Friday, 29 March 2013

Angling Gazette Recognition and Dannys wild Side

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and this week it comes with a bit of a difference as it will be an update that will not feature any angling from this week as basically the put it bluntly there hasn’t been any hehe.  Last weekend the country was thick with snow and all the venues locally where cased in a layer of ice.  The conditions we were faced with on the morning of the planned trip just meant it wasn’t worth the risk to even make the journey to pick my uncle up given the gradient of the hill at his house.  I did think whether it was worth doing a blog update this week but I think it does no harm to keep in the routine and also it gives me an opportunity to devote a small update to a side of myself I try to portray in my angling updates but find it hard to do well given the nature of the fishing I do and that is my love of wildlife.  So in this update I hope to show you some of the different ways I feed my love of both British and wildlife form around the world.


Before me move onto the meat and bones of this update it is with great pride I share with you that the blog made the top 10 blogs list for march 2013 on the Angling Gazette Website.  The piece they wrote about the blog was really nice and although I don’t see writing this blog as anything more than an add on to my fishing it really moved me to read someone else saying such nice things about a blog I write and it really did mean a lot to myself.  Thank you so much to Angling Gazette for picking my blog out for recognition and congratulations to all the other blogs on that list.

Here is the write up it received:
We absolutely love this blog. On it you can follow the exploits of Danny, his dad and his uncle as they go on fishing trips around the north west of England. They catch everything from Dace to Carp and have some brilliant images of the river Dee in the gallery. This site captures the true spirit of blogging and we can see why Danny’s blog has had over 67,000 views
And here is a link to the page on their website where you can view all the other blogs represented in the March 2013 list:

I would also like the thank the people who run the Twitter account at Angling Gazette for their promotion of all Amateur Blogs as they regularly Retweet blog update Tweets from the many blogs on the internet and I would like to say a big thank you too them for taking the time to do this.

Chester Zoo Trip 2013

Chester Zoo is a place I have visited every year of my life, even as a kid it was a once a year trip during the summer holidays to this place.  It was a place that allowed me to see the all the animals I was watching on David Attenborough’s Wildlife on One in the flesh and has always been a place that has captured my imagination and still continues to do so.  

As many of you will know last Wednesday last week was budget day and it was also a strike day for many civil servants across the country.  Many of the long term followers of the blog will remember I went fishing on the one a year or so back but this year with a family your plans and thinking change and a day off from work that coincided with my partners day free day was only going to mean one thing in my eyes and that was a family day out to Chester zoo.  At this time of year you miss the hustle and bustle that goes with the summer trips where you can barely move and spend any amount of time looking at the animals before feeling you are ruining someone else view or taking too much time.  At this time of year most of the animals are out and about and it is quiet enough for you to spend a decent amount of time looking at the animals in peace.  This year has been a extraordinary year at the zoo with so many babies being born with the Rhinos, elephants and giraffes being the main attractions.

Here are a few of the pictures we took on the day.

One thing I love about Chester Zoo is how they reinvest the money back into to Zoo, each year there is something new opening and it is always great to see how they also put money back into conservation of endangered species both in captive breeding programmes and in the wild, a truly remarkable place to visit and one I hold many fond memories of and highly recommend.

Dyfi Osprey Project

Towards the end of last year a good friend of mine in work opened my eyes to the magnificent world of the Dyfi osprey Project and its pair of breeding Ospreys, Monty and Nora.  When I was introduced to this Facebook page last year it was coming towards the end of their breeding cycle and the birds and their young were just about ready to migrate back to Africa but those last few weeks I spent watching the lives of these magnificent birds stole a place in my heart and from the moment they migrated I longed for their return and I am pleased to say they are due back any time soon and I cannot wait to experience a whole breeding season with this lovely birds.

If you are on Facebook you can keep up with this project on the following link:

They also have a website here:

I hope you will enjoy checking out my new found friends and get as much enjoyment from this as I will this year.

Nottingham University Peregrine Falcons

Again introduced to me by the same good friend in work and this one is a new one this year for me and is a webcam set up by Nottingham University to watch a pair of falcons that call the rooftops of this university home.  This, as I said, is a new one for me this season and I am really looking forward to having an insight into the nest of what is in my eyes the greatest of all birds of prey.

Falconry in the blood

As you can probably tell I hold a special place for birds of prey and I was fortunate enough to have been bought a falconry experience day by my mum and dad for my 21st birthday.  I was really apprehensive about the day but it really was a special day and I couldn’t thank my mum and dad enough for their thoughtful gift.  I went to Cheshire Falconry for this day experience and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.  If getting close to these birds or even flying them is something you think you would like to do then I really recommend this place.

