River Wye 01-03-14 First visit to the river Wye for me….. and I almost didn’t make it!!
Two weeks previously I’d returned to the river Dane with Phil Chatterton for what should have been a guided session but as it turned out I didn’t get there till 3pm having had to look after my son who was complaining of tummy ache. As I reported in February’s Blog entry Phil had plodded on and despite the rising river and horrendous weather conditions stuck it out until at 5pm we parted company and I settled into my evening swim, two hours later I caught my second double figure barbel in as many weeks.
Back home it was obvious that Adam had more than just a tummy ache and a quick visit to the GP’s on the Monday resulted in a call from my wife to say they were in Alder Hey children’s hospital waiting to be seen by the surgical team, Adam had a suspected appendicitis.
I left work and headed down there, “Have you had your appendix out dad?” he asked expectantly “Of course I have son, you don’t need it as we stopped eating tree bark a million years ago and your street cred will rocket with a well good scar!!” That seemed to ease his anxiety so we went through the operation, standard procedure but they did say it was ready to pop and quite infected. Five days later and he was home, still sore and looking in need of a good meal and a good nights sleep but he was home. Obviously I gave the fishing a miss and instead looked after Adam who was glad to be in his own bed after a week.
The Wye trip was planned around the Chub Study Groups AGM, I’d applied to join last October when my good mate Phil Hatton had kindly put me forward, the CSG have a capped membership so it was a privilege to be given the opportunity to join this merry band of chevin chasers. My season had focussed on chub from the start and I’d had a typical chub season full of frustration and missed bites but rewarded occasionally with a nice chevin or two my best reaching 4lb 9oz which is a good fish on the Dane.
A 5am start on the Friday saw us head off on the 120 mile journey as we’d booked two days fishing on a stretch known for its chub, barbel and salmon. After a hearty breakfast in Leominster we arrived at our beat around 10am. We walked most of the stretch and admired the sheer beauty of the place, they don’t call it ‘Gods own river’ without good cause.
The recent floods had led to a few anxious moments leading up to the trip but the week before had seen levels finally drop to around a few feet above normal so I wasn’t too surprised to see it looking a fairly decent colour and not pushing through anywhere near as fast as it had been.
After much searching around I’d eventually bought an Allcocks Match Aerial centre pin, something I’d promised myself for Christmas, it certainly looked the part, all I needed now was a Wye chub to christen it so we started fishing.
First cast was close in the margins but even at a rod length I was in a good depth of water so keeping with my Dane tactics I fished a nice lump of paste and a size 6 hoping an unsuspecting chub would be tempted. After a couple of hours I had a wander downstream and could see why the salmon fishing would be so good, the width of the river was vast in places and reminded me of the river Ribble but at the end of the beat the swim I settled in just screamed out to be fished with the rod tip high keeping the line out of the faster flowing water.
Eventually I made my way back to the chaps who had a few bites but, as yet, no fish on the bank. As the sun set behind the trees we gathered our tackle and headed back to the car park, with a full day planned and likely looking swims spotted we looked forward to an evening in the famous Red Lion pub for the gathering of the CSG and swapped tales of the days adventures.
The next day we left the B&B after a full english breakfast and headed off to meet up with Phil and Dave around 9:30am. Young Ash had over done it slight on the local brew but was in a buoyant mood for the journey. We arrived to find a couple of cars already in the car park which was a little unexpected but on closer inspection we discovered it was the water keeper and his mate who’d opened up the house and had a roaring fire on the go along with a nice hot brew and chocolate digestive, perfect!!
The former stables had been sympathetically converted and inside just oozed rural charm, I’d have happily set my bedchair up in front of the wood burner and spent the night toasting muffins and dreaming of the famous Wye residents.
Eventually we gathered our kit together and I headed off upstream for a spot of trotting along the inside line, the sun was shining and the wind had dropped sufficiently to allow a big chunk of bread flake to float naturally into what, I hoped, was the path of my first Wye chub. I tried three different swims to no avail until Ash walked up and declared tea and cake was being served in the car park.
I set my new brolly up having had a bit of a nightmare with lesser models in recent high winds and Big Dave tried it out for size, it measured up well and was met with positive comments.
Over tea I learnt of Dave’s success, a chub of 4lb from a raft in a back eddy on the float. Apparently he fancied the raft for a quick bite and just dropped his paste in for five minutes but almost immediately his float slid away so he lifted it out not realising a chub had sucked it under until Phil pointed out the obvious!! He dropped it in once more and it slid away again this time having figured out what to do he struck and the rest as they say is history. The photo is still on Phil’s camera which once he’s had the film developed I’ll insert it in the Blog here (joking!!).
After lunch we decided to head back to the swims we’d fished the day before, the flow had slowed down to a good walking pace and we settled in for the evening. I fished between two bushes in the hope of quick take but it didn’t happen so when we regrouped for a brew I took my baited rod and poached Phil’s swim after seeking the necessary permission!!
