I haven’t been updating my ‘weekly’ Blog recently due to there being little in the way of anything interesting or indeed fish on the bank to report. It’s a difficult time of year for the hardy river angler and a long cold fish-less session doesn’t really make for a good write up.

kingfisher-catch-fishDespite managing to get out every Saturday since the Christmas festivities my enthusiasm has waned, perhaps the close season can’t come soon enough, perhaps the river angler in me needs a well earned rest. What I do know is that although the year got off to a superb start it’s been a struggle ever since. If it’s not a rising and very coloured river or high winds biting through the multiple layers of winter woollies it’s being in the wrong place at the wrong time. To top it off I discovered recently that a swim I fished well throughout 2014 and again last weekend produced nowt for me but the very next day another club member bounds into the same swim and nets himself a 4lb chub first chuck, is it any wonder I’m feeling a little disheartened?

That said I do enjoy looking back on my sessions and apart from the wonderful new PB chub I’ve avoided too much detail to save the poor reader from reaching the depths of despair that I have. Enjoy the photo’s taken mostly on my phone since scratching the lens of my rather expensive Canon rendering it beyond economical repair, that’s another thing that’s added to my ‘doom and gloom’ outlook recently however with nothing to loose I’ll be buying a replacement lens unit and changing it myself, I mean what could possibly go wrong!!

River Dove 29th December 2014

Nothing to see here so move along!! I arrived at 6pm to six inches of frozen snow, I blanked and left at midnight very cold, so cold in-fact the lock on the passenger door had frozen in the open position and I ended up holding it closed with a couple of bungee straps for the long and rather dull 80 mile journey home. Perhaps I shouldn’t of bothered, I was the only angler on the bank and the odds were definitely stacked against me. The only cheerful sight was the Christmas reindeer’s on the edge of the village green.

Reindeers

River Dove 3rd January 2015

Since the end of November I’ve been back to the river Dove almost every week and although I’ve explored another beat called Horseshoe Meadow there is still miles of river to wet my eager line in. I often pour over the maps mid-week planning where to go next so on the 3rd of January I decided to revisit the section I first fished at the end of November.

Although the weather was less than ideal I set up under my brolly and as usually flicked a lump of paste out into the steady flow, the bank was higher than I’d had liked so I kept the rod tip low and and left the bail arm off allowing the bait to free line through the swim. Just after I snapped the bail arm shut the tip gave a little tug and as I struck the familiar thump thump was felt and I was in on only my second cast of the session.

The Avon rod hooped over but always felt in control and as I’d upgraded to 8lb line straight through I wasted no time in playing the fish into the waiting net. On the bank I gave a loud shout of “Oh yes!!” as I realised I could have my first chub of over 5lb, it looked  ever inch a five and it’s girth was bigger than anything I’d handled before. It had taken the bait right down the back of it’s throat and I needed to use the forceps to reach the hook, clearly an opportunist that had taken the Laguna ‘Posh’ cheese paste on the move mid-water.

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I resisted the temptation to weigh it immediately and instead rested it in the margins, it didn’t take long before it was thrashing about impatiently so I lifted up the scales and let out another shout of delight as they settled on 5lb 4oz, a new PB and a significant milestone in my chub fishing to date.

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River Dove 10th January 2015

A week later and I was back to the same stretch only this time on the opposite bank. A chance conversation with another angler at the end of the previous weeks session told me he’d had a PB chub himself which at 6lb 10oz had certainly wet my appetite.

The weather was against me and the strong winds meant finding a slack with some shelter dictated where I would end up which turned out to be opposite the bank I’d had the 5lber from the week before. This was my downfall, firstly the swim was downstream of a huge raft giving the slack water, secondly it was through a hole in the gorse bush and down into a dip giving the shelter and thirdly I was that tired I just set up my chair, got comfy and stayed there. The one golden rule of chub fishing is move frequently so it was no wonder I went home fish-less once again.

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River Dove 17th January 2015

My mate Peters ticket had come through so I had company for this trip and I must admit it renewed my enthusiasm somewhat. We arrived at the river just before 9am and stood on the main bridge admiring the views before setting off downstream to an area I was now familiar with.

