River Douglas - Irwell Stick Session


I recieved a message from John Derbyshire letting me know that the stretch of River Douglas that we  have previously fished together was in perfect condition and would I fancy a quick Irwell Stick session on her. It wasn't long before I was flying up the M61 to meet John Irwell Stick at the ready.....lol. Midway to John’s house the heavens opened an it rained heavily, non-stop for about fifteen minutes. "This doesn't look very clever" I thought to my self as I pulled off the motorway in the direction of the " Derbyshire Residence ". The rain then suddenly stopped...." Fantastic " I thought at least we be dry when we blank.....lmao.
I belled John to let him know I was outside and within 5 minutes we were off to the River Douglas for another session using my Irwell Stick Floats.

My Pearlescent, Feather Inlayed,Irwell Stick.

Johns Irwell Sticks are the two smaller floats on the left. 
The other three are, longer " Retro Sticks "
We arrived at the river about 12ish without forgetting anything. (which is a miracle for us two) John was already set up from a previous session but I was, shall we say, a little less organised and had to rig up from scratch. John kindly offered to wait until I was ready to fish as we were going to take it in turns to fish the various pools and runs targeted. I just laughed and said " Get fishing pal, don't wait for me. Hearing this John was like a dog out of the traps. First trot down for John and his Irwell Stick float bobbed under, a nice arch in his rod formed and I could see he’s was into a descent fish first chuck in. It was typical of us two that the landing net had been forgotten in the rush to set up and fish. I stopped tackling up to gave my pal a helping hand and netted a beautiful looking chub in quality condition. Johns face was beaming " I told you they would be having it today didn’t I Mike " , "You did pal, you did " I replied. Seeing johns easy capture. I was itching for a trot my self but I still wasn't ready. I left John to un-hook his first fish and I got my head down getting my rig right.

 Right, my rig was finally right and I was ready for my first trot just as John slams into another descent fish. The fight was a little different from this one, spinning and kitting all over the swim. ".Looks like a brownie this one John" says I, just before it started tail walking the full length of the pool......" Really "says John. ".What gave it away we both laughed at that as it is a common thing for brown  trout to tail walk in a river when hooked. Sure enough as the fished flashed in front of us we both recognised the tell tail spots if a wild brown trout.. I quickly netted her for John and thrust the net towards him. "Here" I said, my turn now...... lol.

I can still here John laughing at me as in the first 5 minutes I missed 3 bites an pulled out of two fish.........

"Not doing so well today are you Peanut " John chuckles, not even trying to hide the grin on his face. I moved over to let John have a trot as he laughed as said "Only kidding pal. I bumped two when you wasn't' t looking. I took another trot down the run and had a good bite but this time I felt something solid on the end. She bolted straight for the tree roots on the opposite side. I really had to clamp down hard on my Abu 704  closed face reel and angle the rod to 350 degrees to stop her from reaching her goal. I was confident because I was on  5lb line and bullied her into the open water to tire her out but I had to be quick , the fist run was like lightning. Within a couple of minutes though she was in the net, a lovely Chub 
just touching 2 lb.

Mine & Johns  slightly smaller chub. Had to get that in John.....pmsl
While I was setting up I had been trickling some liquidised bread and the odd maggot into some slack watter beneath my feet and while john had a trot along the main run I thought I would have a dip in the slack. Within 30.seconds my float buried and the new Acolyte arches round ........ and the the line went limp.......the fish had  gone !!!!!!!!........."bugger" I muttered. "Have u lost another Peanut " ..... Laughs John. " You have a go in the main run and I will have a go in that slack water (The main run being the better peg ) " offered John. With a quick switch around my fist trot in the main run produced a tail walking brownie which kept catapulting itself out of the water and nearly hanged itself in tree !!!!!!!!!!!!!!.John landed her for me and had is first drop in the slack water. I was just about to flick out my Irwell Stick when the " Ginger Assassins " face lit.up. I looked at his rod and it was fully arched round in contact with a guddun...........
" You have got more jam than Hartley's Derbyshie " 

I said as I chuckled at the concentration on johns face as he played a good fish. 

" I think its a roach " whispered John 

as we both went silent and things got a bit more serious.We were both on heavy line for roach fishing and it is very easy to pull out of these beautiful fish by giving them too much stick. With skill and precision, ( don't tell him that ) John eases the fish away from the near side jungle.of snag's and stick ups and raises  her up in the water column so we could identify her. There was no mistaking the bright red fins and  metallic flash of one of Britain's most beautiful species.  

" Jesus.......she is over a pound John ......'

 John never said a word. All his attention was on guiding the fish around the swim without snagging or inducing a hook pull. What seemed like ages but, was only a couple of minuets John slips the fish over my waiting landing net and she was Johns...Like two kids both grinning from ear to ear as we gazed a Johns prize. What a fantastic fish from a little river.. I must admit I was a little jealous. She was an old fish but still very pretty. We checked her over , had a god look and slipped her into the keepnet. I patted John on the back and said
 " Fish of the day that pal "....Johns grin said it all..........

