Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ukraine river fishing...if you dare

I do! But I will be staying on the lash if too many of these turn up during the Euro 2012 championships. You never know what a bit of research will throw up!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The shortest day, on the Tame

December 21st, the shortest day in the calendar found me nursing a headache after the previous evenings Salford friendly anglers Xmas do. Buoyed up by an evening of tall fishing stories in the fishing call my bluff contest (believe me there are some fantastic liars in the fishing club!) I decided to put a little reality back in to the week and found me heading for the River Tame. Mossley is a small town about 15 miles north east of Manchester, most famous for its football teams exploits in the FA Trophy, getting to Wembley on a few occasions. However running through Bottom Mossley is the beautiful River Tame, a streamy river with some deeper wide bends and reputedly some big fish.  I set up on a swim by the Roaches lock pub and tried to battle the raging current on a very high river, switching feeders several times to try and hold bottom. I have fancied this swim for a long time, trust me to pick a day to try it when it was unfishable.
Down but not out I began walking downstream, fancying a bash at the adjacent Huddersfield narrow canal, which really does have some fantastic looking pegs. Determined to bag a river fish I found a slacker corner a few hundred metres on, and plonked my gear down on the first fishable spot of the river I came by. Having only a few metres of slack water to aim at I cast a medium drennan feeder perfectly into the hole, placed the rod down and waited, all of two seconds, for a big rap on the tip. It turned out to be a greedy brown trout which gave a good account of itself in the fast current.

Arriving at this swim around 1.30pm I fished until darkness fell at around 3.45pm and managed to catch thirteen trout of various sizes, nothing big, but all welcome on a miserable overcast afternoon.

All told a really enjoyable afternoon, which started as an exercise to blow the cobwebs of a hangover away. As I walked back up the towpath of the canal to the car park I could see the lights of the Roaches lock pub in the distance, looking very welcoming.
My apologies for the quality of the pictures. Today's trip was so impromptu I forgot the camera. This river rises in the Pennine hills and runs right through  Saddleworth and the delightful Uppermill village, on to Mossley, Stalybridge and on through Tameside to Stockport where there are some very large Barbel and chub. We really are blessed with some fantastic river fishing around Manchester, some of it in really pleasant locations, for those that have the appetite to try.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Ukraine in June

So finally it was the draw for the Euro 2012 championships, and as I sat with fingers crossed for Poland on the basis of cost of travel, I knew nothing would go to plan,, as it never does. Ukraine it is for England, and not only that the group we drew is the costliest to travel to. So after a stressful evening the flights are booked to Donetsk and all that remains is accomodation (minor issue), match tickets, and places to fish. I have made a promising start..........   Thank heavens for Google translate.
I can see the tent getting an airing on this tourament, which will be a first. Better make sure there is a good river or lake nearby.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A few trout

The grand plan fell apart this week. Tuesday was to be a day trying pastures new, however as with most plans at the moment, it didn't happen. Oldham angling had no maggots late afternoon Monday and it was too late to nip to Gilders in Failsworth. I wouldn't mind had he not chewed my ear off , telling me he had stocked maggots for sixteen years, when I asked if he did bait the previous week. Then to top it off I got home to be reminded by my better half that it was double discount day at Asda for colleagues in the morning, which meant shopping before fishing. Bowing to the pressure, Asda it was, and after a quick visit to Gilders for bait I finally arrived at the river late morning, ending up on the Medlock in Clayton vale. Only caught six trout of various sizes, nothing big, and really struggled on the usual hotspots. Funny day really, freezing water, dark mist early on, then beautiful sunshine in the afternoon. Must have confused the chub as I didn't have one decent wrap round on the tip.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Clayton revisited

Today I ventured into the city centre to try one of my favourite swims on the Medlock at Potato Wharf.

 As I had to drive through Clayton to get to town, I decided it would be rude to pass the Clayton Cafe without stopping for another large brekkie. The fishing started badly, and my patience was stretched to breaking point. There was a large snag on the river bed which quickly accounted for three feeder rigs and 5 hooks. After an hour of this and no bites it was decision time. This swim is a Summer swim, but it is nearly impossible to access then because of brambles and thick undergrowth, but I would doubt I will try it in the winter again.
So it was back to the Bay Horse, where midweek I had caught a few chub. This section comes with it's own jungle to negotiate, looked fantastic today as the sunshine broke through.