I also learned of Dave’s second chub this time 4lb 2oz and this time with photo, well done matey you certainly had the best of the fishing.
The sunset was stunning and into dusk I had resigned myself to a blank but having came, saw and not quite conquered the river Wye. Will I be back? great company, great venue and a fantastic experience hell yeah, I’ll be back very soon.
Farm Pool 15-03-14
It was two weeks later and the first day of the close season before I managed to get out fishing again. When I arrived home on the Sunday evening from the Wye trip Adam was feeling poorly again, he had the worrying signs of a ‘tummy bug’ so after last time we took him along to Alder Hey. Eventually after a number of tests they told us he had a secondary infection and would need further surgery to sort it out. Complications during surgery led to a further 10 days stay in hospital for my little mate and it was with great relief that his tests came back OK for him to eventually go home on the Friday. As I write it’s been two weeks since then and thankfully he’s getting better as each day passes.
When the weather eventually warms up I’ve promised to take him fishing, nothing too strenuous just a chill out session on a local club water will do the trick, for both of us I think.
Once the family was settled back at home and with full blessing from Mrs Roberts I started to get ready for a 24hr session on Farm Pool. It’s not really an overnight venue which is why I chose to go there, if I’m honest all I wanted to do was set up by the side of a lake, read my book and go asleep.
Saturday morning and work had other ideas, an out of hours fault had developed on calls into our Equine Centre resulting in yours truly spending most of the day on the phone to our service provider and I started to wonder if I’d ever go fishing again!!
By 6pm all was sorted and I was on my way. I arrived well into dark but the walk to my favourite peg by the cattle drink is all of 25 yards and after months of trudging up and down river banks it really was more like a skip than a walk. I was set up within an hour but didn’t cast out straight away, instead I baited up a rod length out with hemp and caster and relaxed reading a chapter or two of my book. This I found served two purposes firstly it allowed the resident fishies to find my free offerings and start to have a feed and secondly it unwound the coiled spring in my head that earlier that day felt like I was turning into fekin Zebedee!!
I attached a small isotope to a beautiful hand made bobber float that Bill had kindly given me and cast out for what seemed like the first time in a month. It was a historic moment as I’d dug out my 13′ float rod from my childhood days and paired it with a Mitchell Match reel generously donated by my mate Mark Johnson. The float settled and I watched the green glow as it moved gently under the moonlight, after a minute or two it bobbed under and I struck into the first of hopefully many much needed fish, a skimmer bream of 4oz not by any means a ‘netter’ but it was a fish and my first still water fish of the close season. I reeled in for the night at 2am after a flurry of roach and skimmers “Time for bed” said Zebadee and I was out like a light.
The next morning I awoke to the bleeting of sheep, mehhhh, mehhhh, mehhhh oh for goodness sake ladies it’s 6am, it wasn’t I’d overslept the alarm and it was more like 8am, still when I peered around the brolly it was as if Spring had well and truly sprung. there in front of me was a large flock of sheep complete with lambs and all numbered like a football team.
They looked on inquisitively as I got the bacon on, perhaps in hindsight that might have upset them being one of their farm yard brethren but hey ho I was hungry and needs must when there’s a days fishing ahead.
Penno arrived at 9am just in time for a bacon buttie and after a brew and a gab he set up in the next peg and soon discovered he’d forgotten his chair however as us anglers are good at improvising on the bank we found a crate in the back of my car and improvised with a couple of unhooking mats as a cushion.
Fishing the tip close up to the island we soon had the bigger roach on the feed and it wasn’t long before we were both ‘baggin up’ this continued until Phil had to run to pick his daughter up from work but not before our club Chairman Neil had arrived for walk around the lake and a brew.
Seeing as there was now technically a vacated peg Neil was quick to drop on it saying he’d show us how it was done and within minutes he was reeling them in resulting in a very productive hour or so and a great big smile!!
Ash joined us in the afternoon and started looking for the perch around the back of the island but the wind was too strong and he couldn’t keep the float still long enough to let them find the worm he’d dug up earlier. Over another brew we decided Ash would be much better off setting up to my right, there was plenty of bait in that area, he was float fishing and learning how to use the centre pin.
As dusk fell the activity heightened in the pool and I could see why so many summer evening sessions could be so enjoyable and rewarding but on this occasion the cold wind had taken it’s toll and as darkness arrived a solitary tench was the only fish for Ash so we packed up and headed home, my fishing therapy had worked and after a very stressfull month normal service was resumed.
The Lake of Tranquility 22-03-14
The Lake of Tranquility is a three acre spring fed stunning, natural looking match style lake with 40 pegs located in the heart of the Flintshire countryside in Leeswood near Mold. My club had just secured a deal allowing members to fish the lake free of a day ticket charge so I fancied giving it a go.
