Wednesday, 26 November 2008

River Dee Carp Pt1

Big north west carp lakes tend to attract a few dole scrounging bums these days. If you fish one of the better known circuit carp waters you’ll notice this type of angler tying up swims for weeks on end. Only being able to get a decent swim when one of these bank tramps decides to go home for a wash is not a happy situation to be in and I’ve been left frustrated many times when I’ve been unable to move onto fish because of these dossers.
Thankfully, there are some places these lazy carp anglers and indeed most other carp anglers won’t go and that’s our rivers. The river weaver in Cheshire has been quite a well known carp water for many years now and it was the first river I targeted for carp. The fishing on the river weaver was actually quite easy and I well remember not seeing another angler for months on end, I also remember catching a shed load of carp including some lovely 20lb+ fish.

Having had a real hard time getting on the carp on some of the popular north west big fish waters recently I decided the time was right to try and catch a river dee carp.
The river dee is not a known carp water, I’ve actually been gently digging, probing and doing homework on the location of river dee carp for a couple of years now and got nowhere. The carp of the river dee would seem to be very elusive creatures!. Despite the lack of information I decided to have a night on the river recently and see for myself what I was up against.

For the last few weeks I’ve walked the river a bit and checked out a few likely looking areas, after a handful of recce trips I picked an area which looked like it might produce a carp. The area in question was on the inside of a large sweeping bend, somewhere I thought the carp might prefer as the flow on the inside of this particular bend was very very slow.
Having fished for river weaver carp for a few years I’m well aware of how much prebaiting can help so prior to my first trip I made a couple of covert visits to the river dee to bait up. Over a couple of days, 8 kilos of chick peas, 3 kilos of tiger nuts, 5 kilos of hemp and 1 kilo of boilies were introduced to the river on the inside of this large bend. When I arrived on the river for the first session one thing was apparent straight away, there was the large amount of fish showing in the area I’d put the bait but they weren’t carp!. I tried to ignore this, after all, the same thing happened on the river weaver when I fished there, lots of roach and bream showing over or near the baits wasn’t unusual on the river weaver, the carp would always follow under cover of darkness and I hoped the river dee would be the same.
I'd missed a night of baiting then went back next night with the rods, I set up just as it was going dark and dropped a couple of boilie hookbaits over the area I’d baited up, I topped up the area with more chick peas too, both rods were given quite a good scattering of bait in the hope of intercepting any carp that might be present or passing through in the night.

I’d been fishing for around two hours when I had a few bleeps from the right hand delkim, bream was my first thought, I decided to leave the rod a while to see if anything developed, after another bream like drop back I decided to wind the rod in and re-position it. I topped up with a small handful of boilies just to make sure there would still be bait out there with the bream around. The rod was only back in for 5 minutes when the rod tip slammed round!. I couldn’t quite believe it, the speed and ferocity of the take was amazing, I’ve never seen carp run as fast and hard as this fish was!. I slipped off my bedchair and down the bank and lifted into the fish gingerly, I was flat rodded straight away as one seriously angry carp went charging off down the river. Steady pressure took its toll and eventually I managed to turn the fish and bring it towards the bank, despite the carps initial strength it was no match for a 3.5lb test curve daiwa infinity rod and 15lb berkley big game line, with plenty of playing power I was able to lead the fish back and despite putting up a hard fight you’d expect from a river carp, I eventually slipped the net under my first river dee carp. It wasn’t a big fish and on the scales it just made double figures, a nice common that weighed 10lb 8oz. Well!, that was a good start, a couple of hours into my first session after river dee carp and I’ve got one already!.

First River Dee Carp at 10lb 8oz

I did all the usual things a carper does, after sorting the pictures, I returned all my gear to where it’s kept, having everything at hand is good practice especially when night fishing, there’s nothing worse than not being able to lay your hands on something you need in the dark and putting my gear back in place is routine for me. Camera, scales, torch, tackle box, bait, pva mesh etc etc, everything has a place.
I replaced the hook bait with a fresh boilie and re-positioned the rod again, a quick top up of the area with more boilies and chick peas and I was hopefully ready for another fish. The night passed quietly until 3am when a repeat performance saw the left hand rod go screaming off this time, the take was absolutely vicious!. This carp fought even harder than the first one, at one stage it was steadily swimming upstream against the flow and against the pressure I was applying and despite this it still run 30yds up the river!. Eventually I got the carp under control and into the net, surprisingly this carp turned out to be smaller than the first, also surprising was the carp itself, a ghost/mirror carp cross that looked lovely despite a few red blotches on its body and tail. The ghost mirror turned the scales to just 8lb 2oz, not massive but a nice surprise fish and I couldn’t help wondering how it ended up in the river dee!.

Surprise capture, an 8lb 2oz Ghost Mirror!

The ghost mirror turned out to be my last fish of the night and I packed up at 7 a.m. in order to avoid being seen by anybody, the last thing I wanted was another carp angler latching on to what I was doing. I didn’t want to be seen by anybody at all whether they were a match/pleasure angler, carp angler or even just a dog walker, at the end of the day people talk so it pays to be discreet.
Before leaving I baited the area again with another 3 kilos of chick peas and 2 kilos of tiger nuts as part of my preparation for the next session, in between now and then I’ll keep the bait going in and hopefully entice more carp to visit and stay in the area I’m fishing.
If someone had told me I'd catch on my first river dee carp session I'd have taken that!, with success on my first session I can't wait to get back for another go, in an open river system you have no idea whats coming next and having an element of the unknown in my carp fishing definitely makes it more exciting. Roll on next week and another unknown river dee carp.

A walk along the Meadows in Chester City Centre

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