 What an inspired decision. Not only was it averaging a fiver an hour in lost tackle at Potato Wharf, but first cast I was into a decent trout. These trout know how to fight, and it was to huge relief the fish finally came to the net after a prolonged battle.
Another smaller, but no less welcome trout came to the net before the first decent chub of the day showed up.
The bites were uncharacteristically slight on the tip, just little knocks. Maybe the fish were affected by the big frost, and the water temperature , which was noticeably colder today. My feet were feeling it as I was stood in the margins all day. As I was missing more knocks than hitting I switched to stick float tactics. The result was instant. First trot through the swim brought a fantastic bite, which preceded a fine scrap with what turned out to be a probable personal best chub from the Medlock. For a river this size these fish seem totally disproportionate, what a clunker.
I fished until sundown but couldn't top the chub. What a wonderful afternoon after a shaky start in the morning. I exercised some self control today as I headed back past the pub to the car, although the second chub was worth celebrating.
Great end to a decent week. No fishing next week as England have a couple of friendly matches, including a chance to test ourselves against the World champions. No chance to take the rods as the family tag along to Wembley these days.

River Medlock The Bay Horse, Clayton

After last weekend's frenetic session on the Ribble it was back down to earth, well back to the Medlock to be precise on Wednesday. My gear was still damp and my holdall sodden after the tidal episode, but my enthusiasm was far from dampened. Proud of my efforts the previous weekend I was more determined than ever and had my explorer head on. The first job was to find a new cafe near to the Medlock for a decent breakfast.  Mission accomplished in the Clayton Cafe, the large breakfast comes highly recommended.
Experience has taught me to get a good feed before arriving on the river as the water quality in the Medlock is not to be trusted. Having already experienced an infected finger through cutting myself whilst fishing, I certainly wouldn't chance eating food whilst fishing the Meddy.
Today I had decided to find a new swim and headed upstream down the side of the Bay Horse inn. It didn't take long to find a fishy looking swim, fallen trees, deep hole, smooth glide. I wasn't to be disappointed.  I set up on the tip with a 20g Kamasan black cap maggot feeder, an a sliding rig with a size 18 Kamasan B911 to 0.13 Preston power hooklength. Any slighter hooklength and the big trout will find it's beaking strain. Today was not to be about big trout though, although the first fish was a lovely lean brownie, I went on to catch three nice chub up to 2.5 lb in the first couple of hours before the swim died in true Medlock fashion. Below is a picture of one of them, I will add a photo of all three during the week when I receive a new usb cable for the camera. Forgot to take a memory card.

I made a move downstream,  only after stopping for a sit down in the sunshine for a break, and some refreshment at the Bay Horse, I felt obliged, although I did receive some funny looks sat outside the pub in my waders, with my gear propped against the table.
I moved to a swim that generally throws up a few chub, but only managed two more small trout before the light dipped. Another angler came by though and it was good to chat to somebody else like minded. More importantly he tipped me off that there were perch further up the valley, which has got me thinking.....

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Ribble dace and roach

After the cancellation of the Salford friendly anglers match planned for today, this weekend found me at a loose end , that is until I received an invitation to visit a river I have never fished before, The Ribble.  I didn't need too much convincing, and thankfully took up Mike Duddy's (aka Fishing Fiend) offer to visit a river I knew little about. I do now though and today turned out to be an education. Firstly I learnt about tides the hard way. From the first cast I was catching steadily on the tip, although the river was moving at a pace and the bites were fast and hard to hit. I decided to switch to stick float tactics as the flow was a little slacker on the inside line. The dace and roach came steadily every cast. Then this tidal stretch rose a couple of feet in a few minutes, submerging my gear before I noticed. The gear will dry out, but my lunch was irretrievable. The change in the river was instant. Not having fished a tidal river before this was alien to me. All I could do was sit on top of the high bank and wonder how high the river would rise. When the river stopped rising after about half an hour I ventured back down the bank. Immediately I was into some quality roach, now fishing 4ft depth rather than the 2ft 6ins earlier. I managed to catch all day fishing until I could firstly no longer see the float, then secondly no longer see the hook on the feeder line to bait up. I wound up catching 140 fish all dace and roach, and some quality fish too.