Any that is that for this week’s update I am sorry it wasn’t the normal update I write but it is an update I have wanted to cover for some time now and this gap in the fishing gave me a little gap to put this together I hoped you liked it and I hope if you are out on the bank this weekend then it’s a huge

Tight lines


Friday, 22 March 2013

Flushing Meadows Silvers Go Mad For Punch

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and we now have officially moved silently into the closed river season so we now have 3 months of purely pond, pit and lake fishing ahead and as always I aim to fish as many new venues in this period as possible but for the first few weeks it will be all about easing ourselves back into the slow more relaxed world of still waters.  I touched last week on my aims for reintroducing some more fun into my fishing and that started this week in earnest with a roach fishing trip to Flushing meadows with only some liquidised bread and some sweetcorn with a backup plan of a pint of white maggots as bait.

The baiting up for carp has been on hold for last week and a half as the sub-zero temperatures saw the venue capped with a nice solid helmet of ice, spring keeps on threatening to take over and although the mornings are still freezing there are definite signs during the day that spring is taking a slow hold, most noticeable is that the sun has a warmth to it that it has lacked the past months and of course the wildlife gives us our biggest clue with the local magpies to where I work busy rebuilding their nest from last year, not that I spend my days gazing out of the window of course hehe J

An update on the licence front and good news is we have there or there about decided on what we are doing for the coming year I would say we are about 90% certain now to keep the Warrington Anglers Card although we will not be purchasing it till next month which fits in nicely as it will give us a chance to see what mighty plans this club has for the coming year when the AGM is held this week and who knows they may shock us all and decide to invest a penny or two in the river arm of the club but I will not be holding my breath on it.  I also wonder if we will get any information on the rumours going around that Warrington Anglers have put a bid in to purchase Brookside Fisheries.

 We have also all but decided on purchasing another card with a club not so local but it is a club that does seem to invest in its Rivers as much as its still waters, it is a club that only recently purchased a decent stretch of river with very good access to a really large stretch of river that when I read up on it generally fishes all year round and also is a river that offers me some diversity as I can target a species I have only sparred with on the River Dee and that species is the prince of the river the Barbel.

The barbel is slowly becoming more established on the river dee with reports coming in regular of captures of this species from places they were not being caught from before so they are certainly starting to populate this river all along its course but it will be a long time before the Dee is known as a barbel river as opposed to the river on this new card we are looking at which is known for its barbel and of course chub.  It is a card that if I am truly honest fills me with excitement when I think about exploring its waters, not only its rivers but some of its still waters look beautiful as well.  I will go more into this card in a future update but suffice to say if we do get it I feel there will be some incredible adventures awaiting us.

A final point I would like to mention before we go into this week’s update is the incredible milestone the blog’s twitter reached on Monday evening when it passed 1,000 followers, thank you too all the people that have arrived on this blog from Twitter and to all the people I have met on there who have helped me out at one time or another with Re-tweets and just being genuine decent people to speak too, there is no need to publically name these people, they know who they are because they regularly fill my personal feed with their feedback and re-tweets, thank you to you all.  Incidentally if you are interested in following the blog on twitter you can use the link on the right hand side bar of the blog or you can simply follow @SATONMYPERCH on Twitter.

On to this weeks fishing

Flushing Meadows Silvers Go Mad For Punch

   Week one of the closed season had arrived and with no club card under our belt our fishing venue choices were severely limited indeed, in fact it came down to just two venues in flushing meadows or a local pond we knew held a few beautifully marked carp and a good head of silvers.

We chose to go with flushing meadows as the whole week before we had some severe frosts that had seen the local waterways freeze over.  My uncle popped in on the small pond on Thursday and found it to be froze and with a rise in temperatures due overnight on Friday it only meant one thing and that was the ice would thaw and we all know there is no tougher conditions tp fish a natural pond than just after a thaw.

We decided to go with flushing meadows fishery in the end and the balance was tipped by the sheer stocking density of this venue it holds so many fish that it adheres to none of the basic rules of fishing we know and have learned through our angling career, no matter where you fish you are almost guaranteed to have large density of fish in front of you.   These type of highly stocked fisheries are great in my eyes for getting youngsters into fishing by keeping that float going under and also for the more experienced angler they offer an easier days fishing where you can practice new techniques and have a bit of fun trying tactics and baits you would not normally try out.

I firmly believe you could crack the ice on this venue and still have a bite a chuck on maggot it is that hungry of a venue.  The only thing that I feel lets it down is the fact you are not allowed to use a keep net as I always feel a session is missing something when you can’t look back at the end of the session at your net.

