Catch Fish with
11 March 2003
By last Saturday the river was beginning to fine down (yet again). Knowing that the season was coming to an end and that we each had a box of leftover maggots Nigel and I decided to try for a few coarse fish. It was a pleasant enough afternoon but try as we might nothing was forthcoming. For a couple of hours we fished likely looking main river swims without so much as a bite on either swim feeder or float gear.
We knew that the dace were likely to be gathering for spawning in the adjacent millstream so we decided to spend the last hour fishing there. We were not too hopeful because the hatches were wide open and most spots were torrential - virtually impossible to fish. However, just downstream of a bridge the channel widened and the flow was steadier so we set about trying to catch dace.
Nigel decided to trot down and I was touch legering with a single shot as weight. We fed in a few maggots and it was not long before we both began to get bites. At about the third attempt I managed to hook a fish but the lack of resistance and wriggling struggle suggested that it was not the sought after dace. In fact it turned out to be a salmon parr which was quickly photographed and returned. Baby salmon (both parr and smolts) proved to be a nuisance and it made little difference where or how we fished - they seemed to be able to find the baits.
I dropped one better fish in a little slack behind a small island and next cast, to the same place, I found that I was into a fair sized dace. As I held it to remove the hook the roughness of the skin told me that it was a male. Shortly afterwards I landed another nice male dace and then the bites ceased and it was time to pack in.
Anyone who reads the angling press will have noticed the fantastic catches of big dace from the River Kennet recently. No doubt anglers there are targetting the prespawning dace shoals. This is certainly a prime time of year for locating catching quality dace in numbers. Nigel and I were just a bit slow to settle for doing it.
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March 11th 2003
A salmon parr.
A salmon smolt.
A male dace.