I wasn't the last angler on the river as the light faded, and as myself and the angler on the opposite bank milked the remaining daylight for as many minutes as we could, the guy opposite hooked something big. It turned out to be a big bream which he took great pleasure in shouting over to me to let me know. Fair play, I would have probably done the same. Next week I am in two minds between the River Medlock and the River Tame. As usual it will depend on which side of the bed I get up from. Not very scientific but thats the way I like my fishing.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Unfinished business

After a day walking round colleges today, weighing up the best options for my daughter's impending further education, and hiding my burning desire to get back on the Meddy and catch that big trout that slipped the hook the previous lunchtime, the time had come. Back home at 2.30pm meant I had a good few hours to double my efforts to catch a bigger specimen. I returned to the same swim, and although I was not alone fishing the river, the swim I was targeting was free. There was however a commotion coming from the next swim downstream as a few lads, with a typical bull terrier type dog, loudly laughed and joked their way through what was a pleasant evening otherwise. Again it took an hour to conjure a bite, but when it came it was a wallop on the tip. The fish was hooked but headed directly for the branches opposite. It snapped my hooklength on the tree and was free. Not only was this a big fish to lose, next cast saw me lose another big fish in exactly the same manner. Surely I was to catch  a lunker tonight. I didn't have to wait long for a fish, not a specimen, in fact a really small chub. This was probably as pleasing as the big fish as they seem to be thin on the ground. There is a really strange food chain going on in the Medlock. The small fish find it impossible to survive as there are some huge trout that devour everything in their path. Failing the trout there are a pair of cormorants resident along the vale that are constantly active.
Then came some really positive bites and two large fish lost in the trees, along with a couple of feeders. This river is costing me a fortune in Kamasan black caps!
One great feature of this swim is that high above the opposite bank is a footpath, and at weekend frequented by many pretty female joggers. However whilst I try to look ultra professional as they pass, the first acknowledgement all weekend came from a bloke walking his dog. "Ey up, are you the Meddy Man? I've  been on yer blog!" So there you are fame at last, I just need to find a way of appealing to the lady dog walkers if not the joggers. I did get some good advice from a lad walking along the same path who told me about a swim that I have been tipped off before on, sound advice for midweek I think.
But back to today, and over the evening I had four solid bites, three of which produced fish. All chub, the first was a beauty. 2lb plus.

 The others slightly smaller, but equally resistant of the net.
I seem to remember a saying along the lines of piss poor preparation prevents performance, or something similar. Tonight would typify that phrase. I took along some quivertip nightlights hoping to fish into the dark. However I forgot to check the batteries in the headlamp, which were completely drained. Also the camera batteries ran out, hence the fuzzy photo of the three chub together. Typical that, the only day I use a keepnet, I am unprepared. Then to cap it all I put the fish in my landing net to return to the water safely, and snapped my net with the weight. Never mind it was a good excuse to pack up and visit the Bush inn for a couple of pints, and to plan my next visit to a river that has really grabbed my imagination.

Fantastic fishing, Fantasy football, and fine real ale.

This week has been a difficult week all round. A week off work and I only made it to the bank at weekend. A trip to Monte Carlo for Hazel meant I had the enviable job of full time single parent, cook, cleaner , taxi driver, washer and ironer. However I had a cunning plan. Take the kids to school and get on the Meddy every day for six hours before picking them up, then catch up on the housework on Friday before picking her up from Liverpool airport in the evening. Superb, what could go wrong....Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday saw rain all day and the river was unfishable, murky and roaring through. Then Thursday the tickets for the England v Spain clash in November went on sale at midday and to guarantee family stand tickets, which saves us £95 as a family, you have to be quick. Then the final nail in the coffin to my best laid plans arrived by email from the FA. Tickets for the newly announced Sweden match at Wembley were on sale on Friday at midday. So that was that. No fishing all week.
However I picked up some maggots from Ashton angling supplies ready for Saturday and I was determined to spend Saturday doing what I wanted, whatever the weather or circumstances. So after a quick breakfast at the Yummie box by the Haddon Hall pub it was down to the Vale, and on to the peg that the whole blog began on. The river had really fined down nicely after the five day deluge and looked as good as I have seen it this year. The first picture looks upstream from the Bay Horse bridge, the second downstream.

I set up on the swim that inspired me to start blogging on New years day this year on a sliding feeder set up. I favour the medium 20g Kamasan black cap feeders at the moment, running free on the 6lb Trilene sensation main line down to a leger stop. A couple of inches below I use a small swivel to attach a hooklength of about 15 inches of Preston Power Reflo 0.13 (4lb 12 oz). My current hook of choice is a Kamasan B911, opting for a size 18 as the fish go big in this river, and the big trout are a dab hand at shaking out the smaller hooks.
The first hour saw me cast and recast to build up the bait on the river bottom against an overhanging raft on the far bank. I tend to find that the bites take time to come but when the fish are on your bait, they stay there as long as you can steer the hooked fish away from the trees with minimal fuss. Today was no exception and after an hour of dropping the feeder as near as I could to the branches the tip walloped round. No need to strike with any pressure this time as the tip and the rod were bending round. I was into a decent fish. Immediately I could tell it was a chub as the fight was more measured than the huge trout that frequent these parts. After a good scrap the fish was netted, and judging by the lump out of its back, this was a minor scrap in its recent life. Any ideas on what might have caused that wound would interest me greatly.