I’d also ordered an Edgar Sealey fibreglass float rod which would compliment my Mitchell Match for the first of many close season float sessions, unfortunately it hadn’t arrived so I settled for cane and pin. I scaled down my line to 4lb and dug out the size 16’s bought a pint of maggots and I was off. First impressions are very impressive as you descend the rather bumpy track you get your first sight of the lake nestling in amongst a tree lined valley.
I took the easy option and parked in the nearest car park with a short walk to the lake I was soon set up and casting out but instead of going straight on the float I decided to use a maggot feeder and it wasn’t long before the Aerial was letting me know I had a run, a good feisty carp of around 5lb was the end result nailed on a single red maggot.
I’d set the tip rod up and started feeding a spot close to the reeds and first cast I had the most vibrant looking tench I’d seen in a long time it’s golden yellow flanks glistened in the sunshine. It was probably no more than 1lb or so but as soon as it was hooked it I knew it was a tinca, jag jagging on the rod tip.
The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the fishes and feeding the ducks. I concluded that this was a great venue for those who like plenty of varied actions and a bend in the rod, when I finally packed up I’d had carp to 9lb 12oz, bream, tench and a new species for me F1’s.
On the way home I decided another trip was in order and started to plan it out, baits, floats, hopefully the Sealey rod and my Mitchell Match. My passion for traditional angling was growing almost as quickly as my bank balance was decreasing, still I’d reacquainted myself with fishing in it’s simplest form, no latest gizmo’s no fancy rigs just simple baits and even simpler tackle.
The Lake of Tranquility 29-03-14
I decided to travel down on the Friday evening after work and spend another night relaxing by the Lake of Tranquility. As previously on Farm Pool it wasn’t about the fishing, in fact despite arriving about 9pm I didn’t wet a line until gone midnight, it was more about being there for first light and watching the mist roll across the lake and watching tench bubbles rising whilst setting up my float gear in anticipation, well that was the plan.
Setting up in the dark was easy enough, I fished the same peg as last week which must be at least 30 yards from the car so a couple of trips and my brolly was up and bedchair installed. One of my recent Ebay purchases had arrived a Bruce & Walker 14′ float rod, it’s a fibreglass rod with nice whippings and a full length cork hand perfect for a spot of float fishing.
Paired with my Mitchell Match it was eventually pressed into service around midnight using an improvised waggler fitting with a small isotope I was fishing a rod length out and the bites were fairly instant, single maggot on a size 16 took skimmer bream and then roach until I decided it was time to set up a bottom bait and retire to bed.
I’d notionally chucked out a single hair rigged boilie, free offering of boilies are against the fishery rules, a small free running bomb was enough to cast it thirty yards out into the bay which is 10 feet deep in places and I settled into my book something I find has me nodding off within the hour. half an hour was all it took for a hungry carp to find the solitary hook bait and after a decent fight on very light line it was on the bank and having it’s photo taken for this Blog.
I didn’t bother weighing it but gave myself 5lb after putting it back and had a cup of tea to finish off a very relaxing evenings fishing, I reeled in and decided a good nights sleep was worth more than a chance run from another carp, I set the alarm for 5am and went out like the proverbial light.
The alarm sounded and was duly silenced at 5am but not before I’d witnessed that misty dawn creeping across the perfectly still lake, it was a beautiful site but my need for further sleep was greater than my desire to fish so I turned over for another ‘hour’ or so.
It was 8:30am when I finally got out of bed and stretching and scratching as blokes do I found a number of anglers had since arrived and where a little bemused by my rising. Before getting the bacon on I recast the rod with a single piece of corn and a feeder full of bread crumb, sweetcorn, hemp and caster.
This produced a number of fish the better of which were a decent bream of a couple of pound and roach which came on single caster.
Evening arrived and the lake took on a different feeling, one of renewed hope as things had slowed down a bit in the afternoon. First up was a superb looking carp, not quite a crucian but certainly fought well for it’s weight.
The lake became still, the wind had dropped almost completely making it perfect for a float. The sport was good and I had a flurry of captures a real mixed bag to coin a phrase.
Eventually I settled down for the last few hours into darkness and at around 9pm it switched off almost as quickly as it had switched on so I packed up and settled for what had been a most enjoyable 24 hours fishing.
Charity Auction Raising Money For Macmillan Cancer Support
Next month we have the annual Tench Fish-In and this year we’re raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. We’ve got an auction running with twenty lots consisting of some lovely handmade floats and presentation boxes, guided days on the river, memberships for my local club, limited edition prints and a few other items all angling related. If you’d like to take a look at the auction and maybe even place a bid you have until 8pm on Friday 25th April, click here to visit the auction site.
You can also donate directly to the charity via our Just Giving page here, no matter how small every pound counts and you could help us reach our £2000 target simply by giving a couple of pounds now. All auction items will be paid via the Just Giving site which will continue to accept donations for the remainder of 2014.
Thank You!! Your support is very much appreciated and I’ll report back on Tench Fish-In fund raiser in next months Blog as well as my still water exploits during April.
Till next time tight lines, Grazy.