Friday, 21 September 2012

Ruddy Tough Week On The Bank

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and as the title suggests it has been a really tough week on the bank which saw us really struggling on both the River Dee and Dane.  I really am struggling to come up with a reason why the River Dee is fishing so poor at the moment.  We have tried banker swims from last year and new undiscovered swims in an attempt to locate where the dace shoals have settled this year.

With not getting out on the bank for a few weeks while we welcomed our daughter into the world I must admit I am lacking the patience I had last year when you could take a bad session on the chin as you knew you would more than likely have a bumper session the next week when you visited a stretch you could bank on fishing well, now with the river campaign stuttering along with little action and running out of locations to try I must admit I just want a session where that float keeps going under and it looks like till the cold frosts arrive we may have to retreat onto the local ponds to get the top of our floats wet.

On to this weeks fishing:-

Inspired to chase those Chevins

I start this week’s update with our most recent trip out to the river which was on Wednesday when my dad and I visited the River Dane in Holmes Chapel.  I had planned on us fishing a tributary of the River Dee for the lady of the stream, the grayling, but after watching and reading a fellow anglers blog I was inspired to chase some “chevins” of my own the following day.  This angler, more than deserves a shout out as he produces some great videos on Youtube and also backs them up with a written update that always incorporates both the fishing and the feel of the day, which as a fellow blog writer can be so hard to do, consistently.  A link to marks blog is here and links to his weekly updates as always will pop up on my left hand side bar of the blog, keep up the good work mate.

We arrived in the car park situated towards the upstream limit of the stretch and quickly unloaded the carp as we dodged the countless slugs that lined the moist grass beneath our feet, the car unloaded we quickly picked up a few of the deep black slugs for bait, well known as a classic chub bait which is said to be down to the “plop” they make as they fall onto the water’s surface.

One thing that did catch my attention as we made our way to the river was the amount of browns and oranges appearing amongst the green of the trees and the undergrowth.  Some of the ferns had an autumnal feel to them which I must admit came as a shock to me having basked in the warm sunshine on the Saturday morning surrounded by head high Himalayan Balsam.

The plan was to travel light with all our terminal tackle in my Korum Rucksack and carrying the bare essentials tackle wise with a feeder rod each and my trusty trotting rod for fishing the glorious intimate picturesque glides the river Dane is famous for.  We as anglers were all set for a day’s roving all we needed was the chub to play game.

 During the day we made a way through all manner of swims and likely looking spots from newly created swims to swims we had done well in previous years fishing.  All seemed devoid of our chosen species the chub.  Below are some pictures of the likely looking swims we fished as you can see they all scream chub, they were there all right but they proved to be very elusive.

As the day wore on towards midday we had spent around a hour in each of the swims and had reached the final swim for the day, a swim where I had caught countless chub in the past and one of those swims you would feel confident in catching from in any conditions.  I started off on the trotting rod and after a few trots down the float buried and for a split moment my heart sped up as I felt that sold resistance on the line but after a few more seconds it became very apparent this was no chub and was in fact a wiry feisty grayling that decided to male as much commotion as possible making its way upstream, I knew this would be bad for the chub fishing but was glad to get a fish on the bank.  The grayling is one of those magical fish you catch on the river that have so many colours to them and their beauty cannot help but brighten up the hardest of days on the river.

We gave the last swim a good hour after this grayling but no chub were forthcoming but in the midday sun we were treated to a great aerial display by the local pair of buzzards, I really do love seeing these birds when I am on the bank and with them being more popular than ever I am regularly treated to their company, more of this species later on in the update.

Saturday 15th September

Saturday would be my first session back on the bank after the birth of our little girl and I must say the break had worked a treat; I was wide awake all Friday night, excited for the session ahead.  Previous to abbey being born we had been on the banks pretty much solid for a whole year and I must admit to flagging a bit as the birth drew near, I found myself drifting away during the time on the bank, wondering what the future held and not really putting 100% concentration into both my fishing and the blog, looking back it has showed, so I was pleased to have that fire back and it was a more than welcome companion.

The week leading up to Saturday’s session was full of indecision about where on the River Dee to try, so much river we could fish but settling on one venue was proving to be difficult.  We eventually decided on the lower Dee on a stretch of river that at this time of year usually fishes quite well and what’s more there are fewer more remote places along the Dee than this stretch.

The walk to the river was a short one but actually getting to the river’s edge proved to be a real task, there has always been a swim situated on this stretch but as the picture above shows nature had done her best to reclaim the space with head high Himalayan Balsam all around.  This invasive species has got a real foothold it seems now on most of the rivers we visit but the good thing is it isn’t too difficult to work a path through and it wasn’t long before my dad was making his first cast of the day on his trusty Drennan feeder rod.

I took a little longer setting up than my dad with his pre-setup up feeder as my plan of attack was to trot a float down the steady current with my 17ft float rod using both maggot and castor for bait.  The swim I was in as I said had a lovely steady pace to it and with a slack on the inside and a tree overhanging with its leaves just lapping the water downstream I had high prospects for the day ahead.  As normal I had drip fed the swim as I was going about setting my float rod so by the time I was set to make my first cast I was optimistic.

