Friday, 9 January 2009

A kind of magic...



Last year my number on my Dee Anglers ticket was 001 this year 009… I must be slipping!

The Dee has been fishing its socks off recently, with excellent bags of chub and roach being caught by those after silver fish. The Dee is my bête noire, having only achieved 2 fish and 2 misses in almost 18 months fishing it… so, why is it the proverbial, itch you can’t reach? It is probably down to tactics and what the fish feed on.

I met
Mike Ashcroft today… we’ve only been trying to meet up for a year or so! Nice guy and very knowledgeable about “his” river. During a discussion about bait Mike confirmed a comment I’d heard ages ago… dead baits don’t work on this river, those that have had takes on dead baits are a small proportion and the majority of fish fall to live bait.

Those baits are chub, dace or roach, and these fish have a tendency to shoal in pockets on the river and move during the course of the year. The pike that gorge themselves on this mobile larder seem to congregate from various parts of the river, if their markings are anything to go by… from silvers that you’d find in coloured waters to dark browns for those who live in the dark recesses of the river. We are talking about something that has gone on for many centuries… a pike’s rights of passage perhaps.

I’m grateful to Mike for the bits of the jigsaw that I keep looking for to enable me to catch more pike. I suspect the Dee pike will continue to be a little elusive unless I spend more time on the river and choose to fish for the silver fish that will end up as bait.

However, I am sold on the fly rod approach at the moment and so it is perseverance that is required.

I arrived at 0930 hrs to see a river "on the bones of its arse" as one fisherman said, I hadn't seen the river that low in well over a year! The free pegs were full and I didn’t fancy the high perched positions of the matchmen on the other side of the river, and the casting would have been a bit of a beggar! Mike suggested a mark downstream and sure enough I saw a jack of perhaps 8 or 9 lbs (I hesitate to say 10!) surface and slash at bait fish on three occasions. Using a Puglisi style bait fish pattern I cast around… nothing… change to the tandem… nothing… change to a play on a surf candy but in muted greens and yellows to imitate a pike fry. I used the same casting approach and felt a snag… a snag that pulled back momentarily and then dropped the fly! Pah!

I walked downstream and chatted to a chap who was standing in his garden on the other side of the river, I watched the swans and pochard… oh and the snipe… I also lost two flies, one of which is a favourite pattern and a good catcher of pike for me… so to the vice once more!

I went back to the mark where Mike was and he had a live bait on that would go mental every so often and then go quiet… either the bait was sending a Morse code message using the alarm or there was a big fat mother of a pike sat on his shoulder. I think we were all willing the take to happen but sadly it didn’t.
Mike then started hallucinating about eating a whole leg of lamb on his own... oh and hold the vegetables... just the meat. Perhaps that's why Mike has such an affinity with the pike!

I then had a little cast again on a peg that had become free… apart from the sand that pervaded everything… fly line, reel and rod, I was pleased to see that the patterns I tied this week worked well. I can see a large tying session happening during the course of the week!

Reflecting on recent events and a day that provided little action (and most notably the one before Christmas)… I have to say that part of the enjoyment is being out there… there is the frustration of blanking BUT you do learn something new each time out. It is also an activity that you can immerse yourself in and all thought, great or small disappears whilst casting about for a fish!

It's a kind of magic! (ref A Kind of Magic: Queen. Released 1986)

1 comment:

Mike Ashcroft said...

Enjoyed meeting up at last Dave. Hope to do it again soon and hopefully have some rod-bending action with you. Keep writing your restaurant critique. You should definately be a food critic for Michelin. Chuckle!
Catch up with you on the bank soon mate. Regards Mike.