The challenge was to catch as many species from the local little river as I could during the season. I set an unrealistic target of 20 species and surprised myself just how close I got, especially as I abandoned the challenge as soon as the pike season started!
Relying on experience from the past eight years, a few tip offs from James (rudd & bullhead) and a lot of luck (choach & koi) I managed to land a total of 18 species. And I spotted a couple of tench and a bream - so twenty species was a possibility - next season?
|Mirror Carp||Ghost Carp||Koi Carp|
Monday, 18 March 2019
The challenge was to land 50 plus pike over the course of the season, I didn’t add a target weight, I just wanted to get a load of pike on Pike Blog - although I always hope I’ll bump into a twenty!
I managed 73 pike from 9 venues, only 3 doubles to 13lb 7oz - I’d have liked more doubles but that wasn’t the point, fast and furious fishing - lots of multiple fish afternoons - brilliant fun!
Breaking them down I landed 65 on lures, 4 on livebait and 4 on deadbaits. I stuck mostly to lure fishing this season, perhaps I’d have a caught a bigger stamp of fish on bait - but not as many.
As I photographed every pike I used the camera’s time stamp to create a graph showing the capture time in relation to sunset. Perhaps gaining more understanding of the pike's feeding times.
Obviously this is only one snippet of information, but something I’ll continue to do in the hope of improving my catch rate - and anyone who reads this knows I can’t resist the odd fishing related graph!
Thursday, 14 March 2019
The last day of the season and I couldn't let it slip away without a couple of hours on the river. I grabbed the stick 'n' pin, half a pint of maggots and went for a wander...
More walking than fishing - plenty of roach, dace and chub though - big enough to need the net but not big enough for the scales, that didn't matter - a perfect end to a fantastic season!
Wednesday, 13 March 2019
It was close - could I bank 100 barbel this season and ultimately 500 barbel in five seasons, maintaining a one hundred fish average?
Not sure why I set myself these challenges - I think it appeals to my obsessive nature - but this time I had left it very late in the season.
I wasn't after big barbel, just needed four more before we ran out of time - so even though it was blowing a gale it was back to the river.
And I did it - barbel number 100 above! I'd cracked it - brilliant - James even appeared and was my net-man and photographer.
I also added the freaky looking barbel above for luck - 101. Nope, not trying it again next season - or did I say that last year?
Tuesday, 12 March 2019
There was a 100% chance of rain, wind was 20mph with gusts of up to 40mph and it was cold. It would take a seriously mad man to go fishing in this! But I was eight away from a 100 barbel season.
Three and a half hours later I was as wet as an otter's pocket and I couldn't feel my fingers. The water had risen 2 foot and my Fitbit had reported me drowned - but more importantly I'd caught barbel.
Top down; 10lb 3oz (first double of the season), 8lb 3oz (net-breaker recaptured), about 4lb and about 5½lb. So that's 96 barbel this season - one hundred is in sight but it's going to be close!
Monday, 11 March 2019
An early start, a full day and an attempt to add a monster perch to our seasons. And we had the full four seasons of weather; hot & sunny, cold & pouring rain and gale force winds...
With the winds at their strongest me and James witnessed a big old tree getting blown over - one that must have watched over the perch pond for decades. And one we were standing under an hour earlier!
The fishing was tough going, I lost what must have been a pike on a lobworm within the first half an hour. Then it was just the odd micro perch and little roach occasionally throughout the day...
Just before sunset a dip on the float and my target species, not a monster but I was very pleased to bank a half decent perch. Then two more in the next two casts - then they were gone!
Fishing all day for three fish in three casts, and despite fishing on until we could no longer see our floats no more perch made an appearance. But the monster perch quest has only just begun!
Sunday, 10 March 2019
Up early, crack on with work, finish about noon, race to the river, on route home by 4:45 (to avoid rush hour), finish whatever I was working on, pack gear for tomorrow, dinner, fall asleep in front of TV. Repeat. I can keep it up until the end of the season.
Word on the water is the pike are spawning in the streams and rivers - but I know the ponds are ice-cold - and I fancied one last trip. As well as being cold the water was heavily coloured - I would have been better off bringing deadbaits, but I had 3 hours of lure fishing time.
That perch has a fantastic action and a couple of pike found it in the dirty water. Not monsters, they will have to wait until next season, but great to put a couple more pike on the scorecard. And I'd like to find the one that put the scars on the second pike - I'll be back!
Saturday, 9 March 2019
I dismantled the net, cut off the broken section (and the opposite side which was also about to break), drilled new holes and reassembled - good as new, although very slightly smaller.
It'll break again - a design flaw drilling a hole at the point of stress. Just needed to test it - a couple of coke bottles waved about in the net in the garden would have done - but where's the fun in that?
So I shot down the river - any excuse! Not much time but confidence is high at the moment - two barbel - a very hard fighting 7lb 5oz and one about 3½lb - repaired net tested and approved!
Friday, 8 March 2019
A lovely looking barbel in the net - and click - another landing net bites the dust! And it was a recapture of the distinctive 8lb 3oz barbel I caught on the weekend (chlorine burn across it's left eye - poor bugger). I didn't faff about with another photo.
My afternoon was done. Or I could pack up the gear, catch the bus to the tackle shop, buy a new net and get a bus back - that seemed like a lot of effort - but I did it anyway! Armed with a fairly unsuitable (and unlucky) net I was tackling back up - and I'm glad it did...
Net christened; a fat spring chub - one of three in the afternoon.
A proper christening; first barbel in the new net.
Often practiced but rarely documented; fish juggling!
And barbel number 90 but if I want 100 I'm running out of time!