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Peter quickly gained his own group of admirers and they watched with as much anticipation as we did. We continued to move downstream until late afternoon when the light was fading we trudged back to where we started for the last couple of hours into darkness.

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Once again we bumped into another angler who told us of 6lb+ chub to be had in the horseshoe, the only other area I’d fished previously, and that just reinforced my resolve to keep trying, maybe it wouldn’t happen this side of the close season but come June I’d be back and, fully rested, will do battle again for my first 6lber on this incredible river.

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River Dane & Farm Pool 24th January 2015

The fishing wagon was in for a routine cam-belt change so my good friend Bill came to the rescue and we headed off at 6am for a days trotting on the river Dane. I’d been watching the levels as I always do but for some reason the Dane levels are only updated every 12 hours or so and on this occasion it had risen significantly overnight.

Dane Levels

A call from Cliff as we pulled into the car park confirmed it wasn’t good but we decided to don our waders and give it a go with an option to move somewhere else around lunchtime.

To say the river was pushing through was understatement and the murky brown colour made trotting futile but being a pair of stubborn old gits we pressed on and managed to fish a few slacks. Penno arrived mid-morning and setup a ledger rod but his 2oz feeder was swept away leaving his rod pulling sharply right and pointing to the inside, not good at all so I did what anyone would do in those circumstance and had a brew followed by a short nap on the bankside.

Eventually Bill reached the road bridge and phoned me to say he’d had no luck, Farm Pool was agreed upon and we headed back to the car.

When we arrived at Farm Pool a tree had come down and was scattered all over the car park, the recent high winds taking it’s toll on the habitat. We settled into three adjacent pegs and shouted ‘all in’ the match had officially started!!

I stayed with single maggot and was soon into small (but perfectly formed) roach of no more than a couple of ounces, Bill and Penno pressed on with feeder tactics cast close to the island and at 1pm, when Bill pulled for a break, we called the ‘all out’. Of course I’d clearly won the match by a massive margin and celebrated with another hot brew and a chunky Kit-Kat.

River Dane 31st January 2015

Once again the mid-week dilemma was to return to the Dove or try something a bit closer to home. The Dove was rising on all four monitoring stations and I feared snow melt the cause so it was an easy decision to head for the river Dane and my favourite stretch at Daisybank.

It was November last year when I was last walking down the concrete path but not much had changed, it was a little muddier but when I reached the river I dropped straight into a familiar swim as if I’d only left it the week before. The grass was surprisingly short and a muddy trail followed the river bank, unusual but after looking closely I spotted sheep droppings a sure sign that the farmer had taken in some sheep for grazing over the winter.

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Whilst preparing for the first trott down an audience gathered behind me and the puzzle was complete. The risk of losing sheep in a harsh winter on the mountain is offset by renting a field in the Cheshire countryside, simple but obviously cost effective and they made a change from the usual dairy cows who churned up the soft ground so are mostly kept in the milking sheds and paddock.

The river looked good to me although once again it was not ideal, it had the right pace and sufficient clarity to see the freebie maggots I was trickling in drift off downstream. The wind was full on and in your face from the start, it cut right through my five or six layers and soon had me wishing I’d brought more. My padded bib n brace did the job and kept my legs from getting cold.

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I’d decided that, due to the high wind, a centre pin would quickly end up in knots so my ABU 501 closed face reel was dusted off and given it’s first proper outing since I’d bought in in May last year.

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After an hour it was obvious that trotting wasn’t going to work so I set-up a maggot feeder and continued with a change bait on the hook. I moved swims and found shelter from the wind, again another favourite swim and one I’d done well from in the past but at 5pm the sun was disappearing behind me and the light was starting to fade. I’d had enough which from recent experience is when you start thinking of a warm car and the journey home.

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I’ll be without a car again next weekend as the final bit of engine work to fix a water leak is completed but I’ll no doubt be heading out somewhere, anywhere I can find feeding fish and get a much needed bend back in the rod.

If you want to follow Bob aka Grazy and his mates on their fishing exploits as they unfold I usually put a post up on Facebook when I’m out so click the button below.

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