Friday, 29 November 2013

River Dee Dace and the Rolling Pike

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and you find me probably in one of the best places i have been for a long time, coming up to four years ago my mum sadly passed away and with that i lost all interest in the sport of rugby league, a sport i had played since 10 years old.  The mixture of these two things and the depression and comfort eating that goes with it had seen me pile on the pounds over the past few years and it was not till September this year it hit me that i had too stop this trend and sort it out for myself and also for my little girl growing up.  I am here now, at this moment in time 3 stones lighter than i was in September, i feel great but i know as well i still have a long way to go.  I was going to go public with it earlier on the blog to put myself in a situation where i have to stick to it but i really am the type of person that if i say "i am going to" means i will do it as opposed to me saying "i might" which basically means "i wont".  As i said i feel great and there is still a long way to go but already there has been some real morale boosters and milestones,  my Berghaus coat that i never wore as it was too tight i wore on this session you will read about on Saturday and the difference was it was loose enough to sit in, which was great, but even better was the fact i had two T-shirts and my thick jumper on under it as well, long way to go but i have made a start.

The picture above got posted on the internet this week and how true it is as sometimes it feels like it only rains on Fridays causing the rivers to flood and not be in the best nick for the weekend yet all week driving in work its calm and clear, perfect for trotting.  This week has been a week that has killed me being in work as driving into work i knew the conditions were just perfect for a days trotting or even for hunting a big pike but alas as my missus always says fishing doesn't put food on the table and although i don't eat as much now she still insists the fishing wont pay the way ha-ha.

The river this coming weekend will be in fine fettle and the popular beats will fish well but i must admit the buzz for me comes from finding those quieter areas and the shoals of fish that the masses do not know about and not to mention the bystanders you get visit your peg on the more popular stretches can be tiresome at times, even to me as ask any of my family and colleagues form work i can talk for hours about fishing but when i am actually fishing i like to get away from it all, so this weekend i will be targeting a stretch of river where i have found some depth on a summer trip hoping that it is home at this time of year to some shoals of dace and chub as lets face it not all the fish in the river can go to the popular areas as you literally would not be able to fit all the fish in the short stretch, so this weekend will be some of the most enjoyable fishing i do, searching out new areas of river and learning more about this fantastic river, we may well blank but what if we don't?

One of the joys of writing a weekly blog is you have a detailed account of each trip you go on to look back on and it is something i often do, not from a vain point of view but more to remind me of the session i am reading about and it lets you know where you fished in the same conditions in previous years and it can influence your decision come the weekend. For example around this time last year i fished the dee in the snow and caught well fishing for dace and pike but on on the session in question i remembered i had caught a few roach on corn so this weekend i might pack in a tn of corn and feed it during the session it also provides you with a brilliant confidence boost when times get tough.

Here are a few i have read this week:

Fishing in the snow:

Dace when rivers fining down:

This week i was contacted by a company around possibly reviewing one of their products on a future blog and as discussions are only in the early stages at the moment so i cant go into detail on this product review but thought it a great opportunity to show some of the product reviews i have done in the past and also open the opportunity up for other companies, so if you are a company that has a product or piece of kit you think i would use and want a honest review on a popular blog that at the moment attracts 6000 plus views a month feel free to approach me and we can see if we can put something together.

past reviews i have featured:

Calor Gas Grill to Go:
iFishlocator Review: 
Minke Fishing Tool :

Moving on to this weeks Fishing:

River Dee Dace And The Rolling Pike

The joys of last weekends net of dace and the bonus session for chub where still flowing through my veins like the water through the river i intended to fish which was again the River Dee.  The winter of 2012 taught me one thing, make the most of the fishing while the river is in form as for too long it can be unfishable like it was last year and although weather forecasting technology is the best its ever been you never truly know what is around the corner and us river men really are at the mercy of the winter rain and snow.

Although it is probably obvious from my weekly writings about the dee, i think this river is a magnificent venue and in my eyes one of the most underrated rivers in this country and although her fishing quality is often questioned one thing that is not in doubt is her sheer beauty.

With no birthday celebrations this week i was joined again by my uncle on the bank and we headed for the same area i had fished the previous week where we hoped to find the dace hungry.  Arriving at the river we were full of anticipation for the session ahead as our arrival on the bank was greeted with a cold overnight frost and temperatures below freezing.  Walking the bank with the leaves crunching under our feet we debated which area to target but after taking into account the river levels, temperature and colour of the river we settled on two swims close to each other that had a steady pace and even depth.

As always the first trot down was etched with expectation and although the freezing conditions would have put many off we knew this very cold would be the reason we would catch.  This is why rivers a re so magical as they offer anglers a chance to catch fish all year round and the fishing is especially good in winter as a number of factors come together to make the fishing so good,  the depth offers the fish warmth so they are attracted to the few deep areas on the river and the fact the fish are constantly swimming against the flow means they have to feed to survive and as there are large numbers of fish in this area you get competition for the food that,if fed right, keeps the fish coming.

The first dace of the session took a while in coming but like on so many sessions on the dee the first fish is always the most difficult as once you hit that first fish you know a shoal of fish is about and you get that flush of confidence.  The fishing at this point was slow with bites being at a premium on both our pegs so much so after a good two hours of fishing we were both in single figures for fish in our nets.

We both chewed the fat over a brew and agreed something was not right and it was amazing to see the similarities in our experiences so far, we both had caught fish all over the swim and both had noticed that any hooked fish was fighting in a way they could not wait to get out of the river, pike are what sprung to mind but i guess only time would tell as if it was pike it would only be a matter of time.   Our brews finished we returned to our pegs and continued our trotting ritual and it seemed like the break had done my uncles fishing some good as straight away i could hear the unmistakable sound of him striking into fish and the same could be said of my swim as it seemed like it was really starting to improve as well as bites where now coming on the same line in the swim and with greater regularity and for the next hour or so i caught with increasing regularity.

The swim was really starting to get to the stage where you think i might be on for a decent net here when on retrieving a dace i had the life scared out of me as a pike rolled at the dace about 7 yards in front of me, i just was not expecting it and what surprised me was the fact it missed such an easy meal.  Never to be one to miss an opportunity and knowing the pike was about i quickly grabbed my pike rod and had a go for the pike but nothing was doing so it was back to the dace fishing.  This marked the start of  a pattern in my swim that would last for the whole session and it was surreal experiencing such a weird phenomenon as what i witnessed on this session.  I would continue to catch dace all over the swim, maybe four or five and then BANG the same pike would roll at a dace as i was bringing it in, not take it just roll at it then the fishing would die for 10-15 minutes and the swim would slowly build up with four or five fish and then bang there was the pike again.  Even when i thought i was due a roll from mr pike i would try the pike rod with no success and then the next fish i caught it would have a go at.  I lost count during the session how many times this happened.

