Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Fishing the tiny River Medlock and beyond

Sunday, 26 February 2012

We're Salford friendly, we'll blank where we want!!

Today saw the Salford friendly crew arrive mob handed on the Irwell. Twenty strong we had the upper hand. The fish could surely be no match for this tidy posse. We had every trick known to Salford up our sleeve ( or in our tackle bags). Other fishing clubs had been on the manor and not stayed the pace, but there is a new mob in town. Led by The Fishing Fiend and his apprentice The Manchester Pecheur we arrived early doors. Hoping to show Salford the score, we were met by a welcoming party, six or seven strong..... Cormorants.....on every lampstand!!

First hour and no movement we brought in our secret weapon.....Paul Carr. He could winkle a fish out of a plughole. He arrived to to put our minds at rest by proclaiming he would show us how its done...result!

We were getting turned over, and with not a single fish to show the Pecheur was on the edge. He decided to head up a little splinter group deep into the City's canals through Castlefield to explore the possibility of a scrap with a few Pike or even some game Perch. Conrad and myself followed buoyed up by the Pecheur's expert knowledge. By now the Fiend was hallucinating, or at least dreaming...John's expectancy seemed far more realistic.

So off deep into the City we went. The results were the same, no takers. Every wide, every basin, every feature was fished to. Our lures could find no takers.
We returned hours later to join the boys back on the river with our reputations in tatters, the best we could muster was a catch by myself, an umberella, which I backed up with a Ribena carton and a gents jacket. On the day I have to be quite proud of this achievement.

On our return to the river would the Fiend or Paul bagged up? Not likely. In fact there were twenty anglers today on the Salford Friendly pike fish in, and not a single fish caught. Some very capable anglers, even the stick wizard Derek put in an appearance, to no avail.
So that was that. Big turn out by all but the fish, however we live to fight another day. To put the top hat on it, I headed to the Dutton hotel by the Arena for my lift home to find it closed, and then to realise I had left my hat in the Kings arms after our Hot Pot supper. The evening was going from downhill to ski slope!
So the next pub down the road was the Derby Brewery Arms in Cheetham hill, and as I waited for my lift by the bar complete with rod bag and tackle bag on Sunday disco night, I had to commend the locals for taking the strange sight of an angler in Cheetham Hill in their stride. However the disco was in full swing and I was the least of their worries.
On the plus side Hazel gave me a lift to the Kings to find my hat propped against the Organ. The day was saved.
The most interesting point of the day was when the new landlord of the Kings Arms introduced himself to the guys..None other than Paul Heaton out of The Beautiful South, which produced some conversation, and the quote of the day... Ask him "Are you the guy out of the Stone Roses?" . He seemed a real gentleman and may have not been too pleased with that question!
So there you go. The most enjoyable non- event this year . Good job we all like a pint and hot-pot!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

In the shadow of the Etihad

Driving by the Etihad blink and you may miss the River Medlock. Stop to look and you may be dismissive of it, but to ignore it is your loss. Amidst the regeneration of this once run down suburb of City centre Manchester flows a rubbish strewn river that at first glance you would think must be barren of fish. However as this blog has shown on numerous occasions that is far from the case. I n fact the fish go big in parts. As usual I went to bed last night with a carefully thought plan, today's was to fish the canals in the city cenre looking for Pike. On getting up I changed my mind and decided to fish the Medlock and try to realise an ambition, to catch a chub within sight of the Etihad stadium. Things didn't quite go as expected. I did catch fish within 200 metres of the stadium but they weren't chub. The first came on the first cast and a beautiful fish it turned out to be. After a ten minute battle it was landed, a lovely brownie.
Little was I to know what would follow. The fish got bigger and bigger. I caught eight fish of varying sizes wrapping up with the biggest in the evening as I was about to turn it in.

Note I have finally sussed the timer on the camera, which was a good job as I would have been dissappointed not to get a picture with the final fish below.

If you like a scenic location urban fishing may not be for you but the rewards for trying awkward , unusual locations can be worth the effort. Some of the best fishing can be in the most unthinkable places. The police helicopter circled twice during the day and a police van arrived on the road bridge at one point. Not the quietest spot but at least the vandals around here have a little class though!