Bait for the session would be a whole loaf of cheap as chips ASDA bread liquidised, a few slices of bread for hook baits, some frozen sweetcorn and around half a pint of maggots as a cushion to fall back on should the other baits not produce.

Arriving at the bank I added some water to the liquidised bread and sprinkled in some corn into the mix which I left on the stiff side as I wanted it to go to the bottom and then break up.  if you look closely at the picture below you will notice I left the crusts on the bread and it is also a lot more roughly liquidised than you would do for a pond of canal session and this was on purpose as there is also a large population of carp in these pools and if I could spark a few of these into life I wanted something substantial to hold them in the swim for longer.

I used the largest punch I had in my box which I actually think was a meat punch given as a freebie on the front of the Angling Times a few weeks ago, with so many small mouths to feed in this venue I wanted to try and cut the really really small silver fry out of the equation and just try and catch the better quality fish in the swim.  My chosen method was to fish the pole just down the inside ledge where I hoped to find the fish given the cold conditions we were fishing in.

My plan was simple, feed the swim little and often and see what came along throughout the session.  First put in and as predicted the fish where there waiting and at first I thought I had got it completely wrong as small roach after small roach took the bait as soon as the final shot registered on the float.  I upped the feed rate slightly and continued to persevere with the method and slowly but surely the better silver fish began to show including this nice roach below.

The more the swim built the better the quality of the fish and both me and my uncle quickly lost count at just how many fish we had caught but we both knew had we had a keep net in it would have dwarfed any of our river weights this year.  I have found on this venue the fishing can die as time moves on and I have learnt that if you deepen up and move further down the slope you again find the fish again and it can be a depth change as small as an inch that can see bites coming thick and fast again.  This change in depth saw me picking up skimmer bream  rather than the roach and rudd I had been catching.

The skmmers where obviously feeding hard in the swim as one after another they fell for the irresistible fluffy bread punch and eventually one or two of the better bream moved into the swim, nothing in the league of the bream from last year on here but certainly a more than visitor to my peg.

As the afternoon moved on I was joined by a really nice fella who it turned out regularly reads my angling blog and actually knew my uncle from fishing in years gone by, his love of angling was clear from the outset and I have to say it was a real pleasure to spend some time speaking to someone as passionate as he was about his fishing.  He knew most of the venues we fished and also gave us information on ones we planned too fish and if you are reading this update thank you so much for all your help and taking the time from your fishing to come over and chew the fat with me.

As the session moved on it became apparent that the carp where not going to make an appearance and just as I had resided to this fact I heard my uncles drag screaming next to me as he connected with what was almost certainly a carp it took line and was already on the other side of the pool when I looked over in my uncles direction and in that instance the hook pulled, this was the only fish either of us connected with in the whole session which in reality when I look out of the window right now at the snow blanketing the front of my house is understandable why these fish are still quite dormant.

All in all the trip to this venue served a purpose it got us back into the swing of pole fishing and served as a confidence builder for the tougher sessions ahead on the natural venues where our tactics will have to be more refined to catch.  The bites came thick and fast all day and I that float kept on going under which is what we pay our money for.

Looking forward to this weekend I feel we may have a weekend off from fishing it looks awful outside and although we are game to pursue our sport in any conditions it is never worth risk in the conditions currently outside my window, for one I don’t actually think I could get out of my street never mind negotiate the steep streets leading down to my uncles house.  We have already both decided we won’t be on the bank tomorrow but have not ruled out a afternoon session on Sunday and I would think in these conditions we will be heading again to flushing meadows and think I might fish a method I have not tried in some time now, the waggler.

Till next week I wish you all

Tight lines


Friday, 15 March 2013

Big Bags of Dace on River Dee To End River Seaon

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and I start with a huge thank you to all the people who gave last week’s product review post such great feedback, from Re-tweets on Twitter to some nice emails sent to the blogs email address, thank you all so much it really means a lot to receive feedback from regular readers of this blog.

What the future holds with regards more product reviews will be down to the companies involved but if nothing comes from this little venture I thoroughly enjoyed writing last week’s blog and any side ventures like this are always there as a luxury or little bonus for all the hard work I put into writing this blog.

This week’s trip to the bank was the last one of the River for us and I thought it would be good in this week’s introduction to look back over the last river season.  I set myself a target this season of having sessions purposely dedicated to targeting pike and I think I did quite well on this front considering the river was rarely at a steady level for more than a week at a time.  The sessions where I did get out for pike and targeted then I did have a few fish to double figures and the season really culminated for me in that pike in the snow.