My uncle was also having a similar experience on his peg where he had pike attacking the fish in his keep net, pike lying in wait in the margin of his swim yet he never had one dace taken all day, very very very weird behaviour and certainly i have not witnessed anything like it.  We have all seen videos of pike or seen in the flesh how devastatingly accurate pike can be at taking fish and in my eyes no pike misses upwards of 4 times never mind 15-20, very unusual and interesting at the same time.

What was really weird was the quality of the dace we was catching with such pike around with the one above being my best fish of the day and a real example of what winter river fishing is for me, dace with fat plump pigeon chests darting and gliding upstream through the swim as they come to the net and that sudden realisation that this is a dace you cant lift in and you joyfully reach for the landing net.

My uncle continued to fish for dace the whole session while i, in hindsight, wasted far to much time on mr pike but his dedication and skill showed in the final net as he put 18.6lb on the scales at the end and my net went just over 10lb.

my net:

uncle net: 

Till next week i wish you all tight lines


Sunday, 24 November 2013

River Dee Dace and the Hungover Chub chase

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update.  This weeks blog update marks comes after a historic weekend for the branch of our sport that is river fishing as whilst i was on the banks of the River Dee on Saturday, further down in Wales the final of the first ever River Fest was taking place.  All the anglers that had qualified from their respective matches converged on a River Wye that was by all accounts in good nick after the recent floods.  The reports coming from the event are that it was a complete success and an event that was enjoyed by all its competitors and spectators and one thing that was great to see was some really big powerhouse companies get behind this event, an event that really will put river angling back on the map.

The days since have seen the event organisers commit to River Fest 2014 and are already taking ideas for venues that could be used for next years qualifiers.  I have a secret hope that the river dee will get a look in but i guess the lack of stretches that could house 60 anglers is the main issue but what a spectacle it would make to see 60 anglers in Chester city centre and a real event made of the qualifier, i live in hope.

This week also saw the weather settle a bit and the rivers that across the whole country where approaching bursting point get a chance to settle down and begin to fall to a reasonable level.  The spate rivers of course took no time in falling and that is the joy of having these rivers at your disposal and example of this is when you compare the River Dee to the River Ribble,  Monday the river was peaked at at its maximum height on both these rivers after a recent deluge yet a day later the Ribble was down to a fish-able level whee as it took the Dee a good 4 days to drop and even then she was carrying a fair bit of water come my weekend session.

I  would like to talk for a bit on how i feel i have grown as an river angler over the past few years, i have learnt over my few years fishing the River that just because you want to go the river does not exactly mean it is the right thing to do and you cannot pr-determine your tactics before you go, you need to fish the river in front of you, just because you want to fish the stick float does not mean that is the tactic you can use as the feeder and ground bait may be the way to go that day.  These are all lessons i feel you learn as you get a bit older and are not so hyperactive about your trips to the river, that is not to say i do not get excited before my fishing trips because i do,  i mean i set up on the bank now in a controlled calm manner, taking my time to get it right before making a start where as before it was almost as if i was in a race with the angler next to you to get a bait in the water first. I also feel now i am more confident in my river angling and in the decisions i make from choosing swims when i arrive to fishing the right areas of the river, i am not there 100%, but then again are any anglers truly a complete angler?  I feel angling is like all things in life the more you do it the better you get but you are always learning and adapting as you move through your angling career.

I always like to add some of myself in these blog updates so moving on and away form angling for a moment this week also marks the release of the most anticipated consoles in years the Xbox one and shortly after the Playstation 4.  Never before have two major consoles released so close to each other and it is going to be really interesting to see if Playstation come to the fore again in this generation.  I have been saving my pennies for some time now and by the time this blog goes live i will hopefully be the owner of a Xbox one and i have to say i am a wee bit excited.  I get quite a few comments around how i manage to get out on the bank every week but i have to admit i have a very understanding partner and the way i see it i work hard all week and hard in the house so i see a few hours on the bank as my time to relax and get away form it all and lets face it when you have made the big purchases in angling like rods, baskets etc etc then buying bait each week is quite cheap if you buy in bulk and the same principle goes for my purchase of the Xbox one, i work hard all year to earn my bonus so i should see something for it and this year it is an xbox one console on launch evening.  If you also have an Xbox one, why not drop us an email with your gamertag and i will add you onto my friends list.

Last weeks fishy fact of fiction drew great comments on the Internet forum i post on and lets face it a question like that is always going to draw some attention and divided opinion.  I was lucky enough this week to come across a copy of Photo shop Elements at my nans house of all places so i will be looking to install that on my new laptop as soon as possible, for all those who do not follow me on facebook, i am currently waiting on my laptop to come back form the repair shop and my little daughter decided at 14 months old to conduct a little science experiment, do laptops and waters mix? haha.  She is so hard to be mad at though and as annoyed as i was that morning by the time i had cleaned up the water she was melting my heart with her cheeky smile and funny nature.  So in the coming weeks i will be trying to put some things together on photo shop with new designs for the blog and images and looking to launch the Fishy Fact or Fiction with some more professional back up to it.  There is also a few more irons in the fire with regards additions to the blog in the coming week, whether they become a reality is another matter but there is certainly exciting times ahead for the blog.

The one thing that needs to be mentioned this week is a BIG happy birthday to my uncle who celebrated his 50th birthday this weekend, a great night was had by all and we even managed to go fishing the next day, more on that later! Happy birthday if your reading this Zorro!!

On to this weeks fishing and what a first class week it was on the bank:

Saturday - River Dee - In the Search of Dace

The week building up the this trip the river dee was recovering from a deluge of rain that saw her approaching the tops of her banks at times but a prolonged period of steady weather and reduced rainfall had saw her fining off nicely for a few days prior to my trip and i knew by checking the charts she would be not only approaching a level that would allow me to wet a line but the colour of the river would be spot on for a fish or two, of course at this time of the year finding the fish is the key as the colder it gets the more the fish shoal up and the more barren certain stretches become, so that's when knowledge of the river comes into play and information built up from where you found the fish in previous years in similar conditions.

While we are on the topic of looking at sessions with similar conditions the blog is a great way of keeping track of your own fishing but i also do a side write up each Monday on my break in work of the swim i fished at the weekend, temperature on the day and how the fishing was.  At first they just seem like sporadic notes but build them up over a few years and definite patterns appear, so on Saturday, dropping river, nice colour, mild temperature, i had a fair idea where to head too.  You get out of this sport what you put in and time spent away form the bank so you are as prepared as you can be is so valuable.

Arriving on the bank we inspected the river, as much as we could in the dark, shining a torch across the river revealed the river was pushing through at some speed down the middle and like i had predicted she was carrying a good few feet of water.  This extra few feet is of course on summer levels as the level she was at now was only a few feet above winter conditions and easily fish able all along the beat i was on.  I settled in a swim that was a lovely glide as the river flowed along it without any breaks in its surface revealing no obvious snags on the bottom and as the river in this location is mainly soft mud and quite sandy it meant i could run the float through with confidence and it also gave me the option to lie a bit if line on if i wanted too.  All in all i was really confident that i was in for a enjoyable session.

