Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Failsworth birds aren't shy.... nor are the trout!

Today saw me back on the banks of the Medlock around Failsworth, after a break at weekend. A bad day at work on Saturday, a bottle of chardonnay to cheer me up, a hangover and pouring down with rain on Sunday morning all conspired against the lure of the river (couldn't be bothered). However on the plus side it gave me the opportunity to nip into Manchester with Hazel to get Bethan's birthday presents for Thursday, thus freeing up Wednesday to go fishing all day in some better weather. That was the plan anyway and it paid off as the weather was truly delightful today. It also gave me the chance to visit the Micro Bar in the Arndale Centre market food hall to sample some Boggart brewery real ale. If you are shopping in town this place is a must visit, always plenty of real ales on, and surrounded by all manner of food stands with dishes from around the World, my idea of a good lunchtime.
Back to the fishing and  I had some company today on the river , the chap below, feathered, not female as the title may have suggested. This well fed robin stayed around me all day, grabbing the odd loose maggot every now and again, even landing on my foot at one point. It certainly wasn't shy.

Today I decided to begin at the waterfall at Brookdale and walk down the valley towards Medlock Valley fishery, a section of the river new to me. I didn't get very far though as the fish were very obliging from the start. Sat under the waterfall I landed two trout on the maggot feeder, both a nice size, a great start and blank averted, I decided to move on as I wanted to try more new swims. I wandered downstream to a swim still within view of the waterfall. What a swim, only a few feet wide but loads of far bank features, I had a feeling about this one. After dropping the feeder in  under an overhanging tree I began to set up my float rod to tackle this swim with a moving bait, which the chub seem to prefer on this river.
Then something happened that I have never experienced before. As I was threading the line on one rod, my feeder rod was pulled round, and the fish was tearing line off. I reached to strike and the fish pulled the rod off the rest as I lifted the rod butt.  I was unprepared and beaten instantly by a fish that was clearly of a better stamp. One thing I have learned on the Medlock is if you lose one keep going as the swim will generally throw up another bite, and very quickly I was into another fish after a solid wrap round on the tip. This fish was a big one. The power it was exerting on the rod was immense. I had to really pull against the fish to keep it from the barrage of rubbish at the head of the swim, and the bend in the rod was something else. Then after a few minutes of arm aching action the fish was in view. It was a beautiful trout, bigger than anything  I had caught from the Medlock before. The rush of relief as the fish stopped thrashing around, and came to the net was a great feeling. A personal best brown trout weighing in at just over 3lb on my antiquated scales. I really should get some of the new digital ones, but here speaks a man who refuses to pay to park his car (tight!)

This was a real surprise, although I had been tipped off there were much bigger fish than this at a recent meeting of the Salford Friendly Anglers society by a man who would know. The same fella tipped me off about the line and hooks he uses, and today I was armed with Preston power 0.13 (4lb 12oz)  hook length based on this advice. I am convinced I would not have landed this fish without this knowledge as this line is the business, it must be invisible to the fish. Might buy the hooks Mike next week, thanks again.
I followed the Trout up with a nice Chub of 2lb+ then again I was into another fantastic fish, another 3lb trout, all from the same small swim. This time though an equally big fish the fight was nowhere near as fierce.

I managed a few more trout and tried a couple of different swims after the bites dropped off, and a couple of smaller specimens on the tip including a minnow and an even smaller stickleback (another species for the year).

All in all a fantastic day, and my best haul from this intriguing river so far this season, and topped off a busy week. Last week saw a visit to the Kings Arms in Salford, another great real ale destination to attend the meeting of the Salford Friendly Anglers Society, the oldest fishing club in the world. This club supports a great cause and is concentrated on improving the quality of the River Irwell and it's tributaries including the River Medlock. It is free to join and could really make a difference. There is a link at the top of this blog if you wish to learn more. Aside  from supporting a great cause they are a decent set of lads who like a pint or three, and a trip to the river. I did manage one more hangover this week after a trip to the local Catholic club on Sunday evening with Rick, a mate who I go to gigs with, who likes a pint or six!! Good of him to Invite me and make my Monday morning even more unbearable. I think I will stick to fishing for a couple of weeks.


  1. Blimey, two cracking fish from a river I've driven past for the last 30 years without a second thought.
    Might have to give it a try.

  2. As a local lad its great to see the turnaround of the Medlock. Will have to get around to fishing it on the fly one day ( plenty of minnows to help them trout get big) . Meddyman if I see you down there I,l be sure to introduce myself.