Perfect Day (nearly)

Big smiles after a great afternoons fishing from Dave and Matt.
We spent the afternoon on a stretch of the river we have never tried before near the centre of Manchester. It was a HUGE shock to us to see other people fishing on the Irwell - at one point there were six fishermen in 100yds of riverbank! Just as we arrived one of the guys already fishing was in the process of catching a typical Irwell pike (about 4lbs).
Sadly this was the only fish of the day as nobody else had even a touch after that. This was a pity as it was a lovely afternoon for February.
I set out with the intention of trying to show Matt how to fish a paternostered live bait, and had anticipated spending Thursday or Friday afternoon on my local lodge catching the neccessary small roach to use as bait. However i ended up wasting both afternoons waiting at home for a plumber who didnt turn up. grrrr
This resulted in no livebaits and the neccessary purchase of deadbaits from the tackle shop, which were c**p and turned to mush as soon as they defrosted.
I have successfully paternostered live and dead baits on still waters but never on rivers. The force of the flowing water was too much for the floats i had in my tackle box and it made bite indication virtually impossible as the float was submerged by the force of the flowing water. After an hour or so we gave up and put on a lure.
I had some pinkies with me and tried trotting these down an inside line for an hour or so, but was only fishing half heartedly as i was more concerned with assisting Matt. A strong flow and light bait such as pinkies arent the best combination, and the swim i fished could be much better attacked with a different approach (maybe i will try mashed bread and flake on the hook next time).
Neither of us had even a touch, but had great fun chatting with Dave, who is one of Matts coaches from the Segdley Park under 12's rugby team. Dave is a really keen angler, and like many other Mancunian fishermen is amazed that people are now fishing the Irwell. Dave is really good fun and has lots of great fishing stories to tell which pass the time when the fish arent biting.
As you can see from the photo we stayed until the light had gone but were still laughing and joking at the end of a good afternoon. You dont need to catch to have a good time, we tried out a new swim which offers great pike fishing and also looks as though it has great potential to fish the stick. I cant wait to give it another try and might do so one afternoon later this week.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Nick and Tom who were also fishing the Apelhi Weir. Nick has an excellent blog Nick and his friend Tom are very knowledgeable and have an obvious passion for angling. It was great to discuss different swims, baits, venues etc whilst the fishing was slow and meeting them certainly added to the afternoons enjoyment.
Its great to discuss how the river is slowly evolving from an open industrial sewer, to a river system that now supports Salmon, Otters and Kingfishers with people who care and take the time to notice the changes that are taking place.
Most Mancunians still regard the River Irwell a dead, polluted throwback to our industrial heritage. Unfortunatley there has been very little local publicity as to the huge steps taken by the EA and United Utilities to improve the water quality in the Mersey Basin and the improved wildlife habitats that this has helped provide.
The vast majority of locals have no idea the Salmon now run up the Mersey every year and are spawning in tributatries such as the Bollin and Goyt.
It was good to discuss the potential of Salmon fishing in Manchester with fellow fishermen on the banks of the River Irwell !
A fish for Matthew was the only thing that was missing from a great afternoons fishing.