Saturday, 27 September 2014

River Dee Fishing: Dog Roach On The Bolo and Pole

A warm welcome to this weeks update i hope i find you all well and your autumnal nets wet.  General observations this week are that summer is not going without a fight as temperatures of 26oc being still a common midday temperature which has presented a few problems in my fishing of late but more on that later in the update.  Before we move onto the main update i would just like to say a huge thank you to all the people who have taken the time to email this week either to comment on their liking of the blog or for some hints and tips on how i go about catching the fish on my blogs.  These emails are very welcome and if you have sent one this week i will do my best to get back to you ASAP but this week the email has gone made but i will get to them all.

Pondip Time and My Second Blog......

The 18th of the month for myself is fast becoming associated with a small Brown box called a Pondip Tackle Box as its the time when i come home to the box of goodies on my door mat.  There certainly is a lot of fun with these boxes and i am loving how varied the boxes are with Septembers containing items that cover all aspects of coarse fishing from pole fishing margins or commercials to night fishing a river.  This months blog was all around the contents of the box and writing about them  and as soon as i opened this months box it just screamed Autumn fishing to me either fishing into darkness for that special big fish or using a fine hook and pole float on a slow river for roach and bream it looked a fantastic little box of fishing tackle to really get out there and tackle an autumn session.   A link to my review is below.

Link to my Pondip Blog:

Full Steam Ahead....

It has taken the best part of two months buying a bit her and a bit there and of course a huge bait order but this week i finally got to the stage where i now have two pike rods rigged up ready to go.  The sessions pike fishing are ones i love but not only for the fishing but the fact i get to leave my heavy seat box, clunky net bag and chunky holdall behind and just grab a landing net, my ruck sack and two made up rods and i am away for a days pike hunting.  Pike fishing and my silver fishing are so far apart in this respect but in reality they go together like cheese on toast as the sheer act of silver fishing a river attracts the pike to you,  any how i do digress it feels great to know that at any moment from now on i am only a few minutes away from finishing work to being on the road to a pike swim.

Hitting The Ground Running....

With all the pike gear set to go i am planning on hitting the ground running next week as i have booked off two days from work on the 01st of October and the 3rd October and at least one of these sessions will be dedicated to just piking with the other i am hoping to sneak in a cheeky pole session as well as sneak out a pike rod with all being well. 

These two days off work will make the start of a bumper few days as i will be fishing my normal river session on the Saturday and will finish the few days off with a session piking on a water with fellow piker Ste on the Sunday.  The weather at the moment is far from ideal, in fact for piking its diabolical, but i am hoping for us to put a few pike on the bank and as always with a few social sessions planned a some great banter a long the way to mark the start of my first full season in the pursuit of Esox Lucius.

Fail to Prepare, Prepare To Fail.....

There is a well know saying "Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail" and it is so true.  How many times as anglers have we fished a session and at its end said well i should have done this or got to the venue and found you have no tackle to fish the swim in front of you, this all comes down to preparation.  Over the past few months i have been reading up and trying to understand the world of the pike, how and where they feed, underwater videos of them taking baits so i know where is best to put my hooks and general tactics that other anglers have published on the Internet to how they go abut their dead baiting for pike.

I am also very fortunate that in the past year i have met three guys who are well into their pike fishing and share a mutual enthusiasm for the species and targeting them in the coming months.  It is safe to say that my piking has come on leaps and bounds in the short time i have met this group of piking pirates, from tying my own rigs to general help and tips on piking it really has seen me at a stage where i am feeling not only prepared but confident when i load up the car.

All in all from where i was last year struggling on the canal and not really knowing if what i was doing was right or wrong it feels good to be looking forward to a season knowing i am prepared as i can be,  i will go more into my terminal set up as the season progresses but for now, lets get out there and have em!!

Piking Gods Look Down On The Piking JetSetter....

As i mentioned above the rods set up it is now a quick run in the house to get changed and grab my gear and i am away for me now for my piking and this was certainly the case on Monday this week.  I knew two of the lads where out piking on a local river from first light and although the news from them i received on my break was bad in only one run and that coming off i was dying to get out and wet a line for an esox. 

I pondered my annual leave sheet in work for a few seconds before making the decision that in the year of our lord 22nd September 2014 was not going to be a day Danny spent a whole day in work and a hastily booked the afternoon off.  Eventually the clock creeped its way round to 12.30, i am sure someone makes time go slower when your looking at the clock, i was off out the doors or work and on my way home to load the car and before i knew it i was walking the bank to place my two floats alongside the four already in position. 

With 6 baits in the water spread evenly along the length of water and pike in the area was spoilt for choice as a banquet of the best sushi in the world dangled tantalisingly in their faces.  The midday temperature was 26oc and there was a few clouds in the sky but nothing that was making any difference.  A hour in and we had not had so much as a tap on any of the rods despite a few recasts so we settled down and Garry began to go through some rig making with me as i had come across one or too issues making them myself at home. 

Just about to thread the hook onto the line and Garry twitched and a urgency appeared in his eyes as out of the corner of one of them he spotted the slight movement on his left hand rod.  Another dip on the float confirmed the presence of a fishes interest before the fish fully committed and the float slid away, 1, 2, 3 and strike and his rod hooped over as he connected with a feisty fish that we all thought was a lot bigger than it was on the bank.  The fish obviously still full of life in the warm weather had energy to burn as it made run after run and continued to fight in the net and on the bank.  The pike was a welcome start to the fishing and we all gained confidence from this capture as the fish might just be going on the feed.