Trotting is always my passion on the rivers and with the river being flooded for so many weeks it was always going to take pole position once the river dropped to a near normal level and hence the last few weeks of the season the pike fishing took a bit of a back seat towards the end of the season, had the winter not been so wet my plan was to get my fix of dace fishing out of the way in preparation of targeting the pike in February and march when the fish are fattening up in preparation for spawning, this just serves as a reminder that we can make the best of plans but we are ultimately in the hands of mother nature and the end of the day.

A Positive to take from this season, a season I think we did well to get in so much fishing, was us discovering pastures new in our few trips to the River Ribble, a destination that will live long in the memory with the capture by my uncle of that massive 1lb 3oz dace.  This river really captured both mine and my uncle’s interest after our first session it was hard fishing and we worked for every bite but boy was it exciting and a breath of fresh air from the sometimes predictable nets of dace on the River Dee and there will certainly be more of this river to come next season. 

The fish of the season for me would have to be the perch in the snow from the River Dee, just the day itself with the capture of that perch and the two pike on the way home just topped that session off for me but that perch will live long in the memory for myself and has opened up a whole new avenue of exploration for next winter as I really fancy a session dedicated to targeting these tenacious sergeants.

The next three months are always a time I look forward to being on the bank as I love seeing the world around me wake up from its winter slumber and I also can’t wait to welcome our feathered summer visitors back to our shores in the coming months not to mention the return of those long warm evenings after work as the evenings lengthen chasing tench and carp.  I think there is one thing I want to reintroduce into my fishing this year and that is fun, over the past year I feel I have been in an intense frame of mind on the bank, eager to learn new methods and techniques and develop them to a standard I am happy with and I think this year it’s time to get back to the real reason I fell in love with fishing and that’s the fun and excitement of being on the bank so I can see me mixing it up a bit in the coming months on the bank, maybe blow the cobwebs off my centre-pin and have some fun with that or spend some time targeting carp off the top like I used to do as a kid.  My mind really does go into over time thinking about ideas of what I can do, I just hope mother nature is on my side this year.

Tight lines to all if you either changing over from winter to summer fishing or just blowing the dust of your rods from last summer’s campaign, tight lines and the best of fishes for the coming months, I am off to watch a fish for all seasons by Martin Bowler, a great way to get into spring mode, before writing the rest of this update tomorrow.

On to this week’s adventure:-

The end of the river season? Surely not!!
The end of a gruelling river season had arrived and with it our last chance to trot a float on running water for 3 long months we had only one destination in mind and that was the River Dee, a destination we had spent far too little time on during the course of the year but one that now was in perfect condition for a decent bag of dace.
Fishing on Saturday was chalked off due to a family commitment but whilst enjoying the delights of a pint of lager me and my uncle studied how the river was looking and we both agreed she would be just about perfect when we planned to visit the next day.
The last weekend of the season mixed with how good the river was looking we decided to take no chances in not getting prime position so the alarm clock was set for a ridicules time; all I can say is it was a time that makes it very hard to convince doubters of our mental state of mind wrong! Either way effort this time would surely equal success, well at least we hoped.
Turning the penultimate bend before the stretch and the excitement of not knowing what pegs are free was tangible, would we get a decent peg or would we be left settling for a less fancied area?  I have learned from past disappointments not to let myself even think of fishing a certain peg but you never lose that feeling of knowing where you would like to be.
Creeping slowly round last endless corner I strained my neck slightly trying to make out the faint outlines of cars or bivvys on the bank but low and behold my full beam headlights revealed the whole stretch to be derelict, devoid, absent of anything resembling an angler, Result we thought as we parked up in the areas we wanted to fish.
The dusk till dawn lamp out it was time to get the gear unloaded on on the pegs ready for the session ahead and with a good amount of time till even the most enthusiastic of birds began to clear its throat we had plenty of time to make sure we were set up perfectly, this lamp really has saved us loads of time on the bank.
Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity will know my set up by now for trotting so I won’t go into it again apart from mentioning I decided to go with the 3 gram Dave Harell Bolo over a stick float.  I would say at this point I went with my 17ft rod to give it one final outing for a few months but I have plans to use this rod on a deep pond on the WAA card in the coming weeks.
The dawn began to break and it revealed the river to be in perfect condition, she was flat calm without a breath of wind and was carrying a few feet of water with a tinge of colour but not enough for us to be reaching for the feeder rod.  The conditions were far from ideal though as a icy chill had moved in the valley and with it a smattering a snow than would unfortunately be with us the whole day long

The first cast of the morning is always a special moment in branch of our sport but few branches of our sport is the first cast met with such instant results as the final shot had only just registered as the float zipped under and the first dace of the session graced the palm of my hand and what a pretty sight it was and I remember thinking to myself to make the most of every minute of this session.

