Friday, 10 August 2012

The dangers of river fishing

They say two of the most stressful things you do in your life are having a baby and moving house so with our baby due some time this month there was no better time than now to move into our new house, what a week its been, very tiring and non stop but at least its all done now and I even managed to get it all done with Sunday to spare for a few hours on the river!!

On to the fishing:

All week there have been high tides showing up on the level stations on the Dee so we travelled to the Dee knowing the river would be dropping and due to rise again around 2-3pm in the afternoon. With the water levels due to be so changeable through out the whole session I decided not to trot a float through a swim but settled in a swim where I knew there was a decent slack behind a sunken tree that I could easily reach with 3 sections of pole.

This type of fishing can bring some real surprises and can on certain days see you really bag up and can out fish the float rod in some instances. My plan for the day was to fish the pole for a few hours and then pack the gear away and try a pike spot that has been good to me over the years in the afternoon hoping to pick up an odd jack pike or two.

In the dark setting up I could hear all manor of rodents rustling around in the undergrowth but it was a large animal swimming across the river that caught my eye. In the dark I could not make out what it was only that it was really large, certainly not a mink. It was a few moments later my uncle came down the bank saying he had seen something on his peg but like me couldn’t make it out. We will never know for certain what it was but after looking on Google it does seem from time to time seals make there way up the estuary above the weir chasing the salmon runs I can only imagine it was one of these as it was too big to be anything else. If anyone reading this fished the Dee a lot leave a message in the comments if you have witnessed anything like this before on the Dee.

​As the morning broke we were treated to some glorious sunshine I started to feed the slack with castor and hemp and it wasn’t long before my efforts paid off and I was into some dace and small roach. I did hit one fish that was solid on the strike and went straight out into the flow when the hook pulled which was more of a relief than anything because there was no chance of me landing it, it was a serious fish judging by the power of its run.

Surrounded by a dense patch of nettles and other flowers it at times felt like there was a whole swarm of bees and wasps behind me as they both worked the blooming flowers in vast numbers, it was at time quite deafening.

The fishing after the hook pull went really quiet as can be expected but after feeding the swim for around half an hour without a bite the float buried and I was into a decent fish that had the elastic really stretching as it made dive after dive for the tree roots. I managed to turn the fish and it came to the surface and revealed itself to be a beautifully marked perch which I was more than pleased with.

After this perch the small silver fish seemed to return and I continued to pick up dace, roach and the odd small chublet and I thoroughly enjoyed the change from trotting. I packed the gear away around midday pleased with my morning efforts on the pole and I feel I improved as the morning went on with my presentation.

The gear packed away and my keep net drying up the bank I decided to take the opportunity to just relax and have a coffee on the bank and I for a good 20 minutes just sat back and took in the sights and sounds of the river, after a few hectic days sorting out the new house, ringing energy providers, building and moving furniture it was bliss to have a few moments to relax and in my opinion there is no better place than by the river bank.

After finishing my brew and watching the resident king fisher scurry back up river it was time to make a move myself and I made the short walk to my uncles peg to store the gear behind him and see how he was getting on. He was having a good day on the float rod picking up some stonking roach along with the dace that are so plentiful in the river dee system now.

I decided to take a wander onto the gravel bar that was no accessible with the low tide and I was amazed to see all the fry that was a bout, the place was teeming with small fry. I did manage to catch one and it was certainly a chub fry judging by the size of its mouth. This bodes really well for the future of the river to see so much upcoming life and also goes to explain the presence of some nice perch in the stretch which would make short work of these fry.

After watching the fry for a bit I decided to get my trust pike rod out and began to wobble dead bait in a spot I know holds a few pike. It is always a great feeling when you get it right and a plan comes together and after a few casts I could see the silver bait fluttering in the clear water before a massive bow wave rolled in behind the bait and a sharp tug on the rod tip registered the pike was on and I struck into a real feisty pike that did everything to throw the hooks giving me a right display of its aerial capabilities.


Pike in summer can be really full of energy, more so than winter where there fights seem to be more hard runs than tail walking leaps from the water. I know I mention this a lot in my blog but giving the pike time to recover in the margins before release is even more important in summer for these fish and great care should be taken to make sure they are ready to go back.

