River Medlock Potato Wharf...Where are all the chub?
Last night I told Hazel I was going to take a trip into the City centre in the morning. Imagine her dismay when she realised I was up and about at 7 o'clock and the shops don't open until eleven. It could mean only one thing, down to the river!
Now if you have ever driven down the Mancunian way towards Regent Road there is a little bridge just after going under the railway viaduct, and before the River Irwell. You could be forgiven for missing this bridge, and I would bet few people know what the reason for it is. Running through the culvert at the real back end of town is the now famous River Medlock. Access is poor but there are at least three swims that with average climbing skills can be fished, they are pictured below. This is urban river fishing at its most urban.
Unfortunately due to lack of rain the river was running very low, ideally needing another foot of water. You can see the water line on the opposite wall. Undeterred I climbed down to the waters edge and set up a swimfeeder rig. At this point a word of warning for anybody intrepid enough, or maybe daft enough to try these swims. Latex gloves and anti-bacterial dry wash are a great addition to the fishing bag , and I wouldn't bring a packed lunch as it may get stolen by or shared with the City's rat population, which seems quite at home in this sheltered haven. I have never fished this part of the river in winter, and there is less vegetation on the banks, which means at least you can see what is creeping around the bank! I sat without a bite for two hours, switching between red maggot and breadflake. Not a tickle. In summer with a little more water I have had good nets of chub, anything up to twenty or thirty fish from here. I have even caught a wayward large skimmer bream that must have arrived from the canal overflow at the wharf. If I was going to suffer a blank day I decided I wasn't going to sit here all day being watched by Roland Rat and his mates. So it was back into the car and 2 miles upstream to the Bay Horse pub in Clayton. There was not much depth here either and swims I have tried successfully before were not producing today. Finally in an act of desperation I reluctantly decided to take my Dads advice and fish on the tip below the waterfall . He came down to have a look and decided he would have tried there.
Now I knew I was risking one of those "I told you so, son" moments but I had fancied this swim on an earlier visit (honest), but didn't have the time to try it. So I planted a swimfeeder full of red maggots, and fished with double red on a size 18 hook. After such a quiet day I was not expecting instant success and as I sat back to relax the tip pulled round sharply. I had a fish on at last, but this fish was darting around the wierpool most unlike a big chub. After a prolonged fight, due mainly to my reluctance to lose what may be my only fish of the day, I pulled a lovely lean brown trout over the landing net. Not a huge fish, but a most welcome one.
I was now on a roll, surely there would be more where that came from, would there? Well there was but not much more. I did catch a second fish, as important as any I have caught this year as it adds a species to the 2011 list (copyright Mike Duddy Manchester Fishing Fiend). This minnow had tried to eat my double maggot offering and already had two more in its mouth.
Not a prolific day, but enjoyable nonetheless. Next week sees me out on Thursday, but not quite sure where yet as fellow maggotdrowner Stretford Red has wangled the same day off at last. I think he is hinting at the River Don after seeing the Grayling in this weeks post. Wherever we end up it will end up on here on Thursday evening. Lets hope there are more fishy shots than scenery.