At this stage we were all spread along a short area, it was a bit of a social after all, but with bites not forthcoming and no activity on the floats we decided to spread out a little.  Garry was again first to reap the rewards of a move as in the space of half an hour he banked another two pike which both grabbed his baits as he was bringing them in.  Three pike in a short spell and Garry was having a good session indeed and getting a very good send off for his upcoming break with a pike of 6lb and another smaller jack pike. Great to see so many in the area.

These pike released i returned to my rods.  I placed one static on the bottom in front of a reed bed but having seen them taking a moving bait i shallowed right up on my other rod and began casting and slowly reeling in the bait.  It took a number of casts but eventually i felt a aggressive tug on the bait as a bike lunged out and grabbed the dead bait.  Letting the line go slack so the fish could take the bait for a second i watched as the float sunk away and just as i was about to set the hooks the float shit right back up in the water, dam the fish had spat the bait out!.  In hindsight maybe i should have stuck as the float was moving and not waited for it to go under but i guess that's fishing.  I cursed as i thought my chance had almost certainly gone!

In all honesty i was just about to move back down to the main group before this fish struck but the fact i knew i had a feeding fish in my swim spurred me on to stick it out.  I kept twitching the bait back with no success so i decided to shallow up and cast the bait fight tight along the reeds when the fish had struck.  When fishing shallow you are always susceptible to the bait drifting so it was only the fact i saw the float moving slowly towards the reeds that alerted me to the fact a fish was having a go at the bait and sure enough the float slid away as the pike took its dinner back to its dark lair. 

I struck and was met with one of the most energetic pike i have ever hooked, only a small jack pike, but Jesus did it fight with tail walking and head shakes galore during the fight.  The tackle you have to fish with for pike does make you the boss in these fights with small jacks but still great fun and i was glad to pick up a fish.

We stuck the session out till dark hoping for Ryan to pick a fish up and i have never seen a guy put so much effort into it, he had been fishing all day and even on last knockings he was still going strong, if ever a man deserved a fish it was Ryan on this session.  There are plenty of more sessions earmarked in the coming months together so i am sure Ryan will have his day where he catches and catches well and we all struggle, i only hope i can match his enthusiasm.  Great day out and a nice catch up with Garry and Ryan and looking forward to the sessions to come.

River Dee Dog Roach On Pole and Bolo.......Smashing Session!!!

Saturday morning and i don't think i have ever done so much preparation for a session in my life before as i set about making up pole rigs to fish a swim i knew was around 15-16ft deep.  This depth equated to the bottom of my number 5 section of my pole and a swim this deep certainly called for some heavy gear so i set up with a 3 gram float fished with a Olivette 2ft from the hook with a hook length of 1.7oz Bayer Peron.

Inspecting my pole at this point as i put it away i did notice a little tiny crack in the bottom of my number three section but it was a knock that had been there for some time so i didn't pay it too much thought and continued to pack the gear away. 

Walking the banks of the river in the dark we were both startled but a own flying low to the bank close in as it turned and a ghost like flash of white let off a terrible racket as it flew off upstream.  I settled into a swim and my uncle set up just down stream form myself, its been a while since we have fished close enough to have a natter all day so it was good to have a nice social fish.

A rare sight for regular blog readers, danny fishing a river with a pole, but i guess with the River Weaver on the card its a sight that we will be seeing a little more.

Setting up in no time at all i was feeding the swim and running a float through in no time at all and it wasn't long before i got my first bite on the pole which saw me land this nice little roach, i always take a picture of the first fish of the session as i know one day it will be the only fish of the update.

The next few put in saw similar small roach and perch but after that i connected with the first fish of the standard i had hoped for in a fin perfect roach that must have been up around the 1lb mark it was a stonking roach.  In fact this first roach marked the start of a precession of 3 roach that all came on the pole rig and i was excited for a good, if not exceptional, session ahead.

The next bites after the three nice roach saw some smaller roach come to the pole rig.  I was fishing away over the moon with me really getting to grips with a new method and i was delighted that my plan to eradicate the missed bites you get striking upwards on the bolo was coming into fruition.  Fishing 67 sections of pole i was comfortably fishing just over the ledge and to land fish it was simply an act of removing one section of pole and it was then fish to hand unless the net was needed.

Sadly whilst striking a bite i heard an almighty crack and upon inspecting my top two section i noticed a split right up the blank, that little crack was not a big crack and this certainly marked the end of the session on the pole as this was the only top kit i had packed, gutted was not the word.  At the time i was more upset at the fact i knew i was doing well and was on for a nice weight of roach had it continued, of course later on you are upset at the financial loss.

I took a second to lick my wounds before setting about making up my 17ft trotting rod, set up wise it was the same weight bolo float just moved over on to running line.   Moving over to the rod and fishing so deep does have its problems both with presentation and also with the line wrapping around the tip all the time, both very frustrating.  It took a while to get the bites going again as i struggled with accuracy of the line i was trotting.  Eventually my persistence was rewarded as i began to again pick up some nice roach.  In fact once i got to grips with the swim and putting the float through i caught some cracking roach steadily for the next few hours with palm sized roach coming between a few smaller roach.  A few are below and looking at the pics i think a few could be mixed with chub.

From 12 noon till around 2 pm the swim completely died of death as the roach just seemed to do a disappearing act.  It has been a while since we have been on a river where pike trouble is a regular occurrence and as such i spent a long time thinking i was doing something wrong rather that having my mind homed into the fact there was a pike in the swim.  It all clicked when right down the swim i connected with a small fish that suddenly went really heavy.  I had the fish on for a while and in typical pike fashion the jack spewed the bait at the last minute.  What a mess even a jack makes.

