This week saw the culmination of a selection exercise in work that has been going on for a few months now and could have seen me posted in a new role up to 20 miles away from where I live. Thankfully I was posted in my current role which was a great weight off my mind and now feel I can concentrate on the year ahead and relax a bit.
With that decision passed to me late on Friday afternoon it was with an air or celebration I looked forward to the fishing trip the next day and for once the weather was playing ball and with the water levels looking to be falling slightly all looked well for a good days trotting.
My plan was to spend Saturday trotting the River Dee and a few hours on Sunday ledgering for a few chub on the River Dane but unfortunately the Sunday trip never really materialised for one reason or another but luckily all the bait I needed for my session on Sunday is easily frozen and will be all the better for a week marinating in my secret concoction.
Saturday morning came and unlike the last few weeks I loaded the car in completely calm conditions, not a breath of wind and what a relief it was. Calm conditions are, I find, one of the best for trotting in as you can not only control the line your float trots a lot easier but also dot your float right down to detect even the most shy of bites.
We arrived on the banks of the Dee just as the glow of the new day was showing in the distance and quickly set up our gear in the early morning light. The early morning temperature was a at best struggling to hover above zero but with a clear sky overhead we knew we were in for a warm mild day once the sun rose and where both optimistic for the day ahead.
The swim I chose to fish is one I had fished in the summer and looked forward to seeing how it fished after a cold frost as this year has always been one of discovery on the Dee, learning the good spots and how different stretches fish throughout the year and so far there has been a lot of positive outcomes from our trips in all conditions to the various stretches.
The swim if I am honest started off quite slow and took me a good half an hour to put together a few dace but eventually the fish got their heads down and the bites became a bit more predictable as the fish held at the end of my trotting line and in time the quality of the dace improved with the odd nice dace coming to the net like the one shown below.
Not long after this nice dace went into the net did the float bury right over my hemp and I struck into a fish that felt totally different to any fish I have caught before it felt really big but lacked the pulsating fight of a dace or a roach and after a few second of playing the fish all the fight suddenly disappeared and I lifted the line out of the water thinking the fish had come off only to find to my amazement a flat fish on the end of the line. I have heard so many people say to me they have caught these fish on the Dee but till Saturday I have not managed it myself yet and what a welcome surprise it was and I have to say what a cracking bite it was as well.
My uncle on the peg next to me had been picking up a great mix of fish including grayling, trout and salmon par along with the usual dace and roach while myself had a more uniform bag of all dace and of course the flatty.
The day continued to go from strength to strength till around 2pm when my swim just died completely to the point I couldn’t even muster a bite no matter how much bait I put in and with around half an hour to go managed to connect with a fish that instantly disappeared as soon as I hooked it. The line flying back at me had a clean break on it so it was obvious a pike was to blame.
I decided instead of setting up again I would have an hour or so and chance my arm for a late afternoon pike. Out went a dace bait and after around a 25 minute wait the float slid away and I connected with a pike hell bent on getting into a sunken tree to my right, luckily I was well booted with 15lb line and a strong trace so I was able to turn the pike and soon lay on landing net.
I would like to take this opportunity to again mention a bit about pike safety, pike is one species of fish that you really need to do your homework on before trying to catch and ideally a few trips with someone who pike fishes is ideal to teach you how to handle and unhook a pike so please if you think of targeting these fish try and go with an experienced angler of at least attend one of the many Pike Angling Club open days that they run across the whole country. I personally was lucky to grow up a stone’s throw from a prolific pike canal and have handled and caught pike all my life but I still see far too many people on the local canal pike fishing without a landing net and forceps!!.
After returning the pike to the river we decided to photograph and weigh our nets. I weighed in at 11lb 10oz and my uncle pipped me with a net of 12lb 11oz and we both left the river content after an enjoyable day on the bank.
Next week will hopefully see us back on the River Dee and baring overtime being on in work I should be making up for a missed visit to the River Dane for some chub action.
Till next week