What a cracking chub for a small inner city stream. I never stop wondering what this beautiful stretch of river will throw up next. The scene was set and could I follow it up. Well the bites came soon and the next fish was a lovely lean brown trout which gave a fantastic account of itself. As with the chub it headed straight under the barrage on the opposite bank, however I managed to steer it into open water quickly.
I did manage another fish, a smaller trout, but today I missed a few bites, probably due to my rustiness through prolonged absence.
Now time was rolling on, and I had a dilemma. The bites were coming thick and fast, but the circling police helicopter above reminded me I was getting closer and closer to kick off time at the Etihad stadium less than a mile away. City were playing Villa and the kids have season tickets and Hazel and I share an adult one. Bearing in mind I rarely get a Saturday off should I carry on fishing as I think the fish will bite all day, or take the opportunity to watch City in a game that might prove fruitful. The choice was difficult, and proved to be one of those one more cast scenarios. My last cast saw me hit a thumping bite, which by the measure of the bend in the rod before I even touched it was a huge fish. After near on five minutes of pressure to guide the fish away from the branches it decided to show itself. It was a huge trout, easily upward of 4lb. The fish tailwalked up the swim to my amazement then seemed to be on the way to the landing net. As I scooped the net toward what would have been my best ever brownie it took one last hopeful lunge toward freedom. Some you win, some you lose! That was the signal to head off home for the kids and get to the match.
Great choice as it turned out. Fantasy football these days at City, with players that play the style of football we could only dream of watching not five years ago.

The choice was a great one as it turned out. A 4-1 win and some sumptuous football, brought a tear to my eye at one point, as I remembered the fruitless visits in the wilderness years to such places as Huddersfield, Notts county and many more. After dropping the kids home I decided to round a fine day off indulging in my other passion. I popped round to the Bush Inn for a few pints of Thwaites wainwright, a golden real ale that has become a real favourite these days. What better way to celebrate City going top of the league. I have to pinch myself on days like these. I may live in a big city, but why would I want to choose anywhere else to live. A fantastic chub river, Fantasy football, and Fine real ale, all within walking distance. A great end to a memorable day.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

River Trent Rolleston

Something keeps dragging me back to this glorious part of middle England.

It can't be the fishing as the last couple of visits have been dire, and this Sunday was of a similar vein. The halcyon days of big nets of silvers, and the odd bonus big chub seem to be long gone. Between two of us we could only muster a few roach, perch, dace and a couple of bleak.
The only fish of note was a discoloured old perch, not quite an angling times specimen, but certainly worth a photo in my more modest collection.
The upshot of today is that I will not be travelling too far from Manchester in the near future in persuit of a few fish. Nice as it is to see a bit of the country, practical it isn't.

A blank day on the vale

Apologies for the tardiness of my posts these days. I have to balance work, football, fishing and family these days (and regrettably mostly in that order). However I have managed to get on the Medlock recently. On Sunday 25th September I ventured on to Clayton Vale to find I had the river to myself. What I didn't have was any of the killer bait, maggots. The day started with a trip to Ashton angling supplies on Crowhill, only to find they no longer open on Sundays contrary to earlier reports. Never mind, a loaf, a tin of corn, and some false maggots should have been enough to lure a couple of the resident chub. Not likely. A beautiful sunny morning slowly turned to a grey rainy lunchtime and I had no bites whatsoever. I did take some nice piccys of a woefully low river though.

 On any other day I would have moved elsewhere to try to prevent a fruitless day, but today I decided to admit defeat and drown my sorrows. Picked up the family and headed to B.A.S tackle in Bolton to rekindle my enthusiasm, (a great tackle shop), and then parked myself in Yates's and watched Cardiff v Leicester match whilst indulging in a few pints of Bombardier. For anybody not in the know, Bolton must be the cheapest town centre in Britain to eat and drink. £1.99 for scampi and chips and £1.39 for a pint of Young's golden bitter in Yates's, and most other pubs do a burger and a beer for £4.