George's Blog

Sunday 19th November 2017

George Wallace

Sunday 19th November:

With the weather calm and quiet, at least for the moment, the river is falling slowly. This morning it is about 18" above normal, which is a pretty good level for all kinds of fishing. Looking back through my blogs, the last time the river was at it's normal level seems to have been on 3rd September, and it has been anywhere between 18" and five feet above that ever since.

No more salmon and sea-trout fishing, of course, until 3rd March for salmon and the 20th for sea-trout, though someone was seen on the river last week - not on one of our Beats, I'm pleased to say - with a double hander and a salmon fly. Goodness knows what he thought he was doing. That kind of behaviour gets all fishermen a bad name.

Derek has sent out renewal reminders to all existing members, so please help him by returning them promptly, along with the catch return form. We have a strong - and impatient - waiting list, so if you haven't renewed by the end of the year, you may find your place has been taken by a new member. That's not a threat; it's just an explanation of how the Club has to be run if the pressure of work for Derek and me is to be kept at tolerable levels. With no-one volunteering to give us a hand, and both our lives a lot more full of family problems than we would like, there is simply no time to muck about with people who can't be bothered to renew their membership on time.

And if that sounds as though I'm a bit stressed and bad tempered, it's because I am!

Wednesday 15th November 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 15th November:

On this day in 1577 Francis Drake set sail in his ship "Pelican" to circumnavigate the globe. He returned to England in September 1580, having renamed his ship "Golden Hind" during the voyage.

On a less dramatic note, our beautiful River Dee is looking fantastic. At 1130 this morning the level at Dukes, below Bangor old bridge, was 21" above normal (11" on the gauge at Manley Hall) and running clear.

Some of our members have had excellent fishing in the last week, with good catches of grayling on both fly and bait, including several fish over 2 lbs, some good brown trout and a few sea-trout, including a couple of tagged fish. All carefully returned. Numbers of salmon have also been seen, mostly very coloured now, and Rob managed to hook one on his grayling fly. It must have been a good fish because he never even saw it and it spat the fly out after only a few minutes.

Our Landlord at Groves Farm tells me that he had a meeting with a government fisheries officer to discuss improving access for migratory fish above Overton weir. There is a fish ladder on the right bank which is a handy place for illegal netting, so an improvement would be very welcome. I know this has been in the official mind for some time, hoping to return the river to the state Nature intended. Since I always like to be helpful, I suggested a quick phone call to 617 Squadron might provide a solution to the weir?

Your Committee has written to our Welsh Assembly member, Ken Skates, concerning NRW's desire to introduce compulsory catch and release of salmon throughout the Season, explaining that we feel it would contribute virtually nothing to the number of salmon reaching the spawing grounds, while causing many salmon anglers either to give up or to change from a salmon licence to trout and coarse fishing, thus reducing the revenue so deperately needed by NRW for their various projects. A surprising number of our members do not start salmon fishing until 1st of June when they are allowed, at present, to keep a salmon. Even then virtually all the salmon caught are released, which may seem odd until we consider human nature - we know and appreciate the situation and participate gladly but we are supposed to be free men and women and we like the freedom to choose for ourselves, rather than have a blanket ban imposed from above for extremely dubious reasons.

We have also written to our Member of Parliament, Susan Elan Jones, with concerns over sewage pollution in what is supposed to be one of the cleanest rivers in Europe. I had a most helpful meeting with Susan and she is considering how best to proceed; perhaps via a Parliamentary question.

Derek has sent out membership renewal reminders, so please make his life easier by responding quickly.

 

Tuesday 31st October 2017

George Wallace

Tuesday 31st October:

With the river falling slowly and running clear, fishing could be good, though I have had no news of any catches. As air and water cool, you will probably find fish deserting their summer haunts and taking up less stressful accommodation - though in fishing, as we know only too well, there are no hard and fast rules. In the fairly still air, leaves are still hanging on the trees so should not be too much of a problem except, perhaps, in the back eddies.

The AGM went very well on Friday evening and I am sure Derek will be posting a summary of it shortly.

In the World outside BODSA, to-day is the anniversary of the first time British soldiers wore steel helmets. 31st October 1915. The distinctive shape was allegedly designed to deflect falling shrapnel, though in fact it was principally designed to be cheap and quick to make, being pressed out of only one piece of steel.

This is also the anniversary of the official end of the Battle of Britain in 1940, when Hitler took a final look across the Channel in the Autumn mist and decided it might be easier to invade Russia.

And in 2008 a road sign was put up in Wales saying, "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only." The sign was required to be bilingual so an e-mail was sent to the Welsh office for a translation and the words of the reply dutifully inscribed upon the sign. No-one concerned spoke Welsh so they suffered some embarassment when a Welsh speaker later told them it said, "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated."

Wednesday 25th October 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 25th October:

On this anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, it is interesting to see our politicians trying to resolve disputes by other, less violent means. Let us hope they succeed before the EU's stubborness causes it to implode and before Donald Trump and Little Rocket Man reduce our world to a pile of ash. A bit of common sense would not go amiss.

On a happier note, our lovely River Dee is still about five feet above normal, but the water is surprisingly clear so I will hope to hear of our coarse fishing members having some good days.

BODSA's AGM is on Friday evening and we hope to see many of you there.