I was fishing a swim that was between 6-7ft deep and all the trotting text books will tell you that the float of choice should be at most a 8 number four but for this session i went with a 10 number 4 wire stem float.  The reason for this is the extra weight gets the bait down on the bottom and also adds weight to the rig so you can really hold that float back over the hemp and control it going down the swim and in a swim that was flowing above normal pace slowing the trot down would be an invaluable tool on this session as it allows you to keep that bait in the killing zone for much longer giving the fish longer to take the bait.

Two pints of hemp and 2 pints of maggot are all i really ever take the river and today was no different and some of that bait found its way into the river whilst i was setting up my gear, i knew this swim well and knew where i would be fishing during the session so i was confident in my bait placement at this point.  Time was taken to make sure the rig was right, the shot evenly spaced and the depth of the rig set to what i thought would be the best on the day.  The morning was just breaking in the distance and a overnight fog was just lifting i i made my first cast.

The fist trot down a swim is always a magical moment and as much as i try to ignore a trot down with no fish as a bad sign for the day that first trot i am always full of optimism and a sense of expectation and that is testament to what a fantastic river the River Dee is as on every stretch i visit at any time of year i expect to catch, its that good of a river.

The first few trots down you could have been forgiven for thinking you were in  for a bad day as the float went down time and time again untouched but dace fishing can be like that and so it proved as after around 30 minutes of trotting the float buried right at the end of the swim and a the jagged bouncing on the rod tip let me know it was a silver dart on the other end and what a pleasure to the eyes she was, my first dace of the winter campaign.

Dace are a fish that give me so much confidence as you know where there is one thee is more to be had and it was just a case of keeping the feeding accurate to get the fish where i wanted them. Over the three hours or so the swim built gradually from a dace every other cast to a dace a chuck right over the bed of hemp and it was really enjoyable fishing which peaked with this lovely roach below.

As any river angler knows, where the dace and roach go, so do the pike and as the swim is building you know you are at the mercy of a pike moving in as the constant fighting of the dace not only attracts the pike in but can prove irresistible to any dormant pike around the swim.  Just after striking into another dace i was just bringing in what i thought was another nice dace when it all went solid, you almost think its a snag till the snag starts swimming into the centre of the river, an epic battle ensued as the pike began to feel some resistance stopping him, or more likely her, from moving into the flow and on a 1lb 7oz hook length i had to take it easy.  The pike slowly started to come closer into the bank but i still had not moved this pike of the bottom and although you can never really tell on a float rod this pike felt like a decent fish and just as i began to lift the pike from the bottom it spat the fish out.  Its very rare you catch the pike in these situations, i would say in 9/10 cases the pike bites through the line, snaps you or spits the fish out.  The fish was in a right mess and was terminally injured form this experience, putting the fish back would mean a slow death so i did the only right thing.

just to show what damage a pike does here is a comparison picture below.

After this pike i noted the time and it was a whole hour ad a half till the my next fish, pike really do that much damage to your dace fishing.  I used to beat my self up about it but i now understand that the two go hand in hand, me dace fishing is the reason the pike moved in and it is part and parcel of fishing for dace.  The next fish i caught after this pike was a really special dace and the fish i had come for it was fin perfect and had that  plump pigeon chest that all good dace have, a pleasure to cross paths with such a beautiful fish.

This dace marked the start of the swim building again and boy did it build as dace after dace after dace kept coming to the net and on the odd occasion the float would bury right at the top of the swim, hard bits to hit but when i did i was rewarded with a nice grayling or a trout.  I managed to photograph the grayling but the trout evaded the lens as in just as i was taking a picture the fish "flipped" from my grasp and back into the river, slippery little sucker!

I ended up taking 3 grayling during the whole session, each i estimated to be around a pound, a welcome fish in the swim, great fighters and is their a fish with more vivid colours in the UK?

As with all good sessions they are over all to quickly and on this session it came round sooner than normal as we had to pack in around 2.30pm as we had my uncles party in the evening to attend.  The final net went just over 16 pound and with the grayling and trout added to the net it would have meant a total net around the 20 pound mark, i was one proud angler as on my own i had done my homework, picked a swim based on me looking at the river and also caught the fish, all without my uncle being there to guide, i was chuffed to bits.

The final net:

Sunday: Hangover Chub fishing

Sunday morning as i was woken by a text message on my phone, through bleary eyes i made out it was a text from my uncle and it read "Ready to go when you are Dan, say 10.30" my head fell back on to my pillow, fishing today? surely not.  After around a hour of drinking coffee and eating a big greasy bacon buttie i was just about ready to tackle the day.  I dont want it to sound like i was still drunk as i wasn't it was a hangover and as i never drink normally it was bad even considering i had not had too much to drink, either that or i really am getting old.

A days fishing for chub was on the cards and unusually for us it was around 12 noon when we arrived on the bank.  Trotting and ledgering maggots and corn would be the tactics for the day with the hope of connecting with a chub or two.

The river is thick with minnows so trotting maggots can be a bit of a relentless mission but with the weather cooling so did their numbers and although there was a few about it was no where near as bad as passed weeks.  Trotting maggots saw the downfall of the first fish of the day for myself in a lovely chub of 3lb 14oz.

My uncle was next to connect with a fish in a sublimely coloured grayling, unlike the dee fish this fish was dark with a mixture of blacks and dark purples on its gill covers and its flanks speckled with spots, it was a picture to look at and even harder to hold, at 1lb 12oz a special grayling indeed.

My uncle then went on to lose two fish, on almost certainly a trout and the second a fish that as my uncle put it, just went and i could not stop it, we both know this river holds some barbel so we reckon it must have been on of these.  I was next to hit the net with a grayling of my own, not as impressive as my uncles but more than welcome and weighed in at 1lb 5oz.

The swim then went through an eerie silence and i sat back and watched the nature all around me going about their daily routine and i admit to being a tad jealous that these animals get to call this wonderful setting home, mr squirrel on the far bank clinging to the branches that overhang the river with astute strength and confidence, a flash of lightning blue as a urban kingfisher darts past and then  the unmistakable sound of a buzzard in the distance meant i was in a wildlife oasis right in the middle of one of the most industrial cities in this country.

My liaising with nature was suddenly interrupted by an unmistakable pull on the line across my finger and instinct took over as i automatically struck into solid resistance, a chub for sure,it was not powerful enough to be anything else its unmistakable stand and fight nature then a dart for the snags and safety was thwarted by some side strain and a thumb across the spool increasing the strain this guy fought twice as hard as the first chub and slipping the net under her i had high hopes but alas she hot the scales at 3lb 2oz.