I knew in the back of my head this pike had no clue it was being fished for so i quickly reached for the pike rod and presented a bait at 12ft as to miss the snags.  It did not take long for the float to bob away and i knew from the erratic bobbing and the fact the float would not go under i had a small jack at the bait, i struck, but again the fish was too small to turn the bait as it had clamped across the fish and just spat it out, very frustrating.

After this fish come off i moved back onto the bolo and it must have been this fish that was putting the fish off as over the last hour i picked up a few more nice roach.

There really is not enough space to post all the separate roach i caught that i took pictures of and there was a few i did not photograph and it really was one of those sessions you look back on when you write your blog and think that was some session.  I put a little video of all the fish i took a photo of on the little slide show below.

My final net went just under 14lb.  I have had some of the best fishing of my life on this river and some nets of dace that i could only dream if years ago but as i took a second to look at this net of roach i knew i had just had a special session, i was on cloud nine.

My uncle just upstream also had got into the roach but had also connected with a nice shoal of dace as well and this will certainly be an area we visit again.

till next time thank you for reading,

tight lines


Friday, 19 September 2014

Short Sesison on Dane, Evening Piking and River Dee tides.

A warm welcome to this week's blog update I hope i find you well and your nets wet.  In this weeks update i cover a session we did at the weekend on the River Dane and a few evening trips for pike i have been doing of late, a little early but the urge to get out was too much! Also featured in this weeks update is some information around staying safe on the banks of my favourite river the River Dee.

The feedback i received from the change in layout of last weeks blog was all positive so i will be looking to continue with the blog in this format for the foreseeable future.  The breaking up of the Introduction and my rambling can only be a good thing haha.  With that its onto the update and i hope you enjoy....

Something Fishy.......

Pike fishing is something that has always captured my imagination and are a species that do get me excited when i know i am heading out fishing for them.  Last year my dead baiting for pike only started in the new year and that is something i am looking to change this year as i aim to be all set for October 01st.  Looking ahead pike fishing is certainly going to feature heavily on this blog this winter and my hope is to dove tail short pike trips with my normal stick float and pole fishing on the rivers. 

A while back on a trip for pike with a friend i was asked if i was interested in joining his bulk order for bait he puts in every year as it would save me a Lot of money buying in bulk and also would get me Free Postage.   With a lot of piking planned on both still waters and rivers and also knowing the price i was paying last winter for individual packs of bait i was more than happy to take up his kind offer.

On Sunday i left the order in his experienced and capable hands with a limit of between 20-30 pounds.  Wednesday morning and a picture arrives of my order and i was taken back by the sheer amount of dead baits that came for the money, flowers where ordered on the way home for my other half with a nice note about her now not having a bottoms shelf in the freezer.

Thanks again mate, now to see these in a pike mouth as it comes to the surface to be netted!!

Troutin' About.......

Late on Sunday night with nothing really to do and a pint of maggot left over from the previous days session myself and my uncle decided on visiting a remote out of the way part of a local river that a friend had whispered to us could hold a nice fish or two having been seen off a few times on recent visits.  The venue being a nice stroll from the car and with unknown fish it was going to be a risk to devote our full Saturday river session too so this short two hour scouting mission was aimed at filling in a few blanks for us to judge its potential for a full days fishing.

The river was low and clear but seemed to go into a deep hole and then continue round a bend.  The swim afforded a snug fit for two people trotting and the result of the session was a nice selection of perch, dace and gudgeon with the ever present minnow but we also had a trout a piece and i was left gutted at leaving my scales at home with the beauty above which was certainly a personal best trout.  I also had a hook pull on two better fish so plenty of potential for a full trip soon.

The Tide is High Don't Get Left Holdin' On..

I make no attempt to hide the fact that the River Dee is by far my first love when it comes to rivers and one of my hopes is this blog in some way makes up part of the jigsaw that See's anglers being interested in my captures to get on her banks and enjoy her beauty and plentiful fish stocks.    I always love to hear form anglers who have made such a decision based on reading my adventures on the bank and that they have normally been left surprised by their experience of such good fishing.

I do worry sometimes though that a lot for a lot of these people it is their first trip to the River Dee and I don't think i do enough to promote the dangers that go with this river.  One of the main dangers on the river dee are the tides and i am filled with fear when i read comments on forums where people say not to worry about the tides as they don't reach as high as Farndon! The not only reach farndon but go above it.

Whenever i know i am visiting the River Dee the first thing i check is the Tides chart at Liverpool and i use the link below:-

River Dee Tides:

A simple rule is that if the tide is higher than 9m on the chart above then it will incoming tidal bore will reach over the weir in Chester and start to back up the river.  A lot of the swims as you move up the river can look very appealing, a shingle bank at Almere ferry is a prime example when you can get caught out easily.  

My best advise if you see tides over 9m:
1. Know what time the tide is expected
2. Be sensible and if swim is low don't take too much gear to peg
3.  Place a stick on the water level when you arrive so you can spot the rise happening
4. Don't be put off by the river backing up and flowing the other way this can offer some of the best sport.
Congratulations On First River Dee Barbel.......

