A quick report on the River Dee at Farndon: As you know the Dee has been in flood for well over two months and levels are only just starting to get somewhat closer to normal. This morning thought I’d give it a go. Frankly I’m getting desperate for some good winter river fishing on the Dee especially as the Close Season is just about 7 weeks away and “good winter river fishing” well, it frankly hasn’t happened yet.
When I got to the popular Farndon Bridge stretch the main river was still whizzing through but there was a good 6 feet of slack water near the bank. The fishing platforms are still an honest 3 feet – or a less honest metre – under water so I had to stand on a very muddy step in order to fish. I did my best. “Bugger All” would be a fairly good summary of what happened. No fish concerned themselves with my offered maggot, bread or worm. All I was after was perhaps a few dace and roach with the odd British Record chub thrown in. Maybe next time. There were a few pike anglers on the stretch when I arrived and some had spent over 24 hours at the spot. A grand total of ONE pike had been caught by a combination of about 16 rods. And these were anglers who presumably knew what they were doing which is often more than you can say for me.
So, yes, the dreaded BLANK had struck again. A spectacular Sunday lunch with family cheered me up later in the afternoon but then I got all depressed again thinking about the unproductive fishing morning I’d suffered as I was typing this blog for you, faithful readers. It’s all your fault.
On a different note, I had a bit of a rant on Facebook yesterday about what I consider to be the utterly ridiculous prices being charged for new high quality 16m poles. Here’s my point: If I want to buy a 16 meter pole for, say, £500, what I get is basically a very good 10- 11 meter pole, an adequate 12 – 13.5 meter pole and an utterly unusable 16 meter pole. In other words, adding the bottom section or two makes a pole of £500 or under almost impossible to use at its full length. In order to get a decent quality 16 meter pole I have to pony up at least £900 and even then it might be tricky to fish at 16 meters.
To be sure of a top quality pole, fishable at 16 meters, I’m looking at having to spend £1500 or more. This is just wrong. I can buy a good match fishing rod for £50 or less. I can buy an AWESOME match rod for £100 or just over. But, my good match rod at £50 is still as fishable as the more expensive rod. Same goes for reels….you can get a really good fixed spool reel for under fifty quid but if you want to spend £120 you’d get top of the line quality but in reality both reels would be equally fishable with only the tiniest difference in feel and quality.
So, why the disparity when it comes to poles? Why do I have to spend over £1000 for a 16 meter pole that I can actually fish comfortably at 16 metres? Why can’t a budget 16m pole at, say, £500, (which is still hardly small change) be easy and fun to fish with with at its full extension? So I pay £500 for 16 meters but it turns out the bottom one or two sections are more or less there for looks alone? Yes, most pole fishing is done at well under 16m but you should still be able to use any advertised 16m pole easily at full extension without wobble or back hernia. Currently, buying a 16 meter pole for £500 or less ise like buying a brand new car with a stated maximum speed of 125mph which in reality won’t drive faster than 70mph and doesn’t have a reverse gear. Yes, 98% of driving is 70mph or less and we only use reverse a couple of times a day but when you need to go faster or backwards it’s nice to know you can.
Come on, pole makers, you’re not even making most of these poles in the U.K.; you’re making them with cheap overseas labour and I don’t have a problem with that, just pass the savings on to anglers, please. And, here’s a reality check, a set of golf clubs for about £130 including delivery. Now, I realise it’s probably not the best set of golf clubs out there even if the user reviews on Amazon say they are excellent. But, I bet for any competent golfer, each and every club is actually USABLE. Pole makers, take note. For £500 you need to make a 16 metre pole which is lightweight and properly fishable at its advertised 16 metres. Stop hosing anglers, especially anglers like me who can’t afford thousands for a new car, let alone a new pole.