The first trot through of a session is a magical thing, has the bait you trickled in done the trick?? Have you picked the right line to fish?? And the dreaded one, especially on the River Dee, is there a massive snag in your trot??  All these questions are normally answered within the first few trots down.  First cast and with the wind calm and the river like a plain of ice I had my float dotted right down to detect any shy bites, she was going down the river a treat and right wherein expected a bite the float buried and I was into my first fish of the day, a dace. 

Great start I thought, always a good sign to catch on your first cast, back in and again the float buried and I was playing something more substantial than the previous dace, it certainly wasn’t a roach as their jagged fight is a dead giveaway, what was it?.  I played the fish with the upmost delicacy and it was rewarded when I fin perfect chub broke the surface, two casts and two fish, one of which a chub, I was over the moon.

My dad and uncle were also swiftly into fish with my dad picking up some quality dace and my uncle some chub and roach.  I continued to pick up fish quite regularly with the best fish being this perch shown below.  You can always tell if me or my uncle are catching when you are not in eyesight as we see very little of each other during the session as we are busy fishing.  The first hour was great and I thought we were all in for a bumper return to the river.

The church bells in the distance signalled it was 8am and to be honest them bells stuck in my memory as not long after they stopped chiming the swim absolutely died completely on me and a swim that I could do no wrong in suddenly seemed devoid of fish.  My dad say next to me coincidently went through the same phenomenon as myself so this basically ruled out a hungry pike lurking in the depths of my swim.

Not long after this I could hear the crunching of grass under foot as my uncle made his way along the bank to see how we were getting on and before I could explain what had happened he went on to take the words right out of my mouth, he had also had a good hour and then all of a sudden nothing.

We soldiered on till 12 noon and between us we picked up around 10 fish with none worth writing home about and we decided there and then to make a move onto a small pond on the way back to Runcorn.  In the intervening hours we tried all manner of tricks to catch, alternating line, depth and feeding to no avail.   As we were packing away the rivers level rose significantly and it took me by surprise as I really had not been expecting it, luckily we were above the rising level and all was fine but for once I fell foul of my own rule and hadn’t checked the levels before we set off.

Had I checked the levels I would have noticed there had been some really high tides throughout the week and this instantly would have seen me trying a more reliable section of river with more of a slack I could have fished as this was undoubtedly where the fish had moved to as the level rose.

Afternoon session

When I am driving in and around my local area I am always on the lookout for new ponds, lakes etc  and when I find one I do my homework to see who has the fishing rights to it and what fish are in it, most of the time the answer is no club own it and it has a natural stock of fish.  Places like this are a god send when times are tough elsewhere and like in last weeks update this pond we visited on the way home is a pond I have passed time and time again but never fished, that was about to change today, what did it hold? If anything, a box full of maggots would surely find out the answer.

As you can see my uncles swim was a far cry from the pruned banks of any commercial with the pegs being nothing more than a door thrown on top of a gap in the reeds.   The bottom looked to be carpeted in weed and the water was crystal clear revealing the water to be no more than 3 feet deep in the middle.  I started off fishing into open water spraying maggots little and often whilst fishing the pole using a homemade polystyrene ball to indicate any bits, as I was fishing the pole there was no need for any weight on the line.  This method is as deadly as they come for catching fish in the summer because it allows the bait to fall naturally through the water, if the fish are there you will catch them and once you get them going it can be a fish a chuck.

Fishing the open water was painfully slow with no action at all so I moved my line to right off the reeds and it instantly brought a bite from a shy Rudd.  One fish turned to two on the next put in and within 10 minutes I was into a rhythm of feeding, shipping out and striking into a fish.  The rudd where not of any major size but the float was going under and that’s all I was bothered about after the tough morning on the river.  A typical rudd is shown below.

My uncle had also sussed out that against the reeds was the place to be for bites and was also getting regular bites off the reeds to his right.  This place could hold some real specimen Rudd judging by the swirls we saw on the day and judging by the fry scarpering in the margins there may be the odd good carnivorous perch living in this weedy pond.  My theory is with the water being so clear and shallow it is very open to predation from herons and maybe even the odd cormorant so the fish stick in and around the cover provided by the reeds.

The fishing was so manic I took a break to give my arm a rest hehe and went to visit my uncle on his peg, while I was there our attention was grabbed by a buzzard trying to raid a nest on top of a pylon to our right.  The buzzard was trying its hardest to get into their nest for a good 10 minutes with the smaller birds constantly dive bombing the buzzard trying really hard to keep the bigger buzzard from landing.  As you can see on the video below the buzzard manages to land and had in fact won but the perseverance of the smaller birds eventually made the buzzard move on and they gave her a right telling off on her way.

Back to the fishing and by the end of the few hours we had we had a really impressive net of fish between us and although there was nothing major in the catches it saved a bad day on the river and is a venue I will be keeping in mind for future visits as it has got potential.

The plan for this weekend is to get back on the river and hope that with the tides reducing we may get into some consistent sport, if not,  next week’s update may leave you with a real sense of déjà vu.

