Monday, 24 December 2012

A Saturated December and A Merry Christmas!!!

A Warm festive welcome to this week’s angling blog update and I hope I find you all safe and well and prepared for the festivities ahead.  This is our first Christmas as parents and although our little girl will know nothing at all about it this year it has been a joy to experience what Christmas is like as a parent and our only hope is we can make Christmas as magical as our parents made it for us.

One place we did visit recently was the Christmas markets in Manchester and I have to say I recommend it to anyone, the smell,  the atmosphere, the food and of course the beer all come together to make these markets a truly magical place to be at Christmas time and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will certainly be going again next year!!.

On to a quick update on Decembers fishing
December from an angling point of view has really been a none event, the rivers have been out of their banks more than they have been in them and even now most of the UK is still suffering from the none stop rain we seem to be receiving.   The weekend before last was really a angling trip to forget, we travelled out to the river Dee with a view of at least trying one of the slacks to see if we could at least find a fish or two.  What met us was a river barely in its banks and running through like chocolate.

We decided to give it a few hours in a slack we knew was over soft ground but unfortunately failed to entice and bites and with a high tide forecast to hit around midday we decided to head for a small river on the way home called the River Gowy that we hoped would be a little bit more agreeable due to its normal slow flow.

The river gowy when we arrived at Mickle Trafford was a raging torrent and was running through fast and coloured and was totally unfishable in its current state.  Luckily this river is on the way home so no petrol or time was wasted stopping off at this venue.  A quick chat and we decided to stop off on the Trent and Mersey Canal to try for a pike or two but was not only met with a froaen solid canal but also with it holding a terrible colour and half of it being drained of water due to the catastrophic collapse of the bank when we had the last bout of rain a few weeks ago.

This just topped off a truly awful days, well fishing would be the wrong word for it I think, day out is more apt lol. 

This weekends trip

The rain continued to fall all through the week and the river never really recovered to stage where it was anywhere near fishable and by the weekend it was out of its banks again and flooding the surrounding fields no doubt.  With all the rivers in the area in the same predicament we decided to put our faith in a still water.

Arriving at my uncles the weather was already awful with heavy rain falling and the wind howling down his street, it was far from the warm mornings we had experienced earlier on in the year.  With the temperatures a sweltering 9oc we decided to put our faith in Cicily mill.

Arriving at cicily mill we were met with a completely flooded car park and all the pegs around the lake under water.  We had a quick look around the outskirts of the mill but it was clear that it was going to be hard to find an area we could fish.  With the pegs being made from wood and noting underneath them we had to put the safetly of the fish first, had we hit a carp there would have been no way of stopping the carp going straight under the peg leaving us no angle to control the fish so we decided to stop off at Statham pool on the way home to see if it was fishable before settling on Ackers pit if it wasn’t.

Statham pool was in a dangerous state with it being completely flooded to the point you could see none of the pegs and there was only a few feet of the path down to the pegs visible, again not only unfishable but actually dangerous.  We knew Ackers pit had a dam at one end that would mean the level here would be controlled so we set off to the urban pool that is ackers pit.

We set up on ackers pit in a gap in the rain but it wasn’t long before it returned with a vengeance as the video above shows.  I knew from the reports on Franks Column that there had been a few decent roach coming out of here recently and as always we knew of the great head of carp it held.  We were due back home at 2pm so we only had a few hours to endure the rain for so we set about our task, both on the pole and both fishing 4 sections to help us keep control in the strong wind.

It was lovely to be joined on the bank by a family of swans, there was a time when they were a weekly feature on the blog, and was great to see a family swans doing so well.  The fishing was slow but with us both on castor we knew it would be worth the wait.  My uncle was first to get into some fish catching some fin perfect roach and to a decent stamp as well as the one below showed.  These proved to be a common catch for my uncle during our short session and had keep nets been allowed would have made a great photo.

My peg was fishing noticeably slower than my uncles and it was a while before I connected with my first fish of the session, a small roach.  The small roach continued to come for me until the peg completely died, yet my uncle was still catching, it left me scratching my head as to what to do.  I increased my feeding by using the catapult rather than the kinder pot and soon latched into a fish that was of a better stamp, at first I thought it was a small carp, a catch I would have been glad of given the bad conditions but no it proved to be much better than that, a perch!! And a nice one to boot, I was made up, no record breaker but it lit up a damp day on the bank.

That was it for us both with regards to better fish and 2pm soon swung round and it was time to pack away.  We will certainly be returning to this venue if the rivers continue to be high and will almost certainly be going here in the closed season.  The conditions made presentation hard and with no ledgering allowed as an option to counter this we feel if the conditions were a bit calmer we could do really well on this venue and it was great to see a Warrington still water with some decent roach in it, although the perch did bear the scars or a recent battle with a heron or cormorant.

Well that’s another year done and it will soon be the blogs second anniversary, how time flies eh.

Till next time I wish you all a Very merry Christmas, Matt Hayes is on Discovery shed 24/7 today so I am off to do my best to instil fishing into her head!!

Tight lines


Friday, 14 December 2012

Below "Par" trip to the recently "stocked" River Wyre

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This week’s blog update is being written on a pretty unique date as believe it or not the 12.12.12 is the last repetitive date we are all likely to see, depressing or what!! But not as depressing as the “grueller” of a session me and my uncle suffered this weekend on the River Wyre.  On a much chirpier note it surprised me this week that the blog is almost reaching the 50,000 views mark, when I started this blog just under two years ago I never ever thought it would attract so much attention and influence so many people lives, it has given me a chance to meet and discuss all things angling with so many people.   A while ago I set up a twitter account for the blog that now has 599 followers and also a face book page what currently has 41 people liking it. If you are on any of these social media sites you can follow the blog on the following links:

River dee level

Friday morning arrived and all was not looking good when I checked the EA levels above for the river Dee, the river was rising and rising at quite a Sharp rate indeed and by the two o’clock update my worst fears were realised as the rivers level was well over the acceptable higher range of 6.5m at a heady 7.4m, any chances of fishing the river disappeared there and then.

