River Dove 06-12-14

This was my second visit to the River Dove and I headed for an area recommended by a Dove regular last week. One of the drawbacks of fishing a new stretch of river is the lack of knowledge not only about the swims and where the fish can be found but also simple things like where the car park is and how to get across the fields to the river, it isn’t always obvious and club map books can sometime be a little vague.

OS MapI’d bought an OS map of the area covering the entire stretch available to me, the sat nav let me down last week and I was reading maps long before satellites were launched or Google Earth even thought of. I found the track leading down to the car park and set off across the nearest field finding what I thought was the Mill Fleam (a small brook) as the book described but as there was no obvious way around it I retraced my steps and ended up back at the car park.

This turned out to be a blessing as I realised I’d left my side lights on and had I not noticed a flat battery would have resulted upon my return, I doubt very much the RAC would have easily found me in such a remote location. Another look at the map and I figured out which gate the map book referred to.

The field was muddy around the track area and required careful navigation to avoid getting bogged down but eventually I picked my way through and reached the Mill Fleam. Knowing this led to the river I followed it for a hundred yards or so and sure enough it ran into the Dove at a very chubby looking spot, the book suggest good sport can be found in the Mill Fleam when the main river was in flood and I can well imagine some decent sized specimens taking refuge from a raging river in this side stream, it had John Wilson written all over it!!

The Mill Fleam meets the Dove, is that a chub holding spot or what?

I decided to come back to that area later on and walked a further 150 yards downstream to a lovely looking swim, couple of features on the far bank to cast to and a steady pace for some trotting later on, it was 11:30am and I planned to spend no more than half an hour in each swim.

I was using a method that had worked last week, a black cap feeder filled with hemp and cheese paste on the hook but after half an hour of no interest it was becoming obvious that the sudden drop in temperatures had switched the feeding fish off. Every now and again a light aircraft passed overhead and I figured this was a route for flying lessons, it proved tricky to get a good photo but when the fishing is slow I’ll often turn to photography to pass the time.

After a couple of hours I wanted to explore the rest of the stretch so leaving the gear behind and armed with my camera I wandered off down stream. What struck me immediately is the sheer diversity of a typical small river, every bend revealing a different run of water to go at. There is also an abundance of wildlife which, if you sit still long enough, shows itself without any fear. I returned, collected my tackle and spent the hours of darkness roving downstream, it was a cold moonlit night and I knew there was little chance of a fish but at every tempting looking swim I stopped and cast a line giving it twenty minutes before moving onto the next. At 10pm I reeled in for the last time and headed back to the warmth of the car which, due to my earlier good fortune, started first time. Here’s a gallery of photos that capture the beauty of this river in winter, I can’t wait to see it in full bloom come June next year.

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I’ll leave this weeks post at that, suffice to say the Dove had the upper hand but as I’ve said before it’s not about the catching, if it was I’d have given up a long time ago!!


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