The session was a cracker from the off and even the on off snow could not dampen my enthusiasm the fish were there and there in numbers and I was determined to learn from last week and be prepared for the midday lull when the tide came in.  The fish at first where like the one above around the 2-4oz mark and smaller but I wasn’t too bothered as that float was still going under and to me that was all that mattered.  I continued to drip feed the swim and the better fish settled in over my bait and it was during the early stages of the better fish moving I landed one of the most stunning dace I have ever caught, it really was fin perfect, scales like pearls and a fins that went from dark purple to clear at the tips it really was a pleasure to catch this dace.

The action continued to be consistent and the general standard was upheld with the odd splattering of “eyes” but by dinnertime I had no room to complain at all and was more than made up with my efforts.  It was not long after visiting my uncles peg around dinner time that the peg started to change, the bites where coming further and further down the peg and where all over the place instead of in the place I had been getting them all morning, something was aria and I knew exactly what it was, a pike.  Two or three dace came in the space of around half an hour as the peg ground to a halt and then it happened I struck and was met with solid resistance as a large fish swam upstream and held deep, there was that few moments where the pike just thinks its swimming off with its lunch but doesn’t quite know why it can’t move off as smoothly as it would like.

The battle went on for around 5 minutes and I eventually managed to get the fish up near the top and caught a glimpse of it and I estimate it to be around the 5lb mark and with one flip of its tail it made a lunge for the depths and with it my hook came flying back at me. I was more gutted about the fact it had covered my whole swim on its foray for freedom  than I was about losing a jack pike and I knew I was basically back at square one and would have to feed the swim back up again. 

The dace being temporarily moved out seemed to make room for some different species to move in and the first fish I connected with after the pike went was a nice grayling shown above. The grayling was a welcome and refreshing change to the precession of dace I had caught in the morning but unfortunately this grayling was the only diversion away from the dace for the rest of the day, not that I am complaining.

The swim began to again build slowly with smaller dace at first and then the better fish moved in but in all it took a long time for the bigger dace to build their confidence and move into the swim in any numbers.  My uncle fishing the peg just up form me had took a bit longer to get them going but was more than making up for lost time and was caught regular through the whole day on both his trotting line and under his feet.

We both continued to catch steady and was both still catching when we decided to call it a day at 3pm, it was always the plan to pack in at this time to get back for the football but I must admit had I known how close I was to 20lb I would have carried on for another 15 minutes.

It came to the time for us to see what we had caught, we both knew we had caught well and had a very good net and in my head I thought my uncle had piped me because he had caught so steady all day.

My uncle weighed in first and his net look colossal I was certain he had battered me on the scales as they went round to 16lb 9oz.

My turn and as I pulled my net out of the water I was shocked at the weight at what I had caught it was, for me, no matter what the weight a net I was going to be proud of.

The scales went round to an astonishing 19lb 10oz!! I must admit I had to check it again as it was a  new personal best net from this location and I was over the moon.

We both agreed we had given the season a good send off and we packed up and left happy it could not have gone any better and with that we said goodbye to the most majestic of rivers for another 3 months and vowed to return enthusiastic as ever in June, hungry to search out new locations and the summer dace shoals.

Till next time I wish you all tight lines


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Sports Direct Dusk till Dawn Lamp Review and more relaxing on the Dee

A warm welcome to this week’s angling blog, a few weeks ago I was approached by Sports Direct to see if I was interested in reviewing some of their products on the list was a whole host of products to review but I decided to go with the product that I thought I could get the most use out of and also therefore write a relevant review about.  The product I decided to go with was the Dusk till Dawn Lamp.  I would just like to add here I receive no affiliation money from people purchasing this product from this review.

Dusk Till Dawn Bivvy Lamp Review

Product info:
The 18 LED Bivvy Lamp is ideal for all types of fishing. The Bivvy Lamp has a built in compass. Included are carrying handles that will fold down for storage. 

Fishing Bivvy Lamp 
> Low glo sleep feature 
> Dimmer switch 
> Takes 3 D batteries (not supplied) 
> 100,000 hours LED life 

Price:  £6.99

Check lamp out here:  fishing gear online

My Review

I purchase a lot of my fishing tackle online and have had my fair share of products arriving broken and late so one thing I find really important since this is how much care a company takes in making sure the item you have purchased reaches you in a perfect condition and in a quick as time as possible, I have to say the product was issued on a Wednesday and reached me on the Thursday afternoon and was very well packaged indeed. 

