Car Wash!

Car Wash!

Tracy&James | Sunday, 11 April 2021

I’m writing this having just got in from fishing, it feels good to write that after being locked down for so long. Tracy and I had a great day on the Welsh Dee despite an overnight frost and a bitterly cold wind suggesting that the fishing could be tough. To be honest, it was hard when we first arrived but things got going as the temperature climbed (albeit to only 7 degrees C) during the day.

During lockdown Tracy and I bought a car specifically for fishing as our other car is quite low and prone to grounding, plus it has very fat, low profile tyres that offer little in the way of grip on some of the muddy access roads. Actually not long ago I remember having to get some passing walkers to push me backwards off some level wet grass as my wheels span uselessly.

We had some specific requirements for the car; enough room to get our fishing gear in and all of the BFCC casting gear for when we go to an event.  We also wanted the option of 4 wheel drive for obvious reasons and if it could also be a low tax hybrid then all the better (the other car is in the highest tax band even though it sits in the garage for most of its life).  We managed to find a good example of a suitable car and bought it over the net being as we could not visit the showroom during lockdown.

When we collected the car, all appropriately socially distanced, the dealership had polished the car to show it off to its absolute best as you’d expect.  The car isn’t quite so spotless now as we’ve been using it exclusively since we got it (in fact it’s getting to the point where I should take the other car out just to make sure it’s not seizing up).  What is interesting though is that although the fishing car is now pretty dirty with general road dirt etc. there isn’t one squished insect on the windscreen or number plate.

Now I know it’s only early in the year and spring hasn’t really got into full flow yet, but I find this worrying.  To be fair I’ve noticed this previously; with Tracy and I having regular trips between Hampshire and North Wales over the last 3 decades, I remember when we’d arrive at one end or the other with the number plate almost unreadable due to the black mass of dead insects.  These days the car doesn’t even need a wash.

I was recently reading a report written by a Dee fisher who does regular kick sampling and analysis.  His findings were not good, indicating a river with a very much lower invertebrate population than what would be expected of a healthy ecosystem.  I dare say this observation is repeated on rivers up and down the country, explaining how it’s now possible to travel over 200 miles at motorway speeds without collecting an array of insects on the front of the car apart from the odd wasp.

Currently the fishing is still good on the Dee, there actually was a very brief caddis hatch today that the fish responded instantly to – a retirer sedge was a very successful fly for us.  However, I feel the decline in insect life can only go so far before there’s a major impact on the ability of the river to sustain the fish biomass it does (although maybe this has declined over the years in proportion with the loss of invertebrates?).

Something that Paul said has always stuck with me – “the fishing now is as good as it’s ever going to be”.  It’s sad to think that this is true, but at the moment there seems to be nothing that is going to stop the decline.

Have a great week,