 

Friday 20th October 2017

George Wallace

Friday 20th October:

The river is still two feet above normal but is running clear and at 1630 this afternoon there were a lot less leaves than I expected. It looks really good. I bumped into Dave at Dukes as he was trotting maggots with a lovely centrepin reel and catching virtually every cast; grayling, dace, one trout and some salmon parr.

Tomorrow, October the 21st, is the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and this is the hoist of flags flown from HMS Victory as they sailed into battle. It reads, "England expects that every man will do his duty."  Every old sailor will remember that there is an order in which hoists of flags are read and it goes, "Masthead, triatic stay, starboard yardarm, port yardarm, top to bottom, forrard to aft, outers before inners." Please make a note of that because I WILL be asking questions at the AGM. Image result for England expects that every man

It was the most crushing naval victory in history, with Nelson's fleet sinking or capturing all but five of the combined French and Spanish fleets. Curiously, I once read a French account of the battle and from that one was compelled to wonder how any of the English survived!

Onward and upward because the 25th, next Wednesday, is the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Ah, the memories!

Monday 16th October 2017

George Wallace

Monday 16th October:

The river level has fallen about six inches in the last twenty-four hours but is still more than four feet above normal. The fish are still there, of course, even though not in their usual haunts, so if you do go fishing, please take care on the slippery banks.  We are waiting for the impact of the Tropical Storm which used to be Hurricane Ophelia, but I reckon she will be too far West to have very much effect in this area. However, we do extend our best wishes to those in the West of Ireland and Scotland who might find themselves in the path of the Monster. As we used to say in the Merchant Navy, "Batten down and prepare for squalls." Good luck, everyone.

Tomorrow is the last day of the salmon and sea-trout season but it still looks pretty hopeless in the continuing high water. However, if you read your Hugh Falkus you may remember the tale of a friend fishing a backwater of the flooded River Eden in the hope of a trout for his tea? Instead of a trout he hooked an 18 pound salmon and having exhausted himself playing it on light tackle he tried again for his trout, only to hook another big salmon. So go fishing, because you just never know. As I am always saying, you'll catch bugger all in front of the TV.

Our AGM is on the 27th, a week on Friday, and I hope to see many of you there. If you are coming, please let Derek know, so that we have the proper arrangements for catering. Quite apart from the chance to vote on the various proposals and to meet your Committee and other members, the hot pot supper is always good and is covered by your membership fee, so don't waste it!

Thursday 12th October 2017

George Wallace

Thursday 12th October:

The river has been up and down like a tart's knickers. The level this morning is some four and a half feet above normal and although it seems to be falling slowly down here, I see that the upper river is rising again, so no immediate prospect of good fishing conditions.

We have had very little rain here but I do know they had a real deluge further West, so that may be causing the high river levels. It may also be that water is being released from Bala, Treweryn and the other reservoirs to make room for expected Winter rains, although one would hope that out of respect for the anglers who pay so much money to fish for salmon and sea-trout, the authorities would wait until the Season ends on 17th October, in only six days' time. I have no information about that but several members, frustrated by a high river when local rainfall appears insignificant, have asked if compensation water is being released. I haven't got time to ask NRW at the moment, so if anyone has any information, please let me know.
 

Saturday 7th October 2017

George Wallace

Saturday 7th October:

A couple of fine days and the river is falling but it's still, at Noon, just over three feet above normal at Bangor on Dee. However, it is running pretty clear so if you can find a good spot to fish, you might do very well.

There are already plenty of salmon and sea-trout in the river and following Thursday's full moon some big tides will bring in even more. Tomorrow at 0218hrs, for example, the tide at Chester weir is 4.5 metres, some five feet above the sill of the weir.

With only ten days of the Season left, we need to take every opportunity to get out on the river, so good luck and tight lines to you all.

Thursday 5th October 2017

George Wallace

Thursday 5th October:

Annual General Meeting -

A reminder that BODSA's AGM is three weeks tomorrow, on Friday 27th October. We have again organised a knife and fork buffet, plus pudding and coffee, which has been excellent in the past and is free for members. However, despite Derek asking who is coming, he has had very few responses and without some knowledge of numbers it is impossible to organise the right amount of food.

So, if you are coming to the AGM, please let us know because otherwise we might have to cancel the buffet. If you have already told Derek you wil be coming, please ignore this - and thank-you.

In the meantime, the river is up about four feet and was still rising a couple of hours ago. However, the level is already falling further upstream so that will get down to us eventually. Fishing is not impossible at this level but you do have to choose your spot. Ian managed a nice 7lbs pike earlier in the week when the river was high but running clear.

Wednesday 28th September 2017

George Wallace

Wednesday 28th September:

Rained for much of the night and the river is again more than two feet above normal. Still rising at Bangor on Dee (0800hrs) but the upper river is already falling again so that will soon happen lower down. Absolutely beautiful morning here with a misty dawn clearing to brilliant sunshine. I'll pop down and have a look at the river later but I can't imagine it will be dirty.

In the meantime, Pete had a nice little sea-trout on Tuesday and then, yesterday, a bright silver grilse of about 6lbs and a barbel of 10lbs, both on worm. Which may be a good lead in to remind everyone that Saturday 30th September is the last day of worming for salmon and sea-trout. From then until 17th October it is fly and spin only.

It is good to be getting reports of grilse because they have been in very short supply in recent years.

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