Once I opened the lamp the first thing that stood out to me was the look of the lamp, it looked really stylish with a nice metallic green smooth feel to the outside of the lamp.  The base of the lamp had a wide circumference which made sure the produce was sturdy when left on its base and this was only added too when the batteries where installed, all that was left was to test it out on the bank.

I gave myself 3 weeks to properly field test the product and the use I had it in mind for it was to walk the river bank when we normally arrive an hour or so before sunrise and also to use it to provide light for me to safely set up my peg and the ultimate test for it was to see if I could use it to thread up my rod in the dark in preparation for the day ahead.   I have to say the lamp surpassed my expectations on its highest setting it was great for looking at the pegs in the pitch dark both on the River Dee and River Ribble.  

The lamps handles fold up for carrying the lamp in hand where sturdy and for setting up my peg before sunrise.  When I put the lamp in the empty boot of my car it provided more than enough light for me to tie my hook lengths which I have to say at size 20 hook and 1lb 2oz mainline it was some feat for a product of this price and it also provided enough light for me to thread my 17ft rod up. The lamp does come with a compass on top of the lamp, for my fishing I did not find much use for this but I am sure anglers that take wind direction into account with their fishing will see this as a great feature to have.

In review, for the price it is a fantastic product that I wouldn’t be without now on the bank of a morning and it has saved me so much time setting up and as a result has meant me spending more time with a float in the river.

A link to what other fishing tackle Sports Direct have to offer is here : fishing gear online

On to this weeks fishing:

Stress Relieving Time On The Bank………..
Recently work has really been getting on top of me the enclosed artificial feel of an office was stifling and I could feel myself dragging my heels as I tried to make the short walk to work from my car as long as possible as to make the most of the sights and sounds of the birds going about their morning rituals, always the highlight of my day.  The remedy to this sickness was clear; I needed a day away from it all, a day on the bank, just me, the river and the wildlife so no sooner had my boss’s feet touched the maroon carpet of our office I was there making the arrangements for the following day, Friday, off work. 
A quick prayer to the angling gods and all I could do was wait for my reply, in my head I was there already trotting a small stick float down a clear river with its crystal clear reflections standing clear and proud uninterrupted by any unwelcome breeze, my day dream slumber came to an abrupt end as I received the email I had waited for, the answer was yes and with that a big thank you to the angling gods and with the found enthusiasm that comes with the countdown to a fishing trip I got about my work.
Its been a long time since I did two trips out in one week and I knew two full days trotting on the river would be too much and also I now had a family to think of so I limited my Friday session to just the early morning with a view to packing in around 1pm, just in time to pick my fiancĂ© up from work. 

The drive to the river had a weird eerie feeling to is as for two years now the seat next to me has always been occupied by either my Dad or my uncle, it was really weird trundling along the same roads with no one to chew the fat with or discuss what our expectations or tactics would be for the session ahead, it is not until you are in this situation you really realise how long it has been.
Waiting for first light I ditched the Smooth Fm radio station in favour of the dawn chorus and what a chorus it was with all the birds in full voice all playing their part in natures very own daily opera.  Lost in the moment I failed to notice the increasing light levels and I was soon rushing around getting ready for the mornings fishing ahead.  My 17ft float rod, 10 number 4 Dave Harrell stick float and my trust Abu 706 reel where all put into action as I settled into a swim that was alive with fish on the top, not exactly what I was hoping to see as my plan was to catch the fish on the bottom, I had a plan and it involved getting these fish where I wanted them.

In fishing you really do need to learn from your mistakes and a year ago I was presented with the same scenario as this, the fish where boiling on the top at the maggots as soon as they touched the water’s surface so I knew not to feed maggot at all and what I decided to do was to just feed hemp seed for the first hour.

This tactic saw a few bars of silver grace my palm but it was hardly prolific and the fish continued to gorge themselves on the delicacy’s being washed down to them by the flow.  I decided to have a change to a stick float and this gave me more control than the stick float and saw my catch rate increase considerably and I began to put quite a respectable net together.

As with all the times we go fishing my peace and tranquillity was soon broken by the sound of my phone alarm alerting me to the fact it was time to think about packing in and heading off to pick my partner up from work.  After far too many last casts I only had time to take a quick picture of the net and load the car before it was time to leave the tranquillity of the river behind for the fast paced world of a British motorway.  All in all it was a relaxing session on the bank and the perfect tonic to release the build-up of stress in work.

Session Two: Time to Explore a little but always know when to quit

Saturday morning came along and it was time to explore, on the river Dee the hot spots in winter are well known and because of this they are very busy, loud and frantic places and to be honest I can only fish them for one or two weeks at a time before I have to just get away from there as my soul craves the quietness and escapism that comes with being at the bottom of a frost laden farmers field with only the noise of the wildlife as a back drop.