A good month of two ago i received a message on social media from an angler who had put in a few sessions on the river dee hoping to connect with an elusive river dee barbel but was just after a few pointers on tactics and if he was going about it the right way.  The question around river dee barbel is one i get asked about a lot as i have been quite fortunate to have crossed paths with one or two in my tine fishing the dee.  These fish are spreading more and more each year but still remain a challenge for any angler looking to put a tick next to the River Dee barbel box.

I have receive a lot of emails around river dee barbel and past experiences of anglers asking for exact swims, bait, length of hook length and even where to cast in the swim left me wondering just how much effort they have already put into doing it like i did for myself.  Some emails anglers had not even done a single session or even fished the dee just wanted the glory of saying they had caught one, where is the achievement in that?

Ian was different this guy had put in more than a few trips to the dee for these fish, blogging his trips through facebook and on his email he didn't want to know any of the above that others had asked only if what he was doing was right and if i thought he was in the right area, he was ban on on both counts and i knew it was only a matter of time.

This week after i think it was 6 blanks in the same area he got in touch with the news of his capture, a well earned fish and i know Ian said to me he know wants to catch a proper one but no matter of size this fish is a priceless capture, well earned and well deserved.  Well done mate a fish caught the proper way and a lesson to all about how to go about achieving goals you set and i am sure Ian would agree had he been told the exact swim etc etc and not had the blanks the capture would not have felt as good.

Piking Sessions With Some Bite......

In the past week or so I have managed to get out on the bank for two evenings pike fishing with Garry in search of some pre season pike action.  The first session the dead bait rods where left at home and this was simply down to the hot conditions.  The day time temperatures where still well into double figures and with plenty of fish topping it just felt like deads where going to be a waste of time.  It was a one rod approach from me and Garry went armed with a pike rod and a lure rod hoping to lure a fish to the shimmer and dazzle of his trusted lure, the Judge!

I don't know what it is about pike fishing but as soon as that bait hits the water i am expecting a instant reaction from a pike.  I guess this comes from my pike fishing rivers where most of the time i am fishing for a pike that has found me not the other way round.  The first two swims showed no signs of fish despite our exquisitely placed baits in obvious pike lairs but alas the pike where conspicuous by their absence.

We moved swims again leap frog style and eventually a pike was coaxed into following a lure in and pulling away at the last minute.  A hungry pike in the area both rods where placed in the margin and the lottery of which rod would go began.  The pike gods shone on my bait as the float slid away and i struck into the fish only for it to let go, line relaxed i waited for its return and again the float went and this time i gave it a little longer before striking and thankfully the fish was on.  Only a jack but it was more than welcome.

We fished on into dark but we only managed one more take and it took until it was so dark we could only just make out the floats in the darkness.  The run went to Garry and he had the fish on for a a while before the fish spat the hooks.  I must admit i was gutted as when a few of you head out you always hope you all get a fish for your efforts.  Thankfully a few days later he was out again and i nipped up to meet him with my daughter and he settled the score with the pike and put this nice jack on the bank, a capture my little girl loved and called "Big Fish!!"

The next outing we had came on the Wednesday and it was a right spare of the moment session arranged in the afternoon in work.  We travelled light and with one dead bait rod each a lure rod for Garry and a simple wobbled sprat rod for myself we set about covering some water we had done well in last year.  The evening really warm and the midge flies out in force biting us at will we persevered through the pain barrier in search of an esox.  The warm sticky evening left me feeling less than confident in the deads but i was optimistic on the wobbled sprat but alas it was not to be and it was "the Judge" lure that again sparked a reaction from a pike as it nailed the lure.  A epic feisty fight endured with a pike that had quite clearly had its weetabix and then some.  Some pike you can just tell they are going ti be trouble on the bank, you can see it in their eyes and this one looked full of mischief and i was not wrong as he did his best to make a mess but confident and assured handling and unhooking soon saw this jack tamed on the bank as it had in the water and ready for its picture.

It always great to see the pike feeding so well but it has been obvious from speaking to pikers and also our experiences on the bank that the pike are not interested in deads at the moment and are still up for a moving bait.   We endured the midge fly bites into dark before calling it a night and checking my face in the car mirror i looked every bit like the elephant man.  A great catch up session and one of many this season i hope.  The next day in work my best friend was a tub of Anthisan and Germolene, i was itching off and bit all over, even on my legs through thick jeans, how is it even possible?

Short Dane Session.....

Saturday saw us returning back to the banks of the River Dane for our normal fishing session and we chose to target an area we had done well in earlier in the season.  This river is so quiet with anglers we took our time selecting our swims for the morning session we had planned.

All set in i settled in a swim i had done well in before while my uncle tired a new swim further down stream hoping to discover some new fishing.  knowing the depth quite well from recent trips i set up my 17ft rod and the reason for this was simply down to control.  Experience in this swim has taught me that from first light till around 9am it can be a bite a chuck but from then on in you need to be fishing right far over to get the fish.

The early exchanges for me where good, bites wise i was getting a bite a chuck, only problem being the fact the fish where small chublets, you know the ones you cant tell if there dace or chub there that small. The problem with a big group of chublets in front of you is the sheer amount of bait like maggots they can eat.  A decent shoal in your swim and very little of your bait, if any, gets to to the point down stream you are putting your hemp.

The only way around this i could think of was to mix up some heavy ground bait and lace it with hemp and maggot.  This was fed where i was feeding my hemp and this combined with casting a bit further down stream saw me starting to pick some different species up as they settled in bed of bait, one such fish was this perch shown below.

