As you may recall a few weeks ago I became a member of Lymm Anglers which meant I’d get to fish the River Dane. Lymm A.C. has fishing rights to three stretches of the Dane, none of which have been remotely fishable since I joined due to the floods, rain, water and general moisture which have been a feature of this exceptionally soggy winter.
Well, today was the day I gave the Dane a go. Daisybank Farm was my destination and I found it with no problems at all. The weather was very cold but not quite at freezing. I was well wrapped up and took the Lightweight version of my fishing gear consisting of rod, new centrepin reel (more about that later), a couple of banksticks, landing net and handle, small tacklebox with stick and bolo floats, weights, hooks and other bits and pieces, flask, cameras and, optimistically, keepnet. Maggots and bread were the baits for today.
From Daisybank Farm it is quite a hike to the river. By which I mean it was mainly downhill through slippery, water sodden, sheep-trodden, squish-squashy, sheep-poop infested muddy fields. The sheep poop was everywhere, as were the sheep. The sheep alertly noticed the 57 year old angler weighed down with his gear, slipping and sliding his way down the field at about one mile per hour and, from a distance of at least 150 yards, they nervously ran away from this Imminent Threat. Sheep are pretty thick. I may have mentioned the Sheep Poop. If you are of a delicate nature and easily disgusted by natures “Movements” please do NOT click on the thumbnail below:There were 100,000,000 or more of these Miracles of Creation in the field which is pretty good going considering there were only about 50 sheep. In fact there were so many Sheep Poops that I think that if the nature of things had been reversed and the sheep had been created Poop Eaters who then pooped out actual grass the field would have looked exactly the same. It honestly seemed as though the ratio of sheep poop to actual grass was about 50:50.
But I digress. I eventually reached The River Dane! As soon as I saw the water I knew the keepnet wasn’t going to see the light of day. Where I eventually met the river it was racing through at Warp Factor Bloody Unfishable. A long walk was on the cards to suss out any decent spots. I dropped my gear off knowing that it would be safe. Any thief would have to deal with almost freezing temperatures, 50 cowardly sheep and a poop infested muddy field. There are easier targets out there. He would instead be watching the stolen television in his living room. I trudged about 1/2 mile downstream. Super-steep banks and rushing water were the order of the day. I did see a couple of tiny slack areas but these were below vertical cliff-sized sections of bank and as I’d left the crampons and climbing rope at home they were deemed “no go areas” by the sensible half of my brain. So, no luck finding a fishable spot downstream, it was back back to the gear and then trudge the other way WITH the gear knowing that if I didn’t find a spot upstream I’d be on my way back to the car. As luck would have it I found two areas. One was still a bit zippy with the water running through fast but I thought it looked at least a bit fishable. The other was a very slack area, no more than five feet wide from the bank and about 20 feet long. Below is the first swim. In the photo you can’t really see how fast the current was but if you close your eyes and say “Whrrrroooommm” it’ll give you a better idea.I gave it about 1 hour. Nothing. Obviously fishing anything more than a few feet from the bank wasn’t going to work but even very close to the bank was pretty dire with the float zipping down at super speed and almost impossible to control when holding back. I didn’t detect any bites although those who know me know that this means the swim was probably infested with hundreds of hungry fish swimming on their backs and laughing at my pathetic efforts. No matter, on to the second spot:
And there it was. Although it’s hard to see in the photo above there was some shallow slack inside and there was a definite zone between the very shallow slack water and the deep fast flowing water where a fish or two might be willing to feed. Suffice to say that I will let this video do the talking:
As mentioned on the video I didn’t seem to have too much luck on maggot. A switch to bread and I missed what I thought might be a bite but could also have been bottom. The next drop in, the same thing happened and WHAM! It was Grayling Time. I don’t remember a time where catching one single fish was so satisfying. It saved me from the dreaded blank and it was also a PB grayling for me in that I’d never caught one before. Unfortunately it was the last fish of the session….I never got a single bite more. The fishable area of the swim was so small that it’s quite likely that this particular grayling might have been on her own or the commotion may have spooked any companions she may have had.
It is said that Grayling actually have a scent which resembles thyme. I’d read this quite some time ago and so before I released her back to the river I gently sniffed close to her body and sure enough, there it was, the gentle and unmistakable whiff of sheep poop.
A word about my new reel, the Avanti Marco Cortesi Limited Edition Centrepin: This was my first time using it and I have to say it was a delight. The line ran off smoothly when my float rig was exposed to the current and although I needed to use a finger to slow the float down (such was the speed of the flow today) the reel allowed me to let the rig move as fast or as slow downstream as I wanted. I’m looking forward to using it when fishing conditions are much better. I think it’s a very decent reel, well worth the money. To get a quality centrepin reel for £45 including delivery is pretty good. To get one with a line guard already fitted for that price is pretty amazing. And, yes, you DO need a line guard if you’re going to use a centrepin reel for trotting on a river. I think I would have been in Birds Nest Central had the line guard not saved me on more than one occasion.
One last word….although the Dane was pretty close to being unfishable today it sure was good to get back onto a river again. Think about it…we’ve only got 2 months to go before Close Season. Looks like I’ll be doing quite a few river sessions in tricky conditions between now and the 15th of March.