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


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