The third chub for me came in the very next cast and unusually within minutes of the first fish, very unusual for chub in small rivers but we are approaching that time of year where temperatures drop and food is less abundant for the fish to find so they come back onto the feed much quicker as they don't want to miss out on such a free meal.  The third chub was slightly smaller than all the others at 2lb 15oz but meant we now had 3 nice chub in the net and already i was looking forward to a nice photo at the end.

That was it for my fishing for the day apart from losing two floats that is but my uncle did take one more chub himself and what a nice chub it was as well a great way to sign off the session.

All that was left was to take the final net shots of the chub.

And thats it for another week on the bank i do hope you enjoy reading my weekly blogs.

until next time

its tight line from me


Friday, 15 November 2013

Chubbin..... at your age?

"I walked across an empty land,
I knew pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet,
Sat by the river and it made me complete"

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update and I am sure we have all heard or been involved in a conversation about the song that the lyrics above were taken from.  It is of course the Christmas John Lewis advert about the Bear and the Hare, a very sad video and one that does tug on the heartstrings but it was the very first verse of the song, shown above, that stuck in my heart and there is a lot of truth in it for myself as when you are sat beside that river with the sight and sounds that go with such a scene you can sit back, look around, and the worries that go with life drift away like the very leaves passing down the river in front of your eyes, fishing offers so much more than the thrill of catching a fish sometimes.

The River Dane Valley on Sunday, i was all alone, the only one on the bank, perfect time for peace, quiet, relaxation, reflection and contemplation. 

Drifting slowly away from that sombre opening we move onto a subject that was posted on the River Dee facebook page this week which caught my eye, the Welsh Dee Salmon Conservation Fund.  The Fund is trying to raise funds for a Scientific investigation into the current and historical release patterns of water from Llyn Celyn.  The conservation believe that these unnatural releases of water are partly to blame for the decline of salmon spawning in the upper reaches of the River Dee area, an area it is suggested that should be the breeding area for 15-20% of the total breeding stock of salmon in the river dee system.  Money raised for this fund will go towards undertaking studies into the effects of these releases and see if they are in some part to blame for the decline.

You can check the Fund out on the link below and maybe purchase a raffle ticket to help towards this cause.

Last weeks Fishy Fact of Fiction drew some great comments both in the comments section on here, Blogs Facebook and Twitter Page and on Maggot Drowners Forum where i have been posting this subject up.  The most funny comment of the week has to go to one of the people who commented on Facebook, Andy Wareham (said you would be in haha) who commented the following to the debate and i quote "Nope, there as thick as s$$t, but smarter than a lot of the anglers that fish for em" Not the most scientific of comments that was posted in relation to this subject this week but the certainly the only one that saw me spewing out a gob full of nescafe gold blend. 

on to this weeks fishy Fact or Fiction:

 "The introduction of Commercial Fisheries Ruined Fishing"

  Commercial fisheries are now firmly part and parcel of our fishing world, like it or not the truth is that you are now normally no more than a few miles away from a heavily stocked pond, snake lake, canal or arena, its the current angling world we live in.  But has the introduction of these fisheries improved or damage fishing?  First of all lets look at the positives that commercials have brought to angling.

There is no doubt that commercial fisheries offer older anglers a chance to go fishing till a much older age the comfort of parking behind your peg so you can literally park behind your peg and your fishing and the same can be said for any disabled anglers out there are some of these fisheries have exceptional fishing platforms and facilities.  The angling industry has dramatically benefited financially from these commercials as well just look at the wide variety of tackle that has exploded thanks to these commercial fisheries, walk in any tackle shop these days and the shelves are stacked with all manner of pellets and infinite gadgets a gizmo's to get that bait into your swim not to mention the money generated by the countless poles on the market.  There is no doubting that had commercials not come about you would not have seen as many poles aimed at carp fishing with extra strong carbon fibre and power kits to tackle the large carp in these pools.  The fishing industry are not the only ones to benefit financially from the angling worlds lust for easy access fishing with plenty of bites, its safe to say the Farming industry has seen great financial benefits from building fishing ponds on their land and the very one i fish, Flushing Meadows, is exactly that, set up by a farmer to supplement their income during what has been a terrible time for farming in this country, these ventures have saved a lot of farms from going under. 

These commercial fisheries also serve as a great place to introduce youngsters and new people to the sport.  The pools are generally stocked to over the recommended level suggested by the EA meaning, in the summer at least, catching is guaranteed, if you can put a rod with a maggot in the water you will catch a fish and this showed when we fished flushing this year when Ricky, who had never ever fished before came along and left catching countless silvers and a few carp.  The bottom of these commercials are generally of the same mould with 3ft margin shelves dropping down to 8-9ft then back up to a shelf on the far bank so they make for quite simple fishing meaning they are a great place for new people to the sport to start and the fact they catch fish can hook them for life.  Many think they offer invaluable places to test out new methods and to learn new techniques but as you will read in a bit i do not necessarily agree with this.  The boom in these fisheries has also seen increased revenue for fish farms that are paid to stock fish into these ventures.  In summary i feel that commercials offer quite a lot of good into our sport both financially and into the grass roots levels.

Of course there are always two sides to the story and i have to say for the good that commercial fisheries have done for angling the bad damage they have done is just as dramatic.  Pre the rise of commercial fisheries the banks of the local rivers where well populated with anglers, my very own local canal the Bridgewater regularly held open matches being fished by a 100 plus anglers, a sight you no linger see.  The river Dee had matches and anglers all along its lengths where now there is no sign they were there at all as nature has completely reclaimed to pegs they made and gaps in the trees that once where there are now thick with shrubs and new trees.  This exodus of people from canal and rivers is definitely down to the rise of commercial fishing, no doubt in my mind about that, as just look at it this way why would anyone, on a cold, wet and overcast day want to walk two or three farmers fields to fish a river or lug their gear along a canal bank where they may only catch 10lb of silver fish when they can pull up at their local commercial, pay 6 quid, park behind their peg and be certain to catch double maybe triple the weight of fish they would have done.  As a country, over the past 20 or so years, have become very lazy look at the introduction of cars now and how people get in a car to go the local shop rather than walk and the same can be said for angling with the introduction of these commercials, walk fields or roll out of your car, many choose the easy option, and on some days who can blame them.  So i would certainly say commercials have had a devastating effect on river fishing in this country and i only think things will improve once people get fed up with the repetitive nature of the different commercial fisheries. 

