It’s now the thirteenth of June and in a few days the new season starts – and I cannot wait. I keep on saying that I’m going to keep on top of my blog, and I hope to live up to my word this coming season. The 2015/16 season was very much a damp squib, even taking into account the two doubles I caught around new year; one from the Dove on the 28th December; the other from a rising Goyt on the 3rd January.
The first probably gave me greater satisfaction as the fish is the biggest I’ve caught from the River Dove. Furthermore, the fish was one of very few caught from that particular stretch November to the end of the season (so Jim Ufton told me one evening in December). Another interesting fact is that it was caught at 1.30pm. People often refer to the Dove as being a night-only river, in that it’s hard fishing during daylight hours. I can see how that conclusion has been reached, however, as when low, the water clarity is exceptional. It’s paradoxical, then,, that the vast majority of my fish have been caught during the day. It was the first and only bite of the session and, I think, my first cast.
Having arrived at the swim at just before 1pm I set out my gear and threw a handful of pellets just at the top of a nice crease. The level was fairly high after rain the day before,, though eminently fishable, particularly close in. Having then set up my chair, bank sticks assembled the landing net I pulled a little braid off the ‘pin and glued two half pellets to the hair. The rig was a running leger with a 2 oz lead, which seemed just about right for fishing on a crease close to the bank. I then cast in….and didn’t have long to wait. Bang! My ‘pin screamed and the rod time whacked around. Not wanting to give the fish much line I quickly picked up the rod. The fish surged towards mid-river and it felt a good size. After a couple of minutes I managed to turn the fish and bring it to the net. Once weighed – at 11lb 14oz – I quickly set up the selfie and returned it to the water. I love the way the adrenaline flows when a big fish is hooked. Exhilarating stuff. She turned out to be my last fish of the session and, indeed, of 2015.
2016 started off in a similar vein on the wet and mild afternoon on the River Goyt, just outside Stockport. A substantial amount of rain had fallen and the river was swollen. Most of my first choice swims we almost unfishable as the was steaming through. With that in mind I decided to check if the weir swim was free – and it was (I think the high level had deterred other anglers). The only way to fish this weir effective in high water is to fish
off the wall, in an area of slack just off the main flow, so that’s where I set up (brolley included, for a change). It was late-ish afternoon and I wasn’t all that optimistic of catching, however just as dusk was approaching I heard splash to right,in the aforementioned slack water. Initially I couldn’t figure out what it was as the noise of the water flowing over the weir is loud enough to mask any subtler noises. Still, there is was and to my mind must have been a fish. I threw a handful of pellets in the general area and cast my bait on top – thinking there’s no way the pellets wouldn’t have dispersed already. Within five minutes the rod wrapped around and the reel screamed…..and I was in. Whilst it didn’t take me long to get in control of the fish, the flow made netting the fish extremely difficult. At last I managed it. After weighing – 11lb 5oz – and a quick photo, I returned her to the water via my landing net. Wow, two doubles in the space of a week from different rivers. I was elated.
The remaining two and a half months of the season were a disappointment. Firstly, because I only managed a couple of sessions; secondly, because I caught no more fish (barbel, at least). I had one good session with my good friend Jerry Gleeson on the Dove. No fish, however.