When you can get a better bed of bait down on the bottom on this river you start to attract the better fish as the session goes on and the inclusion of ground bait i have found brings the bream onto the bait as well.  Over the next hour or so the skimmers started to come with regularity, never one a chuck but the odd one sprinkled between roach and dace.

The swim continued to tick over till around 9am when all action completely died and it is happening a lot on this river, whether its pike or the fact the low conditions spook the fish i am left with no solid evidence to this only it happens more often than not.  The odd fished being picked up was nothing compared to the fish i was getting earlier on and even the small chub on the far line had dried up.

There is one fish that you do not catch too often on the river and to be honest its a fish that most river anglers never like to see as it is synonymous with a completely dead swim, that fish is the Ruffe.  The fish is very much like a perch only smaller and lighter coloured.

We decided to call it a day not long after this capture as no more fish where forthcoming.  My final net was quite a good result for the short session on the river.

As i was bringing my net out there was an almighty stink coming from it and it was one of those smells that makes your instantly feel sick.  Looking in my keep net i saw a unusual fish in the mix that was almost pink.  Looking closer revealed it to be a part digested fish and i can only imagine it was spewed up by one of the small perch in the net.  The fact the perch where not massive and had spewed up such a fish shocked me but there can be no other answer.

Well that's it for this weeks blog, i wish you all tight lines this weekend,


Friday, 12 September 2014

River Dee Fishing and First Pondip Article Published

A warm welcome to this weeks blog update I hope i find you well and your nets full.  In this weeks update we travel to the banks of the River Dee hoping to find the shoals of dace we found on our previous trips but things don't always go to plan so with a big decision to stick or move to be made will our choice pay off?? 

First Pondip Blog Published!!

Link to Article:

This week marked a huge milestone in my angling life away from the bank as my first ever piece of writing for another site apart from my own went live.  The long term sufferers of my blog know my stlye on here is very much a "as i would say it to your face" style with very little in the way of the normal This is how to catch fish or this is how you should be fishing information in there.  This is on purpose as I like my blog to be something that  comes across as relaxed and a blog people can read that is reflects myself as one everyday angler who likes to go fishing and share his experiences of the day and the fishing. 

The brief for some of the blogs i am going to be writing for Pondip is very different as they blogs are going to be more around my techniques and tips for actually catching fish and for me this presented a huge step away from my normal blog.   I decided to write the article on a type of fishing i have done all my life and where it all began for me, my local canal. I nervously submitted the piece last month and at the time i was unsure if the piece would be of a standard for them to publish so i have kept quiet about it on the blog and Social Media through fear it would fall flat on its face but early last week i received an email saying the piece had been published on their blog and they were really happy with it, i was over the moon and the day it went live was a really proud day for myself, i was over the moon and hopefully there will be more to come.

Royal Mail Problems!!

With the Pike fishing fast approaching my evenings when not fishing or writing my blog have been spent bidding on Pike terminal tackle on EBay and i have managed to snare the odd bargain.  Last week i mentioned that some of the tackle i have been ordering had arrived but the most important parcel had still not arrived in my possession and it was quite possibly the most important parcel of the lot as it contained the Crimps, Crimp Pliers and hooks to construct my pike rigs.  The Parcel reference entered into the Royal Mail order tracker revealed it had been posted fine and dandy on the 28th August and was in the Royal Mails possession.  Tuesday the 10th September i received the phone call the package had arrived at my home and about time it was too and although it was being delivered from Ireland in the past i have ordered stuff from China that has arrived in 2 days!! 

At this point i was just glad it has arrived and its contents where all as should be..

The Pike Trace Building Begins.....

All the component's ready and waiting I was like a kid in a sweet shop as late on Tuesday night after publishing the midweek blog update i say down at the table and laid all the different items of tackle purchased over the past few weeks out on the table.

Two items of the tackle have nothing to do with the construction of the rigs and are born from watching how a fellow piker, Garry, went about his piking last year and little tips picked up to make life easier.  Firstly a Rig Bin to store all my traces in, my god the amount of times i cut myself on rigs in those plastic packaging's or put my hand inside my tackle box for my forceps to be met with the tip of a stray treble!  Lesson leaned all my traces will now being stored in a spacious Fox Rig bin.  The next is the quick change swivels, a huge part of the appeal with pike fishing is how quick you can be fishing and i am an angler that loves leaving as much of the rod set up as possible and last year that included the trebles placed on an eye and the rod split in two, again loose trebles find everything especially when unloading from a car boot at home so this quick change link means i can easily unclip the treble at the end of the session and fold the rod up happy there are not hooks to catch anything and also on the plus side when setting up its a quick put together of the rod, attach trace and bait and I'm away.

 On a really short evening session after work that may only be a hour or hour and half this can make a huge difference.

My second ever attempt at a pike trace as i din one last year on the bank but this is my first on my own and apart form the trebles being just a bit too far apart i am happy with that as a first attempt and certainly a solid base to build from.

Mid-week Blog Goes Live...

The past few months i have been really fortunate to have not only got out on the bank quite a bit but also been lucky enough to have some really memorable trips along the way.  As such i have been in a situation where i have a lot of trips to write about but to put them all on a Fridays blog and it not be pages long would be difficult and as these trips where so different i wanted to try and capture the sesisons in full by writing an update for each.

These updates going live midweek some times go under the radar as they are only live for two or three days so i thought from now on i would include a link in the following Friday.  This midweek one was a trip to the River Dane where we hoped for a nice net of silvers, what we found was very different and more sinister........but great fun!!!


And with that its on to this weeks fishing.........