The general findings are that most commercial fisheries are stocked to around 25% more than what the Environment Agency state is suitable for a water and the only reason this is allowed id the fact that the anglers bait going in regular provides enough food for these fish to survive at such a population, but is this right? should fish be forced to feed so willingly that they lose their natural fear because the need to feed.  Earlier on in the piece i suggested that commercial fisheries offer great places for people to learn fishing and that is correct but what they do not do is teach people anything about proper fishing in this country away from commercials, these people who have only ever learnt to fish a commercial go to a local canal and feed it the same as they would the commercial and soon find the fish away from commercials are not so easy to catch and a lot soon lose interest where as if they learnt the sport the other way round, i.e learnt to fish on a canal they would find that they were a lot more successful in their commercial fishing.  These commercials teach people how to fish but not how to catch fish in my opinion. 

On the final note and this has nothing to do with financial gains to the fishing world, its more personal and emotional to me than that and its the fact that commercials have created this aura that if you are not catching carp on these commercials then its a bad day and the measure of how good a day is going is by how many carp you have caught.  Match weights in this arena of anglers displaying like peacocks are not worth mentioning unless they are over 100lb in weight and they do create a feeling amongst young anglers that silver fish are a nuisance i see it all the time of flushing meadows, a kid gets a bite, strikes and pulls in a big roach approaching a pound, a cracking fish! yet why does he look so upset with this capture? its because its not the carp he was after, meanwhile i am sat there getting funny looks as i am hurriedly looking for my camera to photograph a roach half the size, its a sad sight to see and it kills me every time i see it to the point i feel like going over and taking the lad to a canal to teach him to appreciate all he catches.

Well there is is, more writing than you will probably see in your weekly fishing rag and i haven't even got onto my fishing yet haha.  Over to you guys what do you think?? 

I did have something else to talk about but that will have to wait, on to this weeks fishing:

Saturday 9th November 2013 - Canal Roulette

Speaking to my uncle on the phone late on Friday night as i walked to the local shop i had a fear inside that our panned trip to the canal the next day could well be a tough encounter.  A glance up to the sky revealed a dark blanket of deep blue speckled with all the stars of the solar system in full display, there was not a cloud in sight, this could only mean one thing if it continued into the late evening, an over night frost.   Frosts are a welcome sight for myself as it means the fishing in our rivers is about to come into its own but an over night frost just before a session on a canal is a killer.  Frosts and still water fishing generally follow a set way of thinking that the day after the first frost will be really poor fishing wise but if that frosts continues and the temperature remains low for a few days the fish do get used to it and you can have some really good days fishing once the low temperatures have settled, our session would be the first day after a hard frost, not good.

Our chosen canal was the Sankey Canal in Widnes, we chose this purely because of its depth, it is a lot deeper in general than the Bridgewater and we hoped this would improve our chances of the frost not effecting the fishing.  Walking down the path to our chosen area of the canal the sun rose over the Mersey estuary illuminating it in a warm red glow that turned the sky a deep red colour which was reflected in the rivers watery surface providing us both with a beautiful scene across the estuary.  Most of the country was still in bed and did not knew what they were missing, i have to say that when the day comes that i can no longer get out and wet a line it wont be the fishing i will miss be the beautiful scenery and atmospheres i have experienced during the early morning, it was a privilege to have witnessed such a lovely sunrise.

As we examined our chosen swims we were both amazed by how clear the water was, it was in stark contrast to our trips a few weeks ago where you could not see the bottom clearly at all but now snags and rises in the bottom where plain for all to see and worryingly there was little sign of any fish.  I set up two lines, one straight down the middle and another against the far reeds and to my amazement the depths where very similar, surely there had to be fish holding in water this deep.  My uncle had set up a short distance down the canal but between us there was a whole bank of white crunchy grass that bore the evidence that we had in fact experienced a hard frost.

I fed the swim as lightly as a dared and only introduced a small amount of bait, my ground bait mixed as slop to produce a cloud and colour the water up to try and give the fish confidence to feed but with no substance in the ground bait slop to feed the fish at all.  the bait was a humble white maggot, a sign of the times again was that the local tackle shop did not have and pinkies or squats for sale on Friday.  The short story about this is the only action either of our swims saw was the sight of two swans passing through and in fact i think as one passed through it might of been the only time the top of my float threatened to get wet.

Three hours in and neither of us had had as much as a knock, it was time to stick or twist, stay and maybe the the fishing would pick up or twist and head of straight away to the stretch of the bridgewater we fished last week where we had both caught a decent weight of fish.  We both decided that it was highly unlikely that the fishing where we where was going to improve so we decided to pack up and head off to the Bridgewater Canal.

Its safe to say that autumn is definitely slowly giving way to winter and almost all the trees are know a mixture of the colours of the fall and it was amazing to see such the colours of the end of autumn in the trees on the far bank of the canal when we arrived.  We are on the banks every week and it really does put you in situations where you can see the seasons change and i must say even the most famous of artists can not compare to natures vast palette.

the trees of late autumn, beautiful.

trees pic

The fishing here started off like a house on fire with 3 instant bites and i thought, yes! here we go but the reality was that this brief early flurry would make up the majority of the action as i tinkered and searched around for the remaining few hours picking up another one or two fish.  The two nets from this week and last week put side by side shows just how much a frost effects the fishing, i have no doubt the fish where still there but where just not feeding. I guess that is fishing for you, one week 10lb next week 10 fish.

Sunday 10th November - Chubbin' your age?

The cold still tingling in my finger tips i woke early on Sunday with one intention and that was to get out on a river.  Rivers run cold all year and as the fish are constantly swimming against the flow they are not effected as much by the frosts, in fact on some rivers the frosts are actually the start of the really good fishing.  There are of course fish , like barbel, that's metabolism slows down as the weather cools but I had my heart set on a fish who's veracious appetite is as large as their mouths, the gregarious Chub.

There River Dane was my destination a river that i have not fished as much as i would like to over the past year but as it one of the small rivers i began fishing when i started fishing rivers it holds a special place in my heart.  As i turned off the motorway and start passing along the back roads my heart begins to beat that little bit faster in anticipation of that first glimpse of the Dane Valley.

Arriving at the car park i had the minimum of tackle with me, a ruck sack with my bait and tackle box, feeder rod, trotting rod, landing net, rod rest and a unhooking mat that would double up as something to sit on.  I walked straight to the nearest point i could find where i could see the river and like i had thought she was carrying a good bit of extra water and was really pushing through at some speed but the one thing that that i did notice in this early look at her was that the colour was dropping nicely and the river had that almost tea colour to it, it was not going to be easy but i was in with a shout if i used my head and read the river correctly.

To my amazement, on such a fantastic morning, the car park was empty, i was the only angler and i had the whole two fields to explore.  I was a man with a plan and i quickly set in my mind 4 swims across the two fields that i wanted to fish.  I knew from experience where the different pockets of chub would be so it would be a case of reading the river to work out where i thought they would be in the conditions i was faced with.

