Sunday 15 January 2023

Small Brook Fishing Pt.23 - Rubbers Ducks and Rumfustians

With the local rivers afflicted with turbid, torrent and turmoil many flowing water anglers I'm sure will be taking that well deserved lie in, or looking for that fishing fix on stillwaters and canals.

But for me this is where little side streams and brooks come in to play because so many of these are overlooked forgot waterways are a trip in to the unknown and offer the angler something different than the humdrum. Dace in-particular I've found grow to a decent size in the streams I fish, and when the levels are up, those slack and eddies hold fish where they quite rightly keep out of the mosh pit.  

Now dace are bright, graceful, slender little fish, which often find their way into the roach-fisher's creel. In colour they are almost entirely silvery, and the fins lack that tinge of red which is noticeable in the chub and the roach. 

They are easily distinguished from a small chub by the anal fin, which in the dace is almost colourless, and has a concave edge, but in the chub pink, with a rounded or convex edge. The dace is common to most rivers containing coarse fish, and is frequently found in trout streams, to the detriment of the trout.

Some swims hold nothing but trout I've found, and some all the species, roach can be hard to track down but stumble upon a swim with one, there are usually plenty of bites to be had.

I've never seen another angler on this one, well apart from Sam "still a bit cold for fishing Daddy" and these sort of conditions are perfect to get a few bites. I prefer to use a float set-up generally but when it's as high as this a scaled down helicopter rig with a tiny feeder is the tried and trusted approach I've used.

Bites can often come almost instantly and unlike a bigger river where I'd give a swim more time, 5-10 minutes in each likely holding spot is more than enough I've found.

If the stream contains trout like this one does some of the bites really are quite ridiculous, and the mechanics of the helicopter rig means they often hook themselves with the weight of the small feeder.

They are predators after all so I'd imagine they are smash and grabbers underwater hence when that quiver tip jumps in to life at an alarming rate you generally know what is it, and no, it won't be a bullhead. 

For this session it was the dace I was after but I knew especially with the baits I was using, trout would certainly come in to play, where even in coloured water they would feed without an issue. 

Now as the dace swims as often in mid-water, or close to the surface, as on the bottom, it is not as necessary to fish as near the bottom as we should if angling for roach. 

Dace generally haunt swifter streams than do roach, so the float-tackle has to be heavier shotted than is usual in roach swims. Dace are sharp biters too, and the angler should strike quickly on seeing a movement of the float.

The two favourite baits for these fish are maggots and worms. Caddis baits are good, and In the late summer and autumn a lobworm will take the largest fish. I once baited up a very quiet, deep corner on the Warwickshire Avon  for perch, and my baiting partly resulted in a  half a dozen fine stripeys. 

During that morning I was bothered by some fish which kept taking the float under, but which I could not hook. An examination of my bait showed me that the fish, whatever they were, only seemed to touch the head of the worm, which was, as usual, up the shank of the hook, so I threaded the next worm on with the tail up the shank, and the head over the point. 

I then hooked a fish at nearly every bite, and soon had more than a dozen of the finest dace I caught that year. The incident enlightened me considerably as to why one has so many bites from dace when barbel fishing without any getting hooked, and since then I have respectively found the dace prefer the head to the tail of the lobworm.  

Anyway to this session, I was scratching round for bites at first but eventually the bites started to come frequently with one particular swim a bit of a revelation because it was full of small trout. After five of them and one much bigger one I could have stayed there longer I suppose, but it was the dace I was after and the trout don't mess around with the bait, a bit like a perch really, straight down the gullet and a disgorger is needed. 

They key for this morning was to fish within the flow, but not any old flow, but flow where there was no boiling whatsoever, the kind of flow you want in a rubber duck race. 

With the helicopter set-up the bites are still pretty bold but often I've found it only needs some reasonable pulls where it definitely worth striking.

The tell-tale side to side motion when playing the fish you know you have a silver dart on the end. They always seem to be plump on this stream so they must have plenty of food. At first a few small'uns but then out of the blue a bigger fish that went a pinkie under 8 ounces on the scales.(yes I do weigh them 😁)

A cracking fish from a stream which is completely overlooked by the modern angler. I do wonder why though because Sam and I do love this kind of fishing, 

Still it's nice to have this waterway to myself really. Much of it is untapped too, so next time I might venture up to the upper reaches to see if I'm missing a trick so to speak. I'm sure there are more surprises to be had, and that why I love fishing them. 


  1. Replies
    1. I'm sure there are much bigger ones to be had to as they were all on the podgy side...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...