River Dee: Being Prepared to move...

Heading out to the river we had a fair idea of where we wanted to fish and arrived well before sunrise to make sure we were all ready for setting up in the headlamps of the car.  We had travelled to the same are i had fished recently and done well for a double figure net of dace.  My uncle set up in a swim i had fished in the evening a few weeks ago and had trouble with line across the river and i set up in the swim below a bridge on a fast bend where i knew i would find it difficult but if the fish where around i could get a few.  

My uncle fishes a stick different to myself and also feeds his swim differently so he was confident of not having to risk snagging on the line as he hoped to get the fish where he wanted them under his feet.  The dawn breaking i made my first cast of the session and almost as to fit with the beautiful scenery a kingfisher shimmered upstream just as my float came to rest. 

The light barely enough to make out a float i under shot the float so i could see quite a bit of the tip and began trotting hoping that the fast flow would induce a violent bite that would see the float bury.  The first few trots down all that came back was a snotted maggot and not a sign of a bite.  As the light improved i shot the float right down to a mere pimple and i began to see the bites and they where like lightning a swift dip on the float and that was all you got, reeling in revealed a bait with just the tip taken, a sure sign of small fish.

I did hit the odd bite and was proved right with really small dace coming to the net and in the space of 2 hours of a bite a chuck trotting i had converted it to around 10 fish in the keep net with one proper dace.
net of fish

The nature of river fishing means that you can sometimes be out of sight of the person you are fishing with and only see them two or three times during a session as you visit each others peg for a brew.  The first trip to each others pegs is always a litmus test for how the session is going for the other person, if the fishing is going well it can be a few hours as the with trotting you never want to leave a feeding peg.  It also works the other way and looking up the river form my peg i noticed my uncles peg was vacant ans i could hear the swishing of his waterproof pants as he approached my peg, i knew then he was having the same poor start as me.

My uncle had hit the snag twice and was also getting the same fast bites and hitting the odd small dace like myself.  It was decision time, do we stay and hope the better fish come or do we move to a new area of river all together?  A quick look in the margins at the hoards of fry answered the question for us as they devoured maggots, if that was going on in the river and we had a big head of fry in front of us we were going to struggle and neither of us had enough bait to feed them off so we decided on a a change of venue. 

A quick chat in the car and we set off for a new venue on the River Dee and settled for some crazy mad idea we settled on Eccleston Ferry.  It may sound silly me saying its a mad idea but i have to say before this session here it was certainly mine and my uncles bogey venue where i think we could count the amount if fish caught on one hand between the pair of us. 

We left the car in the car park and walked the bank and the first thing that we noticed was the fact the pegs had been taken out, a walker told us and i don't know how true it is but an angler slipped on them in the ice and sued the land owner!if true the so called angler needs his or her head testing this is fishing and you are not on a commercial now you are at your own risk, so thank you for ruining some very rare comfortable river fishing, idiot., you cant blame the land owner for taking that action and a classic case of the minority ruining it for the majority, a common theme on the dee it seems with the loss of almere being linked to idiots being abusive. 

Walking the bank we finally found a few signs of fish topping and they were in a tight 100 yard length it seemed.  I set up in the margins with my box in the water while my uncle set up down stream on a small tuft.  I had just folded my 13ft rod in half when leaving the previous area but plumbing up i instantly hit a problem as with my float as deep as it would do i still could not fish on the bottom, a very deep area. 

After all the messing around in the morning the last thing i felt like doing was setting up from scratch but it had to be done so it was away with the 13ft rod and out with the 17ft rod.  I also changed floats at this point from a 8 number 4 to a 3 gram bolo float simply due to the depth.  Around a hour and half into the fishing my uncle popped a long and he had been doing quite well with around 2o dace in his net with steady bites to boot.  I at this point had around 4 fish in the net but what i was catching was roach and nice ones to boot but just not as prolifically as my uncle was catching.

while my uncle was at my peg i connected with a better fish and my uncle clocked me playing it up straight away but it was certainly pulling back and although i made it look bigger than it was we were both happy to see a nice chublet grace the landing net.

After discussing the choice to set up in the main boating channel on the River dee we returned to the fishing and after messing around with my shotting to get the float to settle so just the tip of the bristle was showing i began to put together a few fish in succession and it was obvious that there was a decent shoal of roach in the swim and it must have been a shoal of just roach as this was the only fish i was connecting with.

The general stamp of roach i was catching was quite impressive, not massive fish but put up a great fight in the depth of water.

At around noon to 12.30 my uncle nipped along for another brew and at this point i had gone a hour without a bite and so had my uncle.  The normal reason on the Dee for this is a pike moving in your swim but in such a depth of water presenting a bait to them down deep was something i was not tackled up for so i continued to persevere with the feeding and slow trot through the swim.  The odd cast further out did bring one or two fish but it was a good two hours till i connected with my next flurry of bites as three fish came in three casts.  The magic and wonder of river fishing is how quickly you go from nothing to catching it can be like turning a light switch one.

Again the fish were roach but with the fourth fish in as many casts splashing on the surface there was a swirl over the bait and there was extra weight on the line, a pike had taken the fish, as the fish was up on top i could quite clearly see the pike and it was only slightly bigger than the roach it had taken and had in its mouth.  I continued to reel in but at the last moment it spat out the roach. 

The picture below shows what damage even a small pike can do to a fish and looking at the bigger picture it could have been this pike in hunting mode in the swim why the swim dies for 2 hours.  The damage done by this small pike to this roach was terminal and shows just how veracious pike can be and more than likely the pike would have returned to claim the fish after it has died.

