Wednesday 20th January 2016 dawned cold, a little frosty and almost windless. The forecast was for sunshine. Perfect! So, off I drove to the River Dane at Saltersford Farm near Congleton to see if the river had come off its muddy brown post-flood stage. After parking in the car and hiking a few hundred yards across the ex-cow field (grass, mud but no fresh cow pats) I arrived at the River Dane to see that the water had started to get clearer even though the flow was still quite swift. The scenery was gorgeous, even more so if you click on the photos below:
Two days earlier and a mile downstream at Daisybank Farm the water was very brown and fishable areas were hard to find. Today the water was a little clearer but the flow was still zipping by and fishable pegs were still very hard to find. Just as a couple of days ago I was only able to find two swims which (a) were accessible without a mountaineering degree and (b) showed promise in that they might be fishable and hold actual fish.
After a lot of walking up and down the river I was getting hungry as well. Above photo shows the first fishable swim. Overhanging branches had to be avoided but there seemed to be a decent patch of water where slow trotting was feasible. I tried maggot, bread, cheese paste and a cup of tea and I was no longer hungry. OK, time to fish! No, seriously, I tried all of the above baits ON THE HOOK with nary a nibble. The fact is the flow was still quite strong and it was clear I’d either read the swim wrong or I wasn’t fishing it right. Either way it was time to move to my 2nd Chosen Area, show in the photo below:This was actually a big circular eddy and plunking my rig into the water at my feet revealed that I would actually be trotting upstream before the float curved out to the middle and then whizzed downstream. So, I fed maggots such that the feed took the same circular route as my float. The maggots were drowning and they were getting dizzy but there was no evidence that they were being consumed by fish. My hook bait was untouched. I tried red maggot, white maggot, bread punch and bread flake. Nowt. So, I took a gamble and introduced a tiny bit of cloudbait to the swim. 10 minutes more passed and then I caught a grayling.Now, this was turning into a duplicate of my session on the Dane two days ago. Two fishable swims. The first swim produced nothing. The second produced a grayling and nothing more. What would happen today? I cannot lie. This was, again, my only fish of the day. Considering the water was running with a much better colour than it had a couple of days earlier I was sore disappointed. In fact, I’m still inconsolable. Maybe I’ll need therapy to get over my sadness. Better yet, you, faithful reader, could offer words of comfort, maybe send me a card, or perhaps you could send me money or some ultra-expensive fishing gear, or (now I know I’m being a bit cheeky here) a new BMW X5. Any of those items would help. In the meantime, take a look at the video…what a glorious day it really was. The video has no music, no wind noise, just amazing sunny weather, nature’s sounds, lovely scenery and a grayling in the net. It really doesn’t get much better than this in winter.
It was time to pack up and hike back to the car which was now over 1/2 mile away at Saltersford Farm. The fields were sodden and soft and even with a lightweight river gear setup it was a cloying trudge. Still, apart from only catching one fish, it was an unforgettable session That scenery….. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, white, dark blue or red. The BMW X5. I hope you haven’t already forgotten.