 This fish is a personal best trout from the Medlock and what's interesting I lost three fish that I never even saw. They could have been bigger. One thing I noticed was these fish fight hard as they live in a culvert with fast flow. Getting their heads up in the water is hard work. By the end of the afternoon my wrist was aching. Two of the fish took over fifteen minutes to net. This is a complete difference to their tamer cousins upstream in Clayton. This unusual river runs through a complete diversity of areas into steep gullys in the City centre, and this is the lowest spot on the river I have caught on, other than Potato Wharf. I have found a nice spot lower down in Beswick though and aim to try before the close season starts.
At this point I usually predict my next trip, which then turns out totally different. However Sunday is the Salford friendly anglers pike fish-in on the Irwell, a day not to be missed, and hopefully a chance to find a few specimen fish and sink a few real ales. Roll on Sunday.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Winter wonderland

After making arrangements earlier in the week to spend a day on the river today with Josh, the only thing that could get in the way would be the weather. Try as it might, the weather turned on Saturday and the snow fell, all day and evening. Indeed so bad was the downfall that a ten minute journey from work to home took a good hour on Saturday evening as I got stuck in traffic, ironically by the River Medlock in Bardsley, Oldham. Several buses and vans were strewn across the road as they struggled to pull through the snow and up out of the valley. I considered cancelling our impending outing but knowing I wouldn't have another opportunity this week, and Josh hadn't texted to say he was in two minds, I decided to carry on regardless.
After a Clayton Cafe brekkie it was down to the river, and down to business. We arrived at the Bay Horse in Clayton to find the valley completely white, and absolutely quiet. Not many people out early today, understandable really.
We tried a good few swims today in search of a few winter chub. It was not to be, but this river is full of decent fish, and after trying below the weir , we settled on a deep hole above the Clayton bridge. It took about half an hour before the first bite came here, and it fell to Josh, who had tackled up on lighter gear expecting the fish to be a little fickle in the cold. What he hadn't banked on was a large trout taking his bait and promptly swimming upstream for a few yards before turning and smashing through his hook length and disappearing into the depths. I however had stuck to a heavier rig, using Preston power 0.13 (4lb 12oz) hook length, which proved to be the difference as within ten minutes I was into a decent trout. The bite was a drop back on the tip, and as I tried to tighten the line the tip dropped back again. I realised I had a fish hooked that was swimming upstream towards me. This fish finally came to the net after a lengthy battle watched by a tidy audience that had gathered on the bridge. There was huge relief as the fish eventually ran out of steam and came to the landing net to comments of well done, and look at that etc, etc. Most locals don't even realise the river contains anything but traffic cones and bicycles, let alone decent trout.
I managed a second slightly smaller, but equally strong fish from the same spot. Again this fish took me all over the swim before giving itself up. These river fish are so powerful that using lighter gear really is not an option.

After such a flurry of action the swim was to go quiet, and the fish above proved to provide the last bite of the day. Although the river went quiet the valley became really busy as the sledgers descended in their dozens. We stuck it out for a few hours more but knew the best of the fishing had passed. Once again a satisfying trip on a river that just keeps on throwing up decent fish.
I have an enforced break from fishing due to work, and a trip to France in the next couple of weeks. I am considering packing some lure fishing gear though, as I think I will need my weekly fix, so keep watching.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A belated birthday

Due to pressures of work, my birthday on Monday had to be celebrated a day late this year. That celebration should have been by netting a good bag of chub from a much lower River Medlock now the constant rain had subsided. What I didn't bank on was a return of the frost, and a freezing cold river, which I sampled first hand with my right hand as I slipped down the bank and reached out to steady myself early in the session. So with one wet arm I proceeded to try to tempt the resident fish to snap up my bait, try being the relevant word. The fish were even less up for it than me. Only one trout felt the need to sample my bait. One bite , one fish in six hours, in the freezing cold. The brownie below fell to a double maggot offering below the big weir at Clayton bridge. This swim is normally prolific with smaller fish, so much so I tend to not bother here unless I am scratching for bites. There are generally better specimens upstream of here. Anyway you know it is a dead loss when a banker swim only throws up one fish in the last hour.
Having endured a long session in the cold with little action I decided to turn it in a little earlier today. After a hot bath and revived somewhat, I decided a trip to the pub with the family might save the day . So it was off to the Haddon hall for a steak and a couple of pints, which hit the spot, before  rounding the night off with a glass of chardonnay or two from my birthday bottle and City on Sky sports. Even City did their best to spoil the day, losing at Everton.
This week I need to find a spinning rod which fits in a suitcase. I have decided to fish the club's pike fish in on the Irwell in a few weeks but don't have a rod. I also want to take the rod to France the week after next as we are going to Eurodisney for the umpteenth time, and I have spotted some monster Perch in the main lake between the hotels on my previous trips. I am not sure on the legalities of fishing in Disneyland but am sure it will be a challenge, if only to not get caught! Rebel!!