Nature in its most raw and brutal form.

I mentioned above that it might have been the pike that killed the swim and the rest of the session went to prove it as no sooner had i cast back out the swim was alive with roach and i got into a rhythm of catching steadily and thoroughly enjoyed a good hour and half's fantastic roach fishing culminating in this plump yet oddly shaped roach that put up a great fight.

On our fishing session me and my uncle normally pack in at the same time but on this occasion i admit to indulging in some roach fishing as i fished on for another 20 minutes.

my net

The final net was one of the best nets of fish i have had from the dee of 10lb 5oz, i say its one of the best as for me fishing the river my nets are normally made up entirely of dace with the odd roach.  This entire net was roach apart from one dace and one chub and maybe the odd gudgeon.

My uncles net was the opposite and was entirely dace with a few roach and a small chub and just shows how one stretch of river can have such different results.

uncle net

till next time i hope you enjoyed my write up of my fishing and let me know if you like the new layout with the introduction and how its more broken up.

tight lines


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

First River Dane Pike As Fish Go Crazy!!

A warm welcome to this midweek update to the blog i hope i find you all well and your nets wet.  In this update i will be covering an evening session i had a week or so ago on the River Dane and i hope to get across how in time you can really get in tune with the rivers you fish and just by how and where the fish are feeding and how they are behaving you can associate this with other things below the surface and what else could be going on in your swim.

Lets Get on to this midweek update...

River Dane Evening Session Stick Float Chasing Pike

As many regular blog readers will know myself and my uncle are anglers that like to get out on the bank really early on Saturday mornings to be set up for first light but sometimes it just is not possible as life and family will always come first and the morning of this session my cousin had a hospital appointment which meant our session would be an midday into evening session on one of our local Rivers.   We have really put the time in over the past few years with the rivers, this blog is testament to that, the upshot of this is we are now spoilt with a whole manner of productive fishing spots on rivers to visit and although we are still discovering the moods of the rivers like the Dane and the Bollin we are travelling to the river of late trying to match the conditions to the right river and location and so far this year we have not done to bad. 

Approaching the motorway we still had not decided on where we were heading and it was not until we approached our turn off we decided that a trip to the River Dane was the place for us.  We travelled to an area we had fished a month or so ago and done ok for dace and chublets but it was the odd better chub we we had been catching that we hoped to slip our landing net under on this session.  The day before our trip it had rained quite a bit so we knew that this rain, although nit effecting the levels, would add some much needed colour to the river and as we parked the car and got our first glimpse of the river we both commented what a great colour it had.  I call it the colour of weak tea where you can barely see the bottom but it is still visible in the margins.  For some rivers this colour can be a kiss of death but for others like the dane and bollin it gives the fish confidence to feed confidently. 

The Himalayan balsam still high i crunched my way though their watery fragile stems till i found the river.  The  presence of a rod rest made out of stick left in the ground  meant the swim had obviously been fished quite recently and i could see why as it had a fast flow down the middle where the flow was pushed together by two trees upstream but it was the inside line that intrigued me as there was a nice slack with just a touch if flow that then lead down to a over hanging tree towards the bottom of the smooth trot. 

The rod still set up from a roving session on the Bollin a few days earlier i was soon set up and ready to start mapping out the swim a little.  Although the water was coloured i was surprised to find the depth down the middle was no more than a foot or two, not good.  Next it was the inside line and i found again a shallow depth under my feet but plumbing up only a foot or so further down the inside line i noticed it dropped off into a deeper run of around 5-6ft, perfect. 

I knew the fish could be any where a long the inside line but in my mind i am always thinking about getting the fish where i want them so i can catch as many as possible during the session and in this swim my plan was to get the fish a few yards down the swim on my inside line where it dropped off, it was so slow a trot the maggots would be nearly dropping straight down to the bottom in that first few feet.   

Feeding maggot and hemp i began to get bites straight away from tiny dace fry and gudgeon and the odd small roach and began putting a few fish in the net, nothing major but a nice start.

Bites are all you are looking for at this early stage as you know your bait is getting down and there is nothing better for confidence than catching fish with mouth fulls of maggot and this is what was happening during this session and with Gudgeon being bottom feeders i felt confident the session would build on the promising early start.  

The size of the fish i was catching was nit really increasing with the amount if time fishing as i had hoped so i began to over cast the swim and when i did noticed the flow went down nicely to the overhanging tree and i began to pick up some better quality roach right down the swim, strange i thought as with the swim being so slow why had these fish not moved up on the bait and pushed the gudgeon and smaller fish out?

All the fish i had been catching had come in straight up the swim and fought up the middle of the swim but then i hit one roach who's fight was totally different as it immediately shot into the inside bank almost chub-esque without the burrowing for snags more wanting hide the fact it was distressed.  The fish lifted from the water and placed into the keep net i knew there and then something was nit right, fish not moving up the swim, only catching small bottom fish like gudgeon up the swim and fish darting into the inside cover in quite a distressed manner all pointed to one thing, a predator was in the area but little did i know how close.

The lack of action after this fish almost certified the fact there was a predator about as it was a good 30 minutes till i hit the next fish and it was a big dace.  As you can see from the top picture i was sat quite low to the river and just as i was about to slide my landing net down to net the dace a nice pike rolled at the fish but a i somehow managed to pull the fish from its dart.  