Now it is very easy to keep going to these prolific stretches every week and bag up but as me and my uncle found last year you can just drop on an area that holds fish away from these areas and if you can locate these needles in the haystack they can be worth their weight in gold.  The plan for the day was ideally to catch fish in this location and stay there all day but we did have a contingency that had we now had a bight in the first 3 hours we would move to a more well-known area for the afternoon, just to get a bend in the rod.

Saturday  confirmed one thing to me, I need to start taking my better camera with me to the river bank, my iphone is great for taking point and shoot pictures but when it comes to anything that requires a bit of zoom I am lacking in a big way.  On Saturday I could hear a pair of woodpeckers in my area, one in front and one behind, whilst re-baiting my hook I saw a small movement across the river on the side of the tree, a quick second glance and it was my first ever sighting of a woodpecker in the wild!! Forget the fishing I thought as I laid the rod down on its rest and just watched this amazing creature go about its work, what a special moment and a moment that will live with me for a long time, if only I had a decent camera on me!!

In truth the fishing at this location was a none starter but I am so glad we went, the area just had a great feel to it and it has been a while since I have just downed tools and headed of for a walk with just me and my phone and I thoroughly enjoyed it from a nice sunrise to the first buds on the trees.

After returning to my peg and giving it a good couple of three hours without so much as a knock we decided to call it a day and spent the afternoon on a more prolific venue.  Arriving late we had only a handful of the less fancied swims to choose from and I was left with a swim that was not the best for trotting due to the fact it shallows up half way down the run.  This is where all the time spent throughout the year with the same make of float becomes important as any bites below the point where the river shallows up would not see the float go under but see the float act differently when I had a bite, it is hard to explain on paper but by knowing the float I could tell when I had fish on or not over the shallow ground.

In the short afternoon session I estimate I had around 6lb of dace from the swim which given the short amount of time fishing the swim and fact when we arrived the other anglers had a good 4 hours of baiting up ahead of us I was more than happy with my net.

I hope you enjoyed this update and the variety the product review brings to the table, it is not going to be an every week thing but I am sure it will add some variety to my blog.

Till next time I wish you all

Tight line


Friday, 1 March 2013

"One a Chuck" on the River Dee

A warm welcome to this week’s blog update and thank you to all the people who contacted me this week in support of my introduction to last week’s update, it came from the heart and was written at a time when my emotions where high about the subject.  A week on I am still upset about the loss of this water but with a river laden heavy with fish I am positive I will find new spots on the other venues I visit and with the loss of Almere which was a water I spent a fair deal of time on I will have more time to dedicate to other venues on the River Dee, both free and on the WAA card.

Another decision that has to be made in the coming months is the decision around what card we want to go with or should I say cards.  I am sure we will decide to give the Warrington Anglers Card one more year, one to see what the other waters on the Dee produce and two we have at least one venue we want to visit on the River Ribble that we want to visit.  There are other cards on our radar as possibilities to add to the WAA card and they are the Winsford, Northwich or Dee anglers card and in principle they all have their pros and cons so a bit more investigation is needed before we decide for certain and I guess it will all come down to the quality of the other WAA waters on the Dee.

The past few week s my blogs sub-page where I am on the hunt for a 10lb carp has been playing on my mind, last year I had plenty of enthusiasm to get out there and managed to pre bait a few spots well but I found finding time to fish the spots quite hard to come by, a lot of this was of course down to me and my partner expecting our first child, there are many reasons to be unhappy in life when you cannot make it to the bank but the arrival of our beautiful little girl, well let’s just say the carp could wait for another year, this year?? Let the adventure begin, well I say begin its already began as this week the pre-baiting begins!!

I had planned to begin my baiting up a few weeks ago but just when it seemed like the weather was changing it look a turn for the worst and the temperatures plummeted which would have saw the carps movements slow down and thus their digestive system slow down as well and I want to  bait up at the right time when I know carp will be on the move a little more and have a chance of finding my spots.  My plan is to attract anything that swims into the swim, bream, roach, perch, rudd as I am a firm believer in what the excellent blogger Stewart Bloor says “A crowd attracts a crowd” and I think my chosen mix of liquidised bread, corn, chosen boilie and any bait left over from out weekends excursions should see the fish becoming accustomed to being fed in a certain area. 

As I have said before on the blog, for my carp skill level, a ten pound carp is a big target and I know I could go any commercial with a decent head of fish and fish the margins on my pole and no doubt catch a 10lb carp by just wading through the numbers but I want this quest to have some type of story to it and to have worked for it but I think  more than that I want it to be a “wild” fish and I feel I have found a location where I can get to regular and also fish of an evening after work or for a few hours on a Sunday without it costing me anything in petrol.

