots down in succession early on with a 14oz dace and a 1lb 5oz roach looking as pretty as a picture together on the mat.

One happy angler wishing you all tight lines till the next update


1 comment:

  1. I'm out the weekend to do some trotting and I'd like a brace like that, nice one.