Till next time I wish you all

Tight lines


Sunday, 16 September 2012

A New Pond with Unknown Potential..............

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and so much has happened since my last proper update.  Sadly it isn’t all good news with yet another major pollution incident hitting the headlines with the local River Weaver suffering a total fish kill which at the time was reported to be due to a pollution entering the system but was later confirmed as being down to a drop in oxygen levels.   This wasn’t the only location to suffer a fish loss due to this reason with the sankey canal “square” in Widnes suffering the same fate over an especially warm weekend which saw oxygen levels also crash in this location.

The sad thing is the fish kill in this second location could have been averted as the fish should not have been in this location in the first place and have been transferred when caught from the adjacent Sankey Canal, maybe the individuals that did this thought the carp would be easier to catch in a smaller more confined space, which is probably true as there would be little food in the square to sustain a number of carp, ultimately though with so little water these fish where always at risk of a algae bloom wiping them out, hopefully lessons will have been learnt.

The imminent arrival of our little girl meant our trips leading up to her birth had to be easily accessible and local to home so I could get back and be contacted easily.  This meant our forays into the more obscure out of the way stretches of the dee where out of the question so we kept our trips to the dee centralised around the Chester area, more on these trips in future updates.

"New pond with Unknown Potential"

Whilst speaking to my uncle he mentioned a pond he had been told about that contained some really old looing wild carp and we made plans to visit it the following weekend. 

We arrived at the pool around 10am, a lot later than I like to arrive on the bank as I feel I have missed the best part of the day.  The information on other species in the pool was sketchy at best but knowing how these farmers ponds are normally stocked my guessing was it would contain a decent amount of silvers as well as the carp.

We all settled on our chosen pegs and I chose to fish the pole on a blue hydro elastic and fished really light with a 3lb main line going down to a 1lb1oz hook length with a size 20 animal hook.  The bait I chose to go with was maggot and castor on the hook at I fed hemp seed as a bait to attract and hold the fish in the swim.  I knew the decision to fish light would put me in a difficult situation should I connect with one of the carp but I knew it would see me landing a lot more silvers during the day and not bump the smaller fish.

The pool was alive with fish feeding on insects landing on the water’s surface so I made a quick rig change and replaced the normal pole float with a home-made poly ball float that only needs one number eight shot under the float to cock it and one half way down the line to help the bait get down to the bottom this way I had a fair chance of catching fish on the drop and also on the bottom and one other advantage of the poly ball is it makes hardly and disturbance on the surface to spook the fish up in the water.

The day was one of those sessions where I started off catching small fish and the swim just went from strength to strength throughout the session with the better fish moving in when the bites died off from the silvers.  My uncle was first to land one of the carp which came early on in the session for him but me I was personally impressed with the standard of some of the roach this pool held.

I went on to catch three of these beautiful carp during the session and what made it even more sweeter was that in these boilie, pellet and glug filled times these old looking carp fell to the simplest, most humble bait of them all, the maggot.

During the day both myself, my dad and my uncle took many roach, rudd and perch from the pond and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  These type of ponds always take me back to my childhood when me and my dad used to walk to a local pond to catch the same type of fish as is in this blog update.  As I have said before in my blog fishing is so much more than catching fish it’s an activity that brings people closer together and creates memories that live with people for their whole lives, just ask any angler who started very young I bet the majority have many stories of trips to the water’s edge with their fathers, magical stuff and even now all these years on I never take a single session to the water’s edge for granted with my dad.

Our final nets on the day where quite impressive for such a small water.

My net

Uncle net

This pond is so magical I decided to convince my younger brother to join me on a fishing trip recently and eventually managed to get him to have a go, this was a feat in itself as anyone who knows him knows how little interest he has in angling so it was a great surprise to me to see how much he enjoyed it and I look forward to our next trip out mate!!.

I decided to have a little mess with the carp picture while I had a few free minutes recently and don’t think the colour change come out too bad and really brings out the deep purples and vibrant yellows in these very old strain of carp.


I leave you all with this picture of our little baby girl Abigail proving my blog really does send people to sleep J

Till next time I wish you all

Tight lines


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sometimes life takes over.........

It has been far too long since my last update on the blog and it has been for good reason, on Saturday 01st September 2012 both mine and my fiance's life changed forever as we welcomed the arrival of our little baby girl, Abbigail into the world.  She arrived at 10.50am and weighed in at 7lb 13oz and both mother and baby are doing great!!!

I did manage to get out on the bank the past 3 weeks leading up to the birth but have found finding extra time to write about these trips very hard to find.  These trips will not go to waste though as it will buy me the odd week here and there where i wont be able to get out on the bank.

I have also noticed a few emails in the Blog inbox on Hotmail and I will be looking at clearing those and getting reply's sent out in the next day or so, thank you for your patience and understanding and I am aware one or two are a week or so old.

Just a quick update guys and normal service will be resumed shortly and at least one of the venues i visited before the birth was a new venue in pursuit of some wild carp so worth waiting for.

till next time

tight lines guys.

Danny and Family :-)