To see how I get on and keep up with my pre baiting and sessions etc you can either select the link form the tool bar at the top of my blog of find it on the link below.

On to this week’s trip and with the river spot on it’s a trip I have waited a few weeks for!!

No rain, No snow, No Flooding…........time to catch some Dace

I managed to catch the end of Countryfile this week and for once there were no reports of snow or rain, I admit I had to rewind it a watch it again just to make sure I wasn’t hearing things but no it was definitely being reported that there would be no rain or snow in the coming week.  The river Dee last week was only a tad too high for us to risk a trip to her so a week with no rain would certainly see the sediment drop out of the river and her levels continue to drop as the week progressed leaving a near perfect river, well at least that’s how I imagined it.

My hands shook with excitement as I threaded up my 17ft carbon active float rod using my new Dusk till Dawn lamp to illuminate the area, a product which I am currently reviewing for Sports Direct and that review will be part of next week’s update.   I don’t know what it is about fishing that gets me like that but the excitement when I first arrive at the bank is a buzz that I hope I never loose, I guess the day that happens is the day I think about calling it a day.

It is always a great feeling when you are in tune with your water and arriving at the river on Saturday morning the river was just as I had dreamt the previous night, the sun rising revealed the true beauty of this river in its winter colours the water a dark tea colour with a good few feet of clarity she was flowing at a gentle pace with no breaks in the trot to give away any submerged snags, in truth the swim looked like a perfect dace swim and I was really confident.  The light gave away one more secret as well, the fact I wasn’t the first person on the river that morning. 

One of the great things about a river that has recently been dropping is the face its wet banks give away the creatures of the nights presence, I have never seen mink on this stretch bit I know they are on the river in numbers my guess is a mink but I could well be a rat as I saw some proper “splinters” here last year.

With the river only carrying a few feet on summer level and the prospects of a decent day ahead I decided to stick to a method I was confident with and decided against fishing the 3 gram bolo and went with a 10 No 4 Dave Harrell stick float and fished it shirt button style.  A few pints of maggots and same of hemp and I was ready to really attack the swim.  The swim had been fed since I picked the swim and come my first cast I expected the float to bury and I was not to be disappointed as the float had barely cocked before it went for its first dunking of the day and as predicted it was a dace on the other end and boy was I pleased to see a river dee silver dart, holding her in my hands I looked down and it said one thing to me, welcome home.

From there the day just got better and better and with bites coming thick and fast, so fast in fact on a number of occasions the float was under before I had time to feed the swim with maggot or hemp, it truly was the dee river dee at its best and the phrase “a bite a chuck” was banded out as me and my uncle both caught steady.

The river had a slight change in level around midday, a tide I thought but on reflection there was no tide showing on the EA levels that night so I am guessing it was a release from Bala lake either way it really messed up my trot and this reflected in my catch rate, I can only imagine the net had it carried on like it had started for the whole day.

During this lull in the action we did still catch a few fish and one in particular that stuck in my mind was a dace that in my opinion has to be the luckiest dace in the Dee.  The lacerations down its flanks testament to a near miss with a large pike with some towards its tail end really deep, so deep in fact I am amazed the fish not only survived the attack but also lived to tell the tale as the fish would have been bleeding severely after this attack and I can only imagine tis down to luck the pike did not track its escaped, injured meal down to finish it off.  The dace does have loose scales along its flank for this reason to escape the jaws of its predators, not as loose as a bleak but they are still loose enough to give the dace a chance to escape the jaws of the pike as the pike momentarily loosens its grip to turn the fish head first to swallow.

The day wore on and my uncle moved over to the pole which he fished to a slack behind a tree, this saw the bites keep coming for him.  My swim, being very open, lacked that luxury and I continued to winkle out fish from all over the swim.  The levels eventually settled and the fishing picked up again for the afternoon and we both continued to bag up on the stick float.

The end of a great session drew near and it was time to compare nets, we both knew we had done quite well but just how well we didn’t quite know.

My uncle was first to weight in and it was a dace bag of 16lb

My net was next and I was amazed to see the scales go round to over 17lb, I really didn’t think I had done so well.

Well that’s it for this week, I am off to continue my pre baiting for the carp campaign and to thoroughly enjoy my new found freedom of an evening after being relived of my duties as WAA Facebook page’s picture amnesty villain, least with me gone the pictures will now roll in (no excuses now) and will save the club begging for pictures of carp for shows eh, what is it they say about every cloud and silver linings??

Till next week I wish you all

Tight lines