What a season! Things that spring instantly to mind are canal pike, perch fishing in a gin-clear Wye, chasing jacks in a little chalk stream (it's not all about big fish), several pound plus roach, a big zed (twice) and monster arapaima. And the Predator & Barbel Challenges.
As well as fishing there was some beautiful locations and being the net-man and photographer for several other angler's cracking fish. And exploring some new venues with James (who took the fishing at the end of the rainbow
photo above - shot in a million - thanks).
Here's a breakdown of a brilliant season that included a ton of fish and 6 new personal bests - bream, dace, rainbow, rudd, tench, and zander.
I had planned to get out every two weeks but work had other ideas, I did manage a few trips to Marsh Farm where I caught tench, roach and bream - no monsters but it was great to wet a line. I even managed a few elusive crucians the day before the season opened, love these fish. How did I ever manage sitting it out for the full three months?
The highlight of the closed season was my first canal pike - a proper urban pike from the heart of London - a 15 pounder on a lure - great stuff!
I had the opening week off work and hit the local river hard, landing 24 barbel in three trips for over 100lb - sixteen of them on the opening day - a much better start than recent years.
Another trip to Marsh Farm produced two new personal best in the shape of a 1lb 1oz rudd and a 6lb 4oz tench in the same afternoon. A rather splendid week off work.
I continued to cram some time in on the local river with Saturday mornings and some short after work sessions while I still had some summer light. And as well as barbel I added chub to my target list, landing quite a few to 4lb 2oz.
I achieved a target I've been after for a few years; a pound plus roach from the local river - a 1lb 2½oz beauty - my fish of the month and perhaps a target for the winter.
A trip to The Wye provided a start to the Predator Challenge in the shape of perch, including two over 2lb - I really wanted to beat my PB this season and would love a three pounder.
I also added trout to this season's species list, normally caught while fishing for something else I had a great afternoon targeting them. And took my barbel tally to 70 fish - the mission was now to catch 100 this season.
I started the month chasing a monster pike on The Wye, but it wasn't to be. Though I did catch a double and my first Wye barbel in over 10 years - I'll be back for the big girl.
A low water recce to The Royalty will hopefully come in handy for future pike sessions and we made a start on the local zander fishing. And an afternoon on the local river took my total to over 80 barbel, was the 100 target is in sight?
A trip to Thailand was the highlight of my month, three full days chasing monster fish in paradise. Four arapaima to 180lb topped off a trip that also included a bunch of catfish as well as other exotic species - I will be back!
Back to the Predator Challenge
, landing 3 pike but unfortunately lost a nice mid-double on The Royalty. A new PB rainbow rainbow trout on The Test the next day was some consolation. Predator Challenge: 68lb 8oz
Started with a trip to a beautiful Chalk Stream chasing jacks in the clear water, topped off with two 1lb+ roach. Then a trip to Bury Hill provided the start of an obsession with zander and zander rigs. Starting to get a handle on it, I landed 17 zander and a new PB of 9lb 1oz!
A trip to Coventry for Jeff's 'Zebvember'
was tough cold fishing but I did land a new venue double figure pike of exactly 10lb - and she was beautiful! Predator Challenge: 169lb 14oz
Still mild, I continued my obsession with zeds, experimenting and refining rigs - it took over my whole month, but I did land my PB zed again at the same weight, my second biggest at 7lb 14½oz and took my career
total to 52 fish (41 of them this year).
A couple of quick trips to the local river upped my barbel count to 93 fish - 7 left for the century! Predator Challenge: 281lb 10oz
A game launch took a lot of my time, and a non-fishing trip to Iceland, but even the few times I did hit the riverbank it was tough fishing. The year opener was a blank and a couple of trips chasing dace produced only trout.
An afternoon on the local river was the main event of the month, landing a 4lb 6oz chub and adding three more barbel to the challenge, followed by a 3lb 3oz chub in a very quick trip the next day. Predator Challenge: 281lb 10oz - Stalled!
I did loose a big barbel and a PB roach, but I'm not going to dwell on that. It was a month full of fishing and fish! Exploring a new river, my best brace of roach, new PB dace and I wrapped up both challenges.
Barbel number 100 graced my net for an average of 5 barbel per trip - not bad for short sessions! And bunch of chalk stream jack pike pushed my Predator Challege
past the 300lb target. Predator Challenge: 304lb 14oz - Cracked it!
The final two weeks. The first of which I watched slip away from the comfort of my office. But the second saw me into the barbel, completing the second part of the Barbel Challenge
, 500lb. And had a couple of very enjoyable relaxed trips messing about on rivers before they closed. Predator Challenge: 309lb 6oz
But now we're back in the closed season, our enforced break. I do plan on hitting the ponds when the weather improves but for now I have an office that looks like an explosion in a fishing tackle factory and a very long to-do list... Fantastic season, roll on the next one!
Not bad mate, not bad at all. I'm sure you'll catch even bigger this seasonReplyDelete
Yeah, already researching new big fish venues for next season...Delete