Fishing Sim World

Clint Walker - Looking for dace on the River Trent

On my way back from a session elsewhere, I recently checked out a free stretch of the River Trent, hoping to be able to find some areas in which to cast a line, and absorb a little bit of information from any anglers who were there. The stretch in question isn’t that long, and my investigations revealed only a couple of fishable pegs, but it looked nice, so I decided to have a crack at it later in the week…after all, it looked absolutely perfect for dace on the stick float!
A few days later, I returned, and was delighted to find that the peg I really fancied was vacant… in fact there were no other anglers to be seen anywhere, so I spent a good few minutes watching the water, spotting the flash of dace over the gravel, and the dark shadows of chub in the deeper water beneath an overhanging willow. I was itching to get started, having heard tales of gudgeon to 1lb 2oz (I know) and roach to 3lb 15oz (!) in addition to big chevins and other monsters! The reality I surmised would be somewhat different, but as I love small river fishing, I quickly got the float rod out and started to tackle up.
As I threaded the line through the guides of my rod, I glanced down at my bag to see an empty space. It took me only a few seconds to realise that my session was about to change drastically; I’d forgotten my floats! Ahhhh! I really didn’t fancy fishing the ‘tip for lightening fast dace, but with no other option, I dragged out the leger rod, set up with a 2oz insert to counter the flow, and put out a bit of groundbait upstream to stir things up. A size 16 hook held a couple of maggots, and with the addition of a small bomb, it was gently lobbed out and left to settle. The tip curved around as the flow created resistance, then it pinged back as the lead moved… and moved again… and again. I’d obviously misjudged the current under the willow, so swapped to a gripper lead to give more surface area and greater friction. The rig went back out, and settled nicely…
I always struggle to hit dace on the ‘tip, they are just so fast, finicky, and fleet, so it was a case of waiting for a definite pull before striking. I was so off the pace though and missed so many bites, that if I’d been in a gunfight at the OK corral, I’d have had six holes in me before I’d shot myself in the foot through my holster! Eventually, I got into the swing of it, and managed to hit perhaps two thirds of the dace, with a steady stream of nicely conditioned fish soon on the bank. I’d dropped down to a single maggot on a size 18 hook to get better indication, and for the next couple of hours, caught nothing but dace from the swim amassing a reasonable total of shimmering silvers.
I continued to bait the swim every few minutes with a nugget of groundbait, and a pinch of maggots, and whilst expecting yet another dace, was surprised by the ferocity of a take which almost had the rod off the rest! Connecting with something much heavier, the rod hooped over as I tried to steer the fish away from a mid-stream snag. I didn’t get chance, the light hooklink parted within a few seconds, but not before I’d seen the golden flanks of a nice chub as it belted away from me, sadly for good! Although I hadn’t hooked any of the big gudgeon (!) a chub was a welcome distraction, and I have to admit I was less than pleased with the lost fish…
With chub in the swim, I stepped up the tackle and put on a heavier link, and a bigger size 14 hook. The tail of a worm was added, and it was cast back out into the darkness beneath the tree. I had to wait almost fifteen minutes for the next bite, another lurching wrap around take, and was pleased with a perch in absolutely pristine condition. A few more followed, although sadly no chub which appeared to have been spooked downstream by my loss, and as I contemplated packing up, a flicker of the tip caught my eye, and I watched as it gently trembled… I lifted the rod and winched in a slender sliver of purple and gold… a gudgeon! Not the monster fish I’d had described to me by a fellow piscator (1lb 2oz indeed!) but nonetheless a joy to behold as it’s delicate cloak of colours glistened in the late afternoon sunlight. After a disastrous pollution incident in recent years, the humble gudgeon was a wonderful indicator of a river on the up, of clean water and good times to come. I had a very pleasant day by the riverside, and I’ll certainly visit again, but I’ll try to remember my floats next time… it’s easier to catch dace that way!
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Fishing Sim World
17 Mar
Clint Walker - Looking for dace on the River Trent
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