I started off in a swim where i have caught many chub in the past its an area with plenty of cover where the main flow kisses some nice snags as it moves through. Normally this is a swim i would trot a float through but that was certainly out of the question today as the float would be in and out in a matter of seconds, it was going to be a day on the feeder for sure.  The rig I use has developed over time and i must say my time chasing carp on the blogs carp quest has seen me develop my rig from a simple running lead stopped by a shot to the rig in the picture below.

my rig

The rig itself is still the simple rig i used when i first started in its principle and the additions are there to improve the functionality and reliability of the rig.  I never add something to a rig if it does not add something substantial for me and every aspect of this rig does.  The lead clip system not only allows me to quickly change the weight of the lead i am using quickly but it is also free running and the reason for this is when the fish takes the bait it feels no resistance from the lead as the line pulls straight through the lead clip yet i get a lot of reaction on the tip as the chub is pulling directly on the tip and not against a fixed lead.  The rig sleeve below the swivel is something that come from the carping and helps to kick the line away from the lead to reduce the chances of the rig tangling as lets face it you do not want to be sitting there watching a tip if below the water your rig is not fishing so this aides that and the quick change link allows me to quickly change the length of my hook length with east should i need too.  You may also notice the hook has no hair rig on it, in my experience chub and hair rigs do not go together all bait for my chub fishing goes directly on the hook which in this case is a size 10 and of course the line is Maxima, old school till the end.

I purchased a bait dropper a few months ago for my fishing on the River dee when the fish are coming up in the water and i feel no bait is getting down so i can introduce some bait on the bottom and get the fish feeding where i want them.  I have since found this to be a invaluable tool in my fishing on smaller rivers, i used it on the session i caught the chub and barbel on another river earlier on in the year to great effect.  It is safe to say my fishing style on these rivers has changed dramatically since i first started out, as my knowledge of rivers has built up i have developed a new found patience, years ago i could not wait to get a bait in the water but time has taught me differently and with that i introduced two bait droppers of maggot, corn and my secret chub bait into the area i thought the chub would be in and i sat back, poured myself a warming cup of hot vimto and admired the beautiful, crisp cold morning as the world around me woke up.

Chub are not really a fish you are going to see topping to give their presence in the swim away and unless it is really clear and you can see the fish in the swim, you have to trust to your judgement that you are doing the right thing.  I lowered my rig into position as to not spook any fish that may have been attracted by the bait, placed the rod on the rod rest and laid the line across my finger waiting for that unmistakable pluck on the tip.  I was confident and sure i was doing the right thing and for once there was no doubts in my head, had read the river and this is where i thought the chub would be.

The river in front of me continued to plough through and along its continuous conveyor belt was an endless stream of autumnal leaves, yellows, browns and reds all fluttering through the swim with the odd one plucking the line as it moved through but to strike at these would be foolish no matter how violent the pulls where they were no chub bite.  When i am roaming the river i normally only give each swim around 30 minutes but i had around 5 hours of fishing time today and as the swim i was in was a swim i knew held a good number of chub i decided early on to give this swim the more time than the others.

The tip danced as the odd bit of extra flow boiled along the crease in the river almost as if it was dancing to the rivers beat and it was just after one of these flows in the rod tip i felt a sharp pluck across my finger and the tip wrap round, it all happens in a split second and to be honest you never really remember the sight of the wrap on your tip as the instinct to strike takes over and you feel the vibrations through the carbon rod.  i struck and was met with solid resistance as the chub held its ground for a split second before making a lunge for the cover, no room for niceties here its time to trust in your knots and keep the rod low and your finger on the spool to not let the fish take any line, if you do its over as if the fish makes the labyrinth of tree roots and branches for sure.  The rod, a drennan heavy feeder was working a treat as it cushioned the lunges really well whilst having the back bone to turn the fish.  The fish in the middle of the river now presented me with another problem and that was moving the fish up to the net against the almighty torrent it was tough going with the fish now beaten and on the top but with my new long handled landing net i was able to net the fish quite far into the river so this really eased the problem and with the fish now resting in the landing net i took a second to catch my breath before wetting the unhooking mat and unhooking the fish.

The fish went 5lb 5oz on the sclales but the net weight 1lb 8oz so that makes this chub 3lb 13oz.

The pictures done and weight taken it was back into the landing net to be fully rested in a slack before releasing the fish back.  I must add here i do normally carry a keep net with me as putting chub back into a swim, if you intend to fish on, is not the best idea as it does spook the shoal  but today i did not want any extra weight to carry that would make me think twice about moving, i wanted to be mobile.

The fish returned i introduced another bait dropper of bait and celebrated my chub with another hot vimto as although i was fully prepared for the cold conditions with my thermal bib and brace, two T shirts, a thick hoodie and my skee tex thermal boots you still need that warm drink inside you.  Testament to how cold it was during the morning was the fact that after these chub pictures where taken my phone had 70% battery, not long after its return i wanted to take a picture of the rig on the box for the blog and i was met with a blank screen and the picture for me to plug my phone into to charge before i could use it again!! The phone made its way into my fleece lined pockets to warm her up whilst i warmed my inside with some good old vimto and after that chub it tasted as sweet as could be.

I spent the next hour or so in this swim with only a tiny grayling as reward for my perseverance although it was a fin perfect example of the species and does show the grayling are breeding in this area, which is good news.

Eventually my expectations for this swim dwindled and the inner explorer in me was itching to try the next swim and my hope was that the fish would be ready and waiting as i had nipped along all the swims with a dropper of bait before fishing.  This next swim was  a tough swim to fish as the area i wanted to fish was on the other side of the flow but i knew it just had to hold a chub or two.  Over went my rig and the rod rest was held high to keep all the line out to the main flow.  This next bit shows the importance of having your finger on the line as it was while i was not looking at the rod tip and replying to Mr Munro's comment on the blogs Facebook page i felt that tell take pluck on my finger tip and instinct took over as i dropped the phone and struck into the fish, had i just been watching the tip and looked away i would of missed the bite for sure.

The fight from this fish was weird to say the least as it did not feel like a chub at all in fact the fight felt more like a roach as it zigged and zagged in the swim.  It had the weight of a nice fish and i did wonder if it was a big trout or grayling at one point but then the fish dropped down into the flow and with it being quite shallow here i could see the tell take big white rubber lips that only chub posses silhouetted against the sandstone bottom of the river.  Again the flow provided me with a problem but the long landing net pole again helped me out.

The chub went 5lb 2oz on the scales so slightly smaller than the previous one.

It is worth mentioning here a bit about safety on the bank and especially on the river banks.  I was alone on the river on Sunday but i had told two members of my family the exact stretch of river i was going and i had made plans to get home for the football in the afternoon so they knew what time to expect me back home.  Safety on the bank is also important, especially when you are alone, as although the river may be shallow enough that if you did go in you would be able to stand up in most places, you turn your ankle on the way down or worse break a leg and you are in serious trouble, those heavy thermals that are there to keep you warm, when wet become your undoing.  One bit of kit, apart from a mobile phone of course, that i have found invaluable on the rivers is my long handled landing net as the picture shows below i could land the fish and rest it in the margins all from the top of the high bank without ever having to go down the bank to land the fish, be safe out there.

