Monday, 25 February 2013

Another trip to the ever changing trickle

As the title of this weeks entry suggests, my most recent trip out was a bloody cold one! I'm getting so fed up with the cold now, there just doesn't seem to be any let up in it!

It's that time of year when pretty much every blogger and his dog are out there chasing either Chub, Perch, Pike or Grayling and I guess I'm no exception, I mean what else is there to fish for when its brass monkeys? I had Grayling in mind as I headed to the Dove once again and I was hoping river conditions would me more favourable than my last trip there.

I was delighted to find the river looking fantastic, normal level and carrying a lovely bottle green colour, I couldn't wait to get started. Phil was my partner in crime for today's trip and we both went our separate ways from the car. I headed straight to the scene of my Chub catch last time out. As I walked to my swim I couldn't believe how the recent floods have altered the appearance of the river. Huge silt and sand banks had formed especially on the inside of bends and the pics below show how even trees have been swamped by the stuff. The spots below were clear gravel runs under overhanging trees last winter!


New gravel bars have appeared where before there were none and trees have collapsed into the water creating some fantastic looking new swims. The Dove seems to change so much year on year, far more so than some of the other local rivers to me, hotspots are different every season and it certainly makes for some interesting fishing.
The swim above screamed Chub especially with a nice 6-7ft of water under those branches but after sitting there for over an hour without a twitch I soon moved on.
Two swims into the session I eventually found some fish but they were very shy biting. I was only getting tiny taps but eventually I managed to hit a couple and landed some nice Grayling the highlight of which being the pretty fish pictured below which went 1lb10oz. Not a monster but very welcome as the weather decided to try and snow on me.
Bites soon dried up and I moved on once again. Bites were proving very hard to come by and despite fishing hard over the next three hours i only managed a couple more pulls. After catching a small brownie I decided to give it best and head back upstream to see how Phil was faring.
Phil too had been moving about and after catching a couple of nice Trout elsewhere he had settled in a nice swim near the car and was getting a few bites on his favoured long trotting tactics.
I never bothered casting back in and was quite content to sit back and watch Phil get a few. Soon enough it was hometime and another weekends fishing drew to a close. I hope this weather gets milder soon cos my end of season plans are in a fair state of disarray. I've booked a bit of time off work during the last week of the season so I'm sure there's still a chance or two waiting for me out there ;-)


Sunday, 10 February 2013

A damp day on the Dove

After being preoccupied with Perch for so long I thought I'd have a break this weekend and head up to the river Dove to try my hand at catching a Grayling or two. Keith joined me as he'd never fished the Dove before and had been pestering me for weeks to take him there.

It was already chucking it down with rain as we loaded the car and I had a feeling we might be up against it a bit today. As we drove up the A50 the matrix boards were flashing messages of doom in the form of severe weather warnings, we must be mad I thought.

Upon our arrival the river didn't look too bad, carrying a little with a greeny tinge of colour to it, things were looking up! The rain still hadn't abated and I knew the water conditions would soon begin to deteriorate very quickly, I figured we had maybe 3-4 hours at most.

We quickly set about heading for some decent looking spots and got setup. I had brought my umbrella and was very much glad of it as the rain came down in sheets. On the downside this meant I wasn't very mobile so I decided to stay put and keep the feed going in one swim to see what ,if anything ,could be pulled in.

I started with a feeder and a bit of bread on the hook to see if there were any Chub about but after a totally biteless half hour I had lost confidence in that approach and decided to scale things down a bit and go for a maggots on the hook instead. Despite going lighter with the rig I was surprised it took over half an hour to get any indications but eventually I had a couple of little taps and a small Dace was soon swung to hand.

I cast back out not expecting much more and began to tuck into a sarnie for breakfast. A hefty tug on the rod soon had me striking into something a bit more substantial and a Chub of around 3-4lb was soon landed. This was followed within minutes by its twin brother. The session was starting to come alive!

Things slowed quite a bit after that flurry of action and it was a fair while before I had another bite. This fish felt like a good one and it hung out in the flow for what seemed like ages. I was only fishing a 2.10 bottom and a size 16 hook so I had to be a bit careful. The fish eventually surfaced under the rod tip and I could see it was a very nice Chub, certainly over 5lb. It made a last gasp lunge for some dead reeds under my feet and snagged me up. I could see it under the water so I went for it with the net, the fish panicked and bolted, snapping the hooklink like cotton. At that point the air went a little blue but after tying a new hook on I was soon composed and ready to go again.
A couple of missed bites over the next half hour told me there was still fish in the swim looking for the maggots. The river had really begun to colour up now and I knew I didn't have much longer. A gentle pull, barely discernible in the wind had me striking into what turned out to be my first and only Grayling of the day, small but very pretty nonetheless.
Whilst taking a phone call shortly afterwards I noticed the tip of the rod giving it that horrible jerky pull round that only means one thing, Crayfish! Sure enough my strike met with that familiar hook a twig type feeling and a large Cray came skittering across the surface, ughhh!
By now the river looked too coloured for much more action so I was taken by surprise when I had another bite which I duly missed. At least there was still some fish feeding. Around twenty minutes later I was just thinking of packing up when I had an unmissable pull and the rod took on a healthy curve. The fish pulled in a very similar fashion to the one I lost earlier and I was pleased to actually get the net under this one! At 5lb4oz it was a proper-un and really made the trip worthwhile.
After that I rang Keith to see how he was faring as the weather had got even worse. A strongish wind had got up and rain seemed heavier than ever. Keith hadn't even had a bite so we decided to give it best. As I got my gear together I had one last bite which resulted in a beautiful Trout with must've been getting on for 3lb.
All in all a very enjoyable trip I thought, a few bites and some nice fish in very tough conditions. My gear was absolutely coated in mud as was I but I drove home with that warm glow that you only get from a good day on the bank.