Monday 11 March 2019

Small Brook Fishing Pt.7 - Red Ribbin and Reconnoitre

A chance discovery of a tiny stream has got my interest ever since, this is my 7th trip now to this small waterway just down the road from ones abode. The first ‘field trip’ brought some encouraging signs and to this dace it is home to my dace PB. I've really only explored a few small areas of it as well and I'm sure there are dace to be caught to brobdingnagian proportions.

Now when winter proper arrives, and most of the fallen leaves have been swept away by successive spates, the fishing in many streams gradually improves again. The fish, by now accustomed to the change in the temperature of the water, often feed more freely than they did during the low-water period of autumn. 

The deeper pools, and the slower-moving swims edged by decaying masses of reeds, are often the best places to fish. The shallow, fast-moving water will contain very few coarse fish during the daylight hours.

From Christmas on until the end of the coarse-fishing season in March, the angler can usually expect to reap his richest re- wards from the small streams. The weather is milder, and the bed of the stream will have been swept clean of debris by many roaring spates. 

The fish, too, are often at their best: fat-bodied, strong, and brilliant of fin and eye. Some of the best catches, and some of the largest individual fish I have ever caught from streams, have been taken during this period.

The true angler, as distinct from the novice who merely baits a hook and casts it hopefully into the water, is the man who knows what he wants to catch, who understands fish, and angles for each species exclusively. 

One day he might angle for roach; the next for perch. On other occasions he will prefer to go for chub, pike, or rudd. But always he fishes selectively rather than indiscriminately.

Naturally, it is much easier to angle indiscriminately, and to catch any fish that might happen to take the bait. Selective angling is more difficult. The angler must first learn about the fish, their habits, the swims where they are most likely to be found, and the baits they are most likely to take. 

Only then can he begin to fish for each species with any confidence. If you follow my blog some of this is explained, in more detail, how this selectivity can be applied to the different species of fish, but the basic principles of selective fishing should perhaps be stated now, for they form the basis of what constitutes real angling, as distinct from mere fishing.

Now the first essential is to locate the fish. Nothing else the angler does is as important, nothing else he does will influence the end result so strongly. If his knowledge of the stream is full and complete, this will be the easiest part of the operation and will enormously increase his chances of catching the fish he has selected. If that knowledge is lacking, he will be handicapped right from the start. 

The next step is to choose a selective bait—one which the chosen species is most likely to take at any given time. If, for instance….

….a shoal of dace can be seen rising, an artificial fly, or a chrysalid, would be the most obvious choice of bait. If, on the other hand, pike were the quarry, a live fish would be preferable. These may seem obvious choices, but it is surprising how many anglers fail to give sufficient thought to this matter.

Choosing the most favourable time to seek each species is also important. Some are caught more readily when the water is coloured. For others, when the water is low, dawn and dusk are often the best times to seek them. 

Certain swims produce more fish when the water is high; others fish better when the water is running at normal, or low level. The angler who has acquired this knowledge, and puts it to use, will catch the species of fish he is after far more often than the angler who relies upon luck and chance to carry him through.

Anyway back to the fishing, not ideal conditions to be honest, but a night out for a mates 50th some fresh air was much needed and as the morning went on the wind would get worse and conclude the session early than I'd like. The stream had been well up a few days earlier but was now on the drop but you can tell from experience where the fish are likely to be holding up.

A dendrobaena tipped with a red maggot would be the bait of choice, a link ledger set-up and my little F1 wand rod complete with a 1oz tip. The first bite took a while to be honest, the usual holding spot more turbulent than I'd liked but eventually a millers thumb with eyes bigger than its belly decided he would like a bit of gluttony.

As I said before winter is the ideal time to explore the swims being more accessible and 100 or so yards down from the first swim there was a small pool, and to the sides a couple of nice slacks. Sure enough within seconds of the bait being out a telltale snappy bite turned in to a proper pull round.

It was fairly shallow and as soon as I saw it's flanks I knew it was a decent dace, wriggling around like they do, similar to a grayling flight I suppose.

Three or four were caught, I didn't weigh the biggest but you can see the scale compared to the balance scales, they are a good stamp certainly, maybe 7oz's the largest. Considering I've only fished in a few areas, very encouraging indeed. 

I'm sure there are some gems to be had among the humdrum there has to be. It's common knowledge that dace particularly are the lovers of small stream like this, they are happy here in areas where I doubt sees other anglers apart from Sam and I. 

Angling pressure basically nonexistent.... 

When the bloggers species challenge starts up again in June, I certainly know where my dace will be caught from. 

A small trout was caught as well but then the weather front drifted in and it was like someone flicked a switch, the wind bordering on the ridiculous, the tip moving around too much and bites hard to detect and it was time to head home. 

A heavy downpour of thick sleet later on in the day highlighted that we are still in winter despite the mild weather of late.

Back to basics fishing  I know, but for me, trips like this is why I love this pastime of ours, the unexpected.


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