Friday, 23 September 2011

First trip to the Medlock

Over 30 years have passed since I first walked along the banks of the river Medlock and thought " I'm going to come and fish here soon". Needless to say I never got around to it and eventually forgot all about the river. Then recently I found The Meddy Man blog and my interest in this largely overlooked little water was rekindled.
 So when I woke this morning with nothing to do its seemed like the ideal time to get on the banks and see just what I could coax from the river. 25 minutes of bus travel later I was finally on the banks with 12 foot split cane rod in hand. The first few places I looked at were unfishable for me ( I walk with the aid of a cane so steep banks are a distinct no-no) so had to walk a little ways along passing some rather interesting swims before I finally fetched up at a very inviting wierpool.

I wasted little time setting up with a home made crowquill topper on 4 lb mainline on my Leeds pin with a 2lb hooklength to a size 16 hook. Bait was to be a fresh flake of bread. The bites started coming fairly quickly but  it seemed no matter how I tried I was missing the fish. So assuming the bites to be coming from minnows or something of that kind of size I scaled down to a 20's hook and a 1.1 lb hooklength.
My next cast was to the somewhat smoother water in the centre of the pool and my float sank almost immediately. As soon as I struck I knew that what was on the end of my line was no minnow as it barreled straight for the far bank. Mindful of the ultrafine hook length I carefully made my way down the slope I'd set myself on to some rocks at the edge of the pool and set about bringing the fish to the bank. I can't begin to explain how delighted I was to see my first brown trout in 10 years as it slipped over the edge of my landing net.

 For the next couple of hours all I could catch were a few very small chub and I was beginning to despair of anything more substantial taking a liking to my flake, however I had seen signs of larger fish out towards the far side of the smoother water , unfortunately I was having a few problems with my casting distance due to my neglecting the upkeep of my reel. Would you believe I'd put it away wet and all the oil/grease had gone from inside its workings restricting its spin? 
 Feeling a little frustrated and more than a little annoyed with myself I figured it was time to switch to the more modern tipping rod. At under seven feet its got to be the shortest quivertip rod I've ever seen but for all its lack of length its quite a powerful wee thing. The wieght was to be a small drilled bullet, hooklength was 2lbs and the hook a size 18, bait again was breadflake . 
 A light underhand flick was more than sufficient to send the bait flyin out way beyond my targeted area...oops. A quick wind in and I let the tackle settle. No sooner had I put the rod in its rest than the tip started to bounce and my second brownie was on its way to my net. Not as big as the first but still a nice fish.  

 While not the most productive of days it was nontheless an enjoyable experience, especially catching the first fish on the cane rod.The only downside to the entire day was packing up at around 6pm, walking back to the road and then finding out the bus home had already stopped running for the day *sigh*
 I think next time I venture on to the Medlock I'll plan it a little better, take a flask of coffee and some maggots for bait and make sure I have transport home . Thanks Meddy Man for reminding me of the Medlock , its definitely a river worth another visit, or two ;)
 Tight Lines all.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Birth of a Love Affair

 Two men were influential in my passion for the sport of angling, my Dad , Mr Walter Clarke and my Granddad , Mr Jock Blair. From the tender age of 7 these wonderful men introduced me to the world of 'stripeys' ( perch) 'redfins' (roach) and trout. They each had a slightly different approach to the sport and each had their own methods of teaching. For example before my Dad let me near the water he made sure I wasn't going to be beaten by a tangle by bringing home as many 'birds nests' as he could find and having me spend hours at a time working my patient way through them and removing any hooks and or shot I found.
Some ten years ago both these wonderful men passed out of my life within a few short months and both left me a split cane rod. From my Granddad came a rather stiff unnamed rod that I've been led to believe is a cheap version of the Avon Mrk IV . So far this tree-branch like beast has landed me several skimmer bream, 1 perch and a carp of around 8lbs. The carp was a specially satisfying catch coming as it did on the first anniversary of his death.

 From My father I recieved a rather short (6ft) rod that I was told is a japanese reproduction made circa 1950. I have fond memories of using this rod as a bairn catching stone loach on the local canal.At that time I never dreamed that one day I would own it.Since then I've been surprised at some of the fish it would handle, especially when coupled with an old wooden starback centrepin I bought at a carboot sale. For example I set out to catch perch with it once, fishing just 2 foot deep with a perch bobber float and a size 20 hook using a small red worm as bait. The resultant catch was my PB carp to date, an arm-breaking, heart-stopping beast of 12 pounds! The fish gave me one of the longest and most exhilarating fights I had ever had and after that I was hooked on the feel of a big fish on a cane rod. Nothing compares.
 Since then I have purchased 2 more split cane rods for an absolute bargain price of just 5 pounds each, One is about 7 foot long and was used for spinning for pike by the gentleman I bought them off. The second came in a bag the old fella assured me was its original, a bag with the legend " Aspindales" on it. A little research has led me to believe its an Aspindale 12ft General Purpose. Its also one of the lightest and 'whippiest' rods ive ever owned.
 Along with these rods I also became the proud owner of the old gents bamboo handled landing net and a speedia centrepin. Unfortunately the reel doesnt spin too freely so its been relegated to a purely ledger fishing role.
 I then set out to buy myself a more functional centrepin and opted for a Leeds reel, simple, easy to use and understand.
 Since then I have fished several places using the cane and pins and on each occasion that I've landed a fish, be it a commercial fishery carp ( Llyn Y Gors in Anglesey ) a roach of 1lb or more ( Renny Lakes in East Harlsey) or a wild chub of around 3lb (The River Tame at Stockport) , I have enjoyed every minute of the fight and thats just what each fish has given me. None of this hook it , crank the handle and have it on the bank in 5 minutes business you sometimes get with more modern tackle but a " wow look at that rod bend now play that fish" scrap every inch of the way.
 After reading a certain chaps blog I'm now looking forward to fishing the medlock with my old cane tackle and seeing how I do.
 Tight Lines all