With silver fishing there really is only one thing to do when you know there is a pike around in your swim and that is to try and catch the pike and release it upstream away from your swim.  As a silver angler on the rivers i always carry a pike rod ready set up for this reason and it is quite simply to move the pike on as a pike in your swim 9/10 means no bites.  I quickly cast to a far bank slack hoping to find a fish on the other bank away form my swim and it worked a treat as i quickly had a small roach to put in as bait, with the pike rolling right near my keep net i did not want to disturb the pike who i knew would be just waiting for an easy meal. 

Out went a small roach bait and for a while the bait just swam round but then with a huge amount of commotion the pike came head and shoulders out of the water and in the air bait in mouth turned and dived for the depths in a spectacular take.  I have caught a lot of pike in my time in this way but dont think i have ever seen such a dramatic take.   The pike looked about the size of the one i had seen roll in the margin and on such a small river i was confident it was the same fish.  The fish was a dramatic as the take as the fish shook its head in defiance as it tried to spit the hooks but eventually i slid the net under a nice solid but lean pike weighing exactly 6lb and my first ever River Dane Pike. 

More than made up with this capture i savoured the moment and admired the sight of my first river dane pike and i remembered the opposite feeling i had when i lost a pike earlier on in the season on this river.  You have to remember these moments as they help you truly appreciate the highs of getting one on the bank and admiring it in all its beauty and it was beautiful with its vast array of vibrant colours including some really nice golden spots and bright orange fins.

The fish returned i settled back into my peg.  After a pike actively feeding in your swim and then the erratic fight of capturing it which normally involves the whole of the swim and plenty of disturbance from the pike being so aggressive at the end of the fight trying to throw the hooks it is always going to take some time to get the silver fish coming to your bait again.  The amount of time for the fish to come back is drastically increased in winter tough as the need to feed soon outweighs the fear of being eaten although your chances of another hungry pike moving in is also drastically increased in the colder months.

We are most certainly now moving into those colder months and as mentioned in Fridays blog the signs are all around us both above and below the water and this session summed up the changes below the water for sure.  Trotting the swim not a lot changed in the next hours fishing as the roach held right down stream and i could only pick up gudgeon close in and i knew something was not right, i cant explain it really its just a feeling you get and low and behold retrieving a small dace my line all went solid as a pike grabbed hold of the fish half way up the swim.

Now it is always hard to tell the size of a pike compared to a previous one on a light float rod but this felt solid and there was no moving this fish off the bottom.  The fish came slowly up the fast flow in front of me before turning side on causing line to scream from the reel.  I was sure at this point the fish knew something was not right but like in all these occasions when you hook pike or have a fish taken you lighten your drag with the hope you can tease the pike into a net able position,  The fish had some power i can tell you that as time and time again it would move under its own steam up the swim before it felt the pressure of me trying ti bring it in the the side before it shot down stream again and unfortunately on one of these turns my fragile hook length must had ran across its teeth as the line came back towards me,  I was not gutted really as you always know the odds are well against you getting these pike in what with the chances of the fish getting the small hook in its mouth and not connecting with its teeth and then of course there is the scenario the fish simply has hold of the fish and spits it out at the last minute.

Moving on i tied on a new hook and was back trotting the swim which was as dead as swims come and then one of the weirdest things happened.  I got to the end of a trot by the lower tree and was returning the float across the top when a pike swirled at the 10 number 4 stick float as i was retrieving it.  It was in the area the pike i had lost had gone to in it s last run but surely not the same fish, it was a big swirl though certainly a nice fish.  I am never one to pass up on an opportunity so i grabbed for the pike rod again and rather than casting to the pike downstream which would put me in all kinds of trouble i let the bait swim round just in the slack down stream as if it was hungry the 10-15 distance would be noting and it would find the bait.

The float trundled around for a good few minutes before i jumped out of my skin and quite literally nearly fell off my basket as the water in front of me erupted as a pike nailed the bait.  The fish felt solid even on my pike rod and out in the flow there was no bullying this fish and i will never know if this was the same fish but the fight was certainly identical as the fish made hard long line striping runs up and down the swim in one of the best fights from a pike i have ever had this was one fit river athlete.

The fight was a battle of attrition as the steely aggressive pike would make defiant runs for the inside bank with the water being coloured i could not see any sign of the fish as it held hard on the bottom.  At this stage i knew it was a better fish than the previous one just by the power but i was quite calm in the fight.  This was until the fish eventually come up thought the water column and when a big head and shoulder broke the surface almost like a crocodile hunting the wildebeest in Africa, at the sight of this all you could hear was me shouting "Az,  Az,  AZZA!!! come give us a hand netting this"  While my uncle was making his way to my peg the fish came up and glided into the bank and i was not going to chance the net and the hook getting stuck and this fish going so leaning down i slid my fingers under its gill flaps and with a firm grip chinned the pike out, on the bank she looked a nice fish but would she be a double?

It was straight into the weigh sling and on the scales and i was delighted to see them go round to 10lb 14oz.

The fish was easily one of the most beautiful pike i have ever caught and i was over the moon with the great pictures my uncle took on the night a fish captured caught in a photo i have not stopped looking at since its capture and i am still buzzing.

Time for one more picture before its release....

The last hour of the session went by in a blur and i think i only had the one bite right on last knocking which was the best silver fish of the night in a a nice chub.

The final net not really testament to the potential of this swim as with so many pike active its hard to judge how well it would have been had the fish felt safe enough to move up the swim.

I leave you with a small video of the session i put together.

Till next time tight lines