The pike safely returned I joined my uncle for a bit watching him catching some lovely roach and dace that moved into his swim late on in the session. After while I returned to my pike fishing and managed to entice another, much bigger pike, but thankfully it threw the hooks as when I looked at my feet the tide had started to rise around me and I was stood in a foot of water with it rising fast. I quickly grabbed my gear and made my way to the top of the bank looking back to see the plateau where I was stood 2 minutes earlier covered in water. This goes to show the dangers of fishing the rivers and how vigilant you need to be at all times.

I had lost track of time, I should have know that at 3pm the tide would come in and I needed to be off but I got complacent, it is so easy to do. Arriving at the top of the bank we could hear loud rumbles of thunder approaching so we quickly grabbed a quick picture of his net of fish which for the swim was really impressive.

We literally packed hi gear away as the heavens opened and in the space of 10 minutes we were both soaked to the bone as was all the gear. We quickly loaded the car and got on our way and already the roads leaving the beat where approaching being impassable with flood water. We made our way along the B road towards Chester and at times it was approaching dangerous with water literally flowing off the fields and into the river, I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say in my 7 years of driving so far it was the most scared I have ever been in my car. The water in places covered the whole road and we had no idea just how deep it was. Thankfully we managed to navigate our way along the road, safely and continued on our way home through the torrential rain.

I can honestly say I have never experienced weather like that, as you can see form the pictures the morning was glorious sunshine and even when the thunder was rumbling we where still in the warm sunshine, yet less than 30 minutes later we where navigating completely flooded roads. It certainly opened my eyes to the dangers of fishing the rivers.

Till next time

Stay safe and tight lines


Friday, 3 August 2012

Finally no rain!!! and the roach and chub show up!!

A warm welcome to this week’s angling blog update and a start with an apology for last weeks update not being up to the normal standard, I really have had no time recently for writing the blog at all and I thought it was better to put out something rather than nothing to keep things ticking over.  The events of this past week being so busy has really got me thinking about my angling routine once the baby is here and it quickly dawned on me that I may not be able to get out for my weekly fix all the time once she is here, especially around the birth and it really got me thinking, I don’t want the blog to really loose the momentum it has got at the moment and really want to keep up with a weekly post going up so I am opening the floor up to you, the blog followers, if you have had a red letter session recently and would like to have a go at writing a piece about your adventures feel free to send it into the blogs email.

This week marked the start of the London Olympics 2012 and unlike a lot of people I spoke to about the opening ceremony, I was really impressed with it, I thought it was imaginative and the choreography was something else to keep the show rolling for a full 3 hours was a feat in itself!! Should Danny Boyle be knighted?? Well that really is down to opinion but in my opinion he does deserve some recognition for the effort that went into the event.  A highlight for me, like most, was the Mr Bean sketch, pure class!! Lets hope the athletes live up to their expectations now.

This week also saw me visiting the doctors about my angling addiction and I was quickly diagnosed by the doctor and put on the relevant medication of fishing at every opportunity possible as the saying goes Feed a Cold and starve a fever well this addiction is definitely dealt with by the cold remedy so on Saturday I took the doctors advice and hit the bank.

On to this weeks adventure:

The week leading up to Saturday had been very unlike the so called summer that had gone before in the fact it was warm and sunny, go figure a warm sunny summer who would have thought it eh? This welcome break in the relentless rain we have been seeing of late meant the river was bob on come Friday afternoon and was at a very agreeable 4.84m, perfect for running a float through.

We arrived as normal under the cover of darkness with only the rustling of the resident rats and the distant cooing of an owl breaking the eerie silence that you find at such an insane hour on the bank side.  Quietly we walked the bank checking out our swims for the day and getting our gear in position ready to make a start at first light, its amazing how quickly your eyes adjust to the low light levels and you begin to see more and more of the world around you and take in a big deep breath of the countryside and the realisation that for just one day you are away from the hustle and bustle of the fast paced towns we spend the whole week in and I was determined to make the most of it, it had been a very long hard week indeed, time to relax.

Chewing the fat on my uncles peg about the day ahead as the very first signs of a new day glowed on the horizon we were both full on anticipation for the day ahead, surely we were in for a few fish today.  The river, even in the darkness, looked to be in fine fettle and there was no shortage of fish topping all around us from small fry dimpling in the margins to the loud crash of a mighty salmon rising clean out of the water in the main flow, the river looked to be back to her normal self again.