This swim and the remaining two swims produced no bites at all for myself but it was not through want of trying i feel i gave every swim my all and maybe the only thing i may have done better was to not have spent as much time on the first swim as i dad and maybe i would have been able to get around a few more swims.  I left one happy angler i really felt i had read the river, in tough conditions and user my watercraft to find the fish, i have no doubt had i been fishing this a year or two ago i would have blanked as i would have gone for the same places i normally fish and not where the fish are.  The dane really is a great river to learn about creases, undercuts and slacks, i am sure the river will be in fine fettle this weekend so why not give it a go and let me know how you got on.

One thing i did notice on my way back to the car was this shallow pond that has been filled by the recent rains.  I remember passing it and having a chuckle to myself as i thought please god do not let Warrington  Anglers committee see this pool as they will have it stocked with 3lb carp in no time at all!! On the upside at least it will mean the road down to the stretch will be kept in pristine condition, maybe we should dig one on the Dee at Worthenbury haha.

Well that is the blog for another week i do hope you enjoy reading about my adventures on the bank.

till next time

Tight lines


Monday, 11 November 2013

Gale Force On The Bridgewater Canal

A warm welcome to this week's blog update.  This week the rivers have again been in flood and any thoughts of a trip to the bank saw any river where thwarted by a constant deluge of rain on Friday.  This extra rain saw the river Dee tantalisingly close to bursting her banks in certain locations and although water levels where fishable further upstream the ferocity of the flow and the water been a thick wall of muddy soup meant any chance of us getting on the river was gone.  We of course would still get on the banks of a water somewhere in this glorious country but where still remained a mystery.

Before we get onto to this week's Fishy Fact of Fiction it is with great sadness I announce that my uncle will not be joining me on the banks this week, last I heard he went fishing at Chester weir.  I went down and recovered his camera and there was only one picture on it shown below :-)

So to the popular Fishy Fact or Fiction, I posted this question up on a forum and it got some really good feedback and responses form anglers.   The majority of comments confirmed what I was saying in my update in that the amount of boat traffic a canal receives generally determines how the fish react and fish in a canal that has heavy boat pressure will naturally not be as effected by boats as fish in a canal that has very few boats.  One user did make an interesting point that it was the movement in locks that caused the problems and ruined the fishing not the actual boats going through the swim, an interesting point and one that could prove interesting to debate in the future.  How long this series can last I don’t know as it's really hard to think of topics that I can relate too,  thankfully this week's came to me on the actual bank whilst fishing so on to this week's instalment of Fishy Fact or Fiction.

“Are fish Clever"

Scientists for years have told us not to worry about the mental state of the goldfish in our living rooms as their short term memory is so short that by the time they have swam back round the bowl they have forgot they have seen the same scenery twice, but how true is this of wild natural fish? Do fish that are fished for heavily remember that they were caught on a certain bait before so avoid it? Do fish even think danger when they see a bait or is it all down to no arousing a fish's suspicions and prey on the philosophy that any fish if it senses no danger and is hungry will be caught on any bait on any method?

I start my input on this topic by using one of the most obliging fish that swim in our waters, chub.  The fish with an incessant appetite for any food material that enters it watery habitat and a fish that, like all fish, is either very easy to catch or anger inducing hard to catch.  I take you to the banks of the River Dane where I have spent many an hour catching chub and over that time I have learnt a thing or two about these chub that leads me to believe that fish do have a certain amount of short term memory but also makes me feel that it is more to do with their long term memory banks why they don’t take the bait.

Many a time on the river Dane I have approached a swim and found the chub settled, moving across the gravel bars picking up morsels of food.  The first fish normally comes quite quick to any method for this we will say trotted corn but the second fish never ever falls for trotted corn but a quick change over to corn presented static on the bottom with a lead leads to an instant bite, same bait different method or presentation, so why is this the case? It could be down to bad presentation on the trotting part but is certainly not down to a fear of that bait or else the second chub would not eat it.  I believe the fish sees the bait coming through the swim as dangerous but does not associate danger with the static one, so in essence in this situation are fish "clever" in my opinion no its all down to the state they are in and if they suspect danger.

Of course in these Fishy Fact or Fictions I am not oblivious to the other side of the argument that could come from the carp branch of the sport where it could be said that fish are clever and they do remember a lot more than we give them respect for, for instance when a bait is taking a venue apart, say white pop ups and fish after fish come to anglers using it then all of a sudden no one is catching on it as the fish wise up.  This I think is down to the long term memory of the fish and them storing what they associate with danger for example with birds as a general rule, red berries are a sign of danger and not to eat them and I guess the fish adapt that in built mechanism in themselves to remember and associate certain food baits as danger over time and not to eat them.   The carp world and of course the barbel and chub world overcome these fears in a number of ways such as feeding the swim up without actually putting a bait in the water and being ultra-careful not to spook the fish when moving into and around a swim.

In summary I think that the answer to are fish clever? is fiction, the amount of work you have to put in to catch a fish is, in my opinion all down to the state the fish is in, if it is hungry and suspects no danger the fish can be caught but sometimes changes need to be made to overcome and fear that fish feels whether that be through change of presentation or building the fishes confidence over time by feeding the swim without fishing for the fish.   The whole debate about fish being clever comes down to an inbuilt fight nor flight mechanism in built into any wild animals and the fear of certain foodstuffs is built up over time by association behave, basically the fish associates that food with danger.

Of course this is just my thoughts on the matter, they may be right or wrong in your eyes so why not get involved on the blogs Facebook page, twitter feed or the comments section to leave your thoughts on this subject. Remember it is just a bit of fun and my views are never ever intended to be the be all and end all answer.

On to this week’s fishing:

                                    Chasing Rumours on the Bridgewater Canal

  During last week’s session on the Bridgewater canal I had an angler stop off behind me peg and the conversation flowed about all our experiences on the Bridgewater canal, from pike to perch stories where exchanged and snippets of information and the odd rumour where banded around and it was one of these stories that stuck in my head, a story about a group of anglers that had caught some big nets of chub from an area of the canal further along the canal. 

This had me thinking all week and with the rivers again unfishable we decided to investigate this rumour a little further and set our sights on the Bridgewater canal for our weekend’s trip.  Now we could have gone to our old productive areas where we knew that catching was almost a certainty but angling, for me at least, has to be a journey I can only fish the same areas for a few weeks or so before my mind starts wondering what is around that next bend.

Not knowing the exact swim or tactic is just the way I like it I only ever ask for help on tactics or knowing if the fish are in a certain location as I love the whole challenge that goes with catching fish.  I know its each to their own but if someone told me the exact swim, bait and time of day to fish a swim to be guaranteed a big fish I would get no sense of achievement from that the fish would be worthless to me as I had not earned it, so travelling to the canal on Saturday all I knew was chub had come out from around Preston brook and that was it.