Johns roach brace - very jealous.
Time was ticking in know. We had one last trot down and called it a day on run one. 

The total catch for run one....  9lb
We assembled all our clobber and started the cross country hike to the next run. There are lots of places worth a dip along our route but not for two people really so , after a 10 minute walk we arrived at our destination. This was a big shallow bend in the river and a run I had fished on my previous trip with John. I tricked maggots in from my bait apron as john set up camp. John had fist trot down and was straight into a good brownie, as was I on my trot down"  The fish have moved position in the pool, they are not where they were last time " John mutters. So between us we searched the little pool out. It didn't take long for us to find the fish. First to show were the dace. There are some very good dace in this area and John was the first to bag one. They were hanging back right at the end of the pool in a foot of water. We both missed a few bites and had a few fish. John then chose to revert back to the original line for his last trot of the day. As I have said before in this tail John has more jam than Hartley's and hoked into something a little different. It was a perch of about 8oz but its colouring was superb. It was a toss up between the roach and the perch for fish if the day. We decided that the roach was the winner due to its shear size for the Little Douglas. We took a few pics and packed up. " Do you fancy the last hour on the tench lake Mike " ? This is now the end of October and although I like a challenge I thought John had bitten off a little more than he could chew with this one. 

The dace brace , about 6 oz
 A beautiful marked perch around 8 oz.
All packed up we jumped in my car and headed of to the tench lake for a last dip hoping to break my tench duck on the water. We only had a few worms left as the thieving Robin has snatched them all from us fist thing this morning. It was quiet ....... then John was into a fish but it was a false dawn ans a perch was catapulted out of the water. My float went then with exactly the same result....a perch about 5oz. The light was fading now and two grown men were fighting over the last worm......lmao

" Right, lets cut it in half then we both have a chance of a Tench ( They don't like maggot too much on here )
So with half a worm each we fished the last half hour out together, sat on a freezing cold wet bank enjoying ourselves. We were laughing at something on other when John stopped in his tracks, paused......then struck.

 " I'm in ......... I'm only in Mike " !!!!!!!!!!!!

He cranked the fish up hard getting it away from the blanket weed which covers the lakes marginal shelf. A large boil erupted on the surface and a saw a flash of green and cream.

" Its a tench, I don't believe it John .....you have a Tinca on " I screamed. 

It was at that moment that the fish was a little to fast for John and bolted towards him and the blanket weed at full speed. Within seconds the line went solid and the fish was gone .......... ".We were only gonna get one chance at a tench today and I have blown it muttered John......in a mood....lol.

The Ginger Assassin in a slightly brighter mood.....
 Well, I have still got my worm left pal I said......taking the mickey out of him. John sat back and chilled. Cursing the fishing gods and wishing the thieving Robin had left us a few more worms. " One last cast " I said trying to bring John out of his depression. He looked at me and said .

" Narr. That worm of yours is going to grow webbed feet its been in the water that long" 

We both rolled over laughing at that. Once we had calmed down John said ".You may as well fish the light out on that amphibious worm worm of yours "  !!!!!!!!

So , my transparent worm goes for one more last dip. We were having a good giggle about my worm when my float bobs, goes around in a full circle and travels off slowly in a zig zag pattern.........very strange !!!!!!  I hit the bite an way, the rod locked up and I was in..... John shat himself and jumped up...." Jesus I don't believe it " The acolyte was in a full arch and I could feel the fish thumping and kicking. "Its a good one John " I whispered. Just then the same thing happened to me. The fish swam towards me at full speed and buried its self in the blanket weed. " Bugger " shouts John as he thinks it has come off. ". Its still on pal , I can feel it, try and move the weed with the landing net ". As he does so the fish moves up in the water and I see it for the first time ........

I couldn't believe my eyes ..................

It's an eel........its an eel .........I could see dark snake like body with a pure white belly. " I see it to Mike ". " Be careful that blanket weed is a nightmare once the fish gets into it  " states John in an excited babble !!!!!!!!!
It was then that the eel span and span quickly........then the line went limp.......!!!!!!!!!!

We looked at each other GUTTED.....& no pics for the blog either :(

Not only did we both loose a prize fish each. The eel would have been a new point for my rod race campaign.............

" We cant grumble John. We have had another cracking day putting the Irwell Sticks through their paces and I would rather loose a fish than never hook it. At least we know the tench lake holds some BIG eels now.I can see a double day / night session coming on there in the summer pal "

On that thought John brightens up a little and we both start planning the summer attack.....LOL

If you would like to look at all of the hand crafted floats I make please click on the link below and it will take you to my float page.



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