The plan for me for the day was to spend the early part of the day trying for a decent chub on pellet while feeding the swim with hemp and castor in preparation of trotting it later on in the day.  My uncle chose to fish two tactics one on the float trotting and the other on the pole I was really interested to see how he fared using a tactic I have long wondered what results it would produce.  My dad shared my peg with me and decided to fish on the feeder close to a bank side feature, a tactic he has used before to good effect.

With my heavy gear already set up at home the previous evening along with my dads feeder rod it took longer to set up our baskets, keep net and bank sticks than it did our fishing rods and with the sun rising above the horizon we made our first casts of the day, I really love fishing with my dad it takes me back to the canal fishing as a kid and is them moments that live with you forever, even if we didn’t catch it would great to share a swim with him for a day.

My dad on the maggot feeder was straight into small dace and the odd nice roach where I was sat motionless waiting for the tip to wrap round as it does when a chub or even a barbell takes the bait but apart from a few knocks and rattles that could have been big dace or chub there was very little activity on the heavy gear and it was getting on for around 9am before I gave in and set up my trotting rod, the culmination of my dad catching regular and me visiting my uncle and seeing him pulling out nice roach broke my resolve.

The quality of fish being caught was good to see with both my dad and uncle picking up the odd roach of the stamp shown below.

My trotting rod set up I was just about to cast in when my dad struck into a fish that was solid on the strike and went straight out into the flow, my dad instantly thought it was a decent chub or barbell but I had my reservations the fish looked like it had taken it on the drop as the feeder was falling through the water so I thought it unlikely to be a barbell but a chub was a fair guess as any.  The battle continued with my dads drag set just right to cushion this fishes hard runs and with only a 1.5lb hook length he had to be careful.

The fish eventually topped and flipped and revealed its self to be a jack pike of around 3lb bracket but it was using every bit of force it could from the flow of the river to make things hard for him, I was amazed it hadn’t bit through the line but to our amazement the fish came to the net and I quickly scooped it up and a quick look at the pikes jaw revealed why we had got it in the hook had transferred into the pikes mouth from the fish, very lucky indeed if only he had been so luck the previous nights lottery.

Some gnashers of this young jack pike, impressive dentistry with the hook firmly in a gap in its jaw.

The pike returned I got to my trotting and my pre baiting all morning paid off instantly with me catching a few top quality roach and dace with the best of the bunch of roach shown below a pleasure to catch and proves the bonus of using castor and waiting for the bigger fish it brings.

After a while I decided to stretch my legs and visited my uncle who had settled in on the pole and was pulling out quality roach and the odd chub.  He was having a real good day and I must admit I spent a good hour just sat there watching him catch it was great to see how he held the bait back and then let it go again and watch the bits come at the exact moment it dropped down again, one a chuck!!.

A typical roach and chub my uncle was picking up:

On my way back to my swim I noticed just how clear of a day it was you could see quite clearly the welsh mountains in the distance and what looked like a decent amount of cloud rolling in off them, it wouldn’t be long till there was a dramatic change in the weather, from experience of fishing our peg before I knew it being a quite open peg it would effect our fishing.

The clouds and more importantly the wind, did arrive, and caused havoc with my trotting line blowing the float literally sideways in the flow and into the bank; no fish was ever going to fall for that type of presentation.  In the gaps in the wind I did pick up some more nice dace and roach and my dad also continued to steadily pick up fish close in through out the remainder of the day.

One major highlight of the day was to admire the energy of the local kingfishers who kept going back and two all day across the river and up the small tributary to their burrow no doubt feeding their young on a diet of minnows and small fry that seemed to turn parts of the margins black with their tight shoals. I will one day get a picture of these most beautiful of birds but for now I will just have to settle for admiring them as they shoot past my swim with a flash of blue and orange as they turn downstream.

Me and my dad ended the day with a nice net of roach, dace, perch and a solitary small chub in a day that we thoroughly enjoyed spending together on the bank.

My uncle fared a lot better with this net below the picture does it little justice but we estimated it to be between 13-15lb going on what we catch in winter a proper net of silvers showing the fish were back and in a big way.

That is it for this week don’t forget you can follow the blog on twitter by following @Satonmyperch and you can also keep up with the blog on its own facebook page by clicking like on this link:

Till next time

I wish you all tight lines