The picture above is the standard image we all associate with canals but I feel the one below offers a better idea of what a canal is like, it contains the beauty and industry of a canal but also shows how societies laziness and attitude to nature has had its effect on the look of the canal as most canals now around urban areas are littered with trolleys, traffic cones, wheelie bins and carrier bags.  Why people feel the need to do this is beyond me, what enjoyment can you get from throwing a bin in a canal? I guess it’s a thrill I will never ever understand.

I had done some work in the week on Google Earth and found an area to target where I thought a chub might like to live, of course this this is no river so I guess the fish adapt to their conditions but I was hoping that inbuilt nature for a chub to love the cover of snags was still imbedded in these Stillwater chub.

My tactic for the day was the same as any other canal trip in that I set up a line on the inside shelf till the boats come and pinged bait over against the reeds on the far bank.  I did have a small clump of reed to my right hand margin and plumbing the depth I found a nice depth so I also fed here as a line that I could fish as a nothing line.

I started off down the middle and one thing that was apparent here was how much the canal was towing, no wonder it is popular with chub I was even considering popping on a stick float! The tow here was down to no boat traffic but the fact the Bridgewater canal and the Trent and Mersey all converge just further along the canal and the tow from these canals was really strong and this was the case all day.  The tow down the middle of the canal was really tough to fish tactics wise as to hold bottom meant laying a good two float lengths on bottom yet anything between this and dead depth say the float moving through the swim and dragging under as it moved along, very tough indeed but I did manage a few small skimmers on this line, but it was slow going.

I then moved onto my line just off the reeds to see if it was any easier here and was rewarded with an instant bite from a small skimmer followed by a small perch but that was it from this swim but in hindsight this early success saw me wasting too much time on this line when I should have moved to the far side although my thinking on the canal is always to leave my far line as long as possible so maybe that line would not have been so good had I gone straight over.

My uncle further along the canal was first to go over the far side and he was instantly into small skimmers which I must admit perked my attention up.  My uncle is a very good angler indeed and I am always learning when we are on the bank together and the good thing is about fishing with someone like who is not only good at fishing but willing to share information is that you can go up to him and ask him the most valuable question of all when learning, “but why did you just do that”. 

It is all well and good just sitting there copying someone but the real learning comes when you know why they have done it, for example my uncle on the day had his ground bait mixed dry but then made it like slop and was rewarded with better stamp of fish but why did he decide to do that? And what did he think it would achieve? This is when you can begin incorporating that thinking into your own fishing so you can then make decisions on your own when faced with similar situations.  I have learnt so much over the past two years fishing with my uncle.  This brought better fish to his line which saw me not holding back and I went right over on all 13m of my pole.

My reward was a succession of skimmers from small ones to some really nice ones like the one shown above and on number 4 elastic it was a great sight to see this elastic working so well, I must admit since I have down sized to a lighter elastic from blue hydro elastic I have not lost hardly any fish on the way in, this elastic keeps the tension whilst being supple enough to cushion the head thrust from the skimmers as the “flap” in.

This canal has really surprised me this year with the quality of the roach it holds they have shown themselves on all the stretches we have fished on there over a good 2-3 mile stretch.  There is certainly a year class on there that has come through and thrived that are now up and over the 8oz bracket and I am sure this will see some really stinking roach show on this canal in years to come, if there is no interference form us humans cutting back the reeds and over handing trees that provide these silver fish with the must needed cover they need to evade being eaten by the growing number of predators seen flying along this canal.  

The quality of fish on the far bank was much improved on the small skimmers down the middle with palm sized and above skimmers coming to the net with great regularity.  It was during the early morning I had my first of two anglers from the blogs Facebook page and it was great to catch up with Ade an angler who I have crossed paths with a few times on my travels around Warrington waters, a very good angler on both still waters and rivers and an angler I must arrange to get out on the bank with sometime this winter on his lovely stretch of the River wye.  Whilst he was at my peg we talked about all aspects of the fishing we do and it was great to chat with an angler that is so passionate about his fishing and an angler who, in my exchanges with him is as honest as the days long, wilfully sharing information on any new fishing he does and always polite when I have helped him out. 

This fishing while he was at my peg was probably the best it was all day as fish after fish came on the far bank line, mostly only small skimmers but the odd better “netter” come to the net and I felt like I was well on my way to a really special net of fishing and was thoroughly enjoying my days fishing on the long pole.  It is not very often I fish with the whole length of the pole so I was really enjoying it.

It was not long after Ade left that the wind, that to this point was manageable really started to build up, only a gentle breeze to begin with but the odd gust had me worrying about what was coming in. When the second visitor of the day, Garry, Garry is a really good pike angler on the canal and during his time at our peg it was clear he loved his fishing, in any conditions, he was already talking about his winter campaign’s and you could just tell he loved his fishing.  His eyes all the time looking at features and in the end the angler inside got too much and he ran and got his lure rod to have a few casts.  Proper decent, dedicated angler and really helped me out with a few tips for my piking this winter, cheers mate much appreciated although I feel short of the 50lb you demanded from this session ha-ha.   

It was during Garry’s time on the bank with us the wind got up to gust proportions also known as pole snapping weather.

The wind made it really hard to fish on the pole so I reduced down a section so I had less to hold out and continued to pick up fish when the wind allowed.  The fish where there that was for sure as every time I got over there for ling enough for the float to settle quality fish where coming like the fish full of skimmer below but these forays where becoming increasingly difficult and she sheer pressure to hold the pole out there was making it not only hard to fish but uncomfortable.

I set up the waggler rod hoping to overcome this incessant wind that was now well up to gale proportions that saw the tall trees on the far bank bent double.  Fishing the pole was not possible and the fish just were not there on the closer in lines, even on the reed line that I had fed throughout the day.  The waggler was unfortunately not working out for me as sinking your line took you too close in and the tow just cleared it out of the swim, really frustrating.  The end of the session was approaching so I guess I had my eye on that rather than focusing on getting to grips with the waggler and took to the easy option to bare it out on the pole and put in a few more fish to the tally.

My uncle ended the day with a net of 7lb 14oz

And my net went 9lb 6oz.

Both fantastic weights from the canal and with them being mostly skimmers really good signs for the populations of all fish in the canal including predators as there is more than enough for them to eat in this section alone.  These fish will no doubt disperse as the weather closes in as they shoal up in their winter haunts but one thing is for sure we have a quality canal right on our doorstep.

Till next time its tight lines form me and I leave you with a picture of the River Mersey I visited on Sunday with my daughter as we took her to jelly beans, spotted a few pegs as well so might well be worth a trip in the near future.  5 cormorants perched on a snag mid river, where there are predators there are prey.

Tight lines