Having not wet a line the previous weekend due to the river being in full flood we were itching to get our river fix and we considered a few rivers from fishing the small river dee on the feeder to fishing the tiny River Gowy at mickle Trafford.

River wyre

It was late on Friday night whilst mooching on the internet at other river water levels I checked the river wyre in Churchtown.  This river is a spate river and unlike the Dee it only takes a few hours to fine off from a full flood so by the following morning it would only be a foot or so above its normal level.  When on a river you always have to have safety in mind but with a spate river like thi its even more important to be careful on the bank and also do your homework on the weather forcast as these spate rivers can rise really fast and a flash flood is a real possibility as the EA level chart shows above, the river can rise a few metres in only a few hours.

Reading between the countless carp stockings on Frank column I found out the EA had stocked this venue recently with 2000 chublets which had me full of optimism as it was only around a month ago but investigating further I found the reason for this was that a seal had been in the river system for around 2 months, being so close to the sea I imagine the water is quite brackish which allowed it to survive there.  What effect this seal could have on the fish populations it is impossible to report on but I can’t imagine one seal could do catastrophic damage to stretches and stretches of river like was being suggested on some websites I visited.

We set off nice and early on our journey up the M6 motorway to allow us to arrive at the river just after first light.  The temperature monitor in the car dropped lower and lower the further up the country we went from a warm 1oc as we left home to a chilling -2 as we drove through Churchtown to the river, it amazed me to see such a difference, all the cars were frozen solid and the ground was blanketed in a white frost.

We parked up in the church carp park and made our way to the river bank and I don’t think I have ever has such an chilling walk to a river bank ever both in temperature and atmosphere we walked through a graveyard as the first rays of daylight shone in the distance.  The walk to the river was quite short compared to some of our treks on the Dee but this certainly had a variety of obstacles to navigate along its short path such as a sty and a rather rickety wooden bridge seen in the picture below.

Arriving on the banks of the river she looked perfect with plenty of swims that just cried out fish just over the bridge and we quickly settled in two swims that both had features in them that we thought would hold fish in the form of a submerged tree.  As mentioned above safety was always in the back of our minds so the majority of our gear was left at the top of the bank with only the bare essentials being taken to the waters edge.

Looking at the ground it became apparent we weren’t the first to grace these banks on this fine morning as the tracks below from a fox show, these tracks had to be recent as these area would have been under water the previous day and with it being sand any tracks would have been washed away.  Further upstream I did see some really small tracks in the sand right along the side the river, the owner of these showed themselves late on in the day.

With a nice trotting depth we were confident of catching and having drip fed the swim whilst setting up we were confident, the river was perfect and not a breath of wind it was a trotting dream.  Well the first hour went by as did the second and we were well on towards the third without so much as a stretched maggot, zilch, nothing!, a change of swim was in order.

The second swim I tried was right at the top of the stretch, where I was reliably informed the chub had been stocked, between our stretch and St Micheals, personally and I stress this is only my personal opinion here I cannot see the EA picking this point to release fish as for one there is zero access to the river and two its banks were really steep, does make you question whether the information on this stocking was reliable.

The swim was really deep, around 10ft I would guess and like the previous swim was a dream to trot as it had a steady pace and depth to it, but alas another two biteless hours passed me by in this swim, 2000 chublets?? Not to mention the fish that should be resident in such a river, it had me really scratching my head.

We then settled into the third swim which allowed me to actually trot along some sunken trees andi decided it was time to try a bigger bait so I moved over to bread flake hoping that if there was a big chub under there it might be lured out by a bigger bait, it didn’t work.

It was while in this swim the owner of the small prints sowed itself as a mink appeared upstream form us and made its way down stream right in front of us, bold as brass he was.


The weird thing about this swim was it was absolutely littered with golf balls of all things and ou can imagine my reaction as my uncle returned from stretching his legs with this tidy collection, tiger woods eat your heart out.

We persevered with the swim for the rest of the afternoon trotting down and even tried a more static bait approach on my feeder with no success and at around 3pm as the rain moved in we made our way back to the car, perplexed how such a nice looking river could be so bad.

On our way back we passed a house that every angler dreams of, right next to the river!!

In reflection on the trip I have to say I was really disappointed with it, the reports form every dog walker on the bank was that they rarely see an angler on the banks of this part of the river.  It shocked me that a river so perfect could be so devoid of fish.  I know every river has its off days but you expect to catch something, even if it was a minnow or a few small dace.  I am not a big headed angler, far from it, but I and my uncle are not bad anglers we know how to fish and it leaves you mystified.   

Looking at the bigger picture it was better to find out now how poor this river is on a trip where the Dee was unfishable rather than wasting a day where we could have had a few bites on a perfect river dee.  It also makes me look again at whether this card is really worth it for me any more, will waters like this ever see any investment from the club? Us river anglers read every week about carp going into every carp pool the club own, will they ever get round to stocking the rivers because this river at the moment is not worth the money they pay to lease it.  Two 27lb carp went into a pool this week to add to the countless other carp that keep getting stocked, makes you thing how many silver fish just one of them carp could buy that could transform a location like this that is just crying out for an injection of life.

I have nothing against the stocking of carp for that side of the club i think its great to see the investment in stocks but i think it is about time some of the River anglers on the card found their voices and questioning why in the past 4 years there has been zero investment into this branch of the club, barring a few wooden pegs on the Dane and a few materials to fix the path.

Till next week

Tight lines