Monday 26 March 2018

Season Review 2017/18

The traditional season review, and this time it’s a full twelve months. A season that saw a new PB rainbow, tench, orfe and crucian and a tidal double figure pike - among others.

A long post, written throughout the year, but I tend to go back and read these recaps - this will be the ninth review - and I’ve put a lot of time on the riverbank and seen a lot of fish this season...

April: No closed season blues this year, summer arrived early and the tench and carp were soon on the feed. I spent some time tracking down a new species - a golden orfe - great fun stalking these.

And I had a brilliant trip to Lechlade chasing monster trout with Steve and Dyl - Steve won the day with a 9lb rainbow - but hopefully we'll be back, we all fancy a double.

May: I managed to snare my target 5lb plus orfe on the last trip to the orfe pond before a couple of tench bait-n-waiters. I beat my PB three times to a cracking 7lb 12oz fish.

Then I walked a lot of miles looking for a canal pike, um, I mean bream. Hard to find and even harder to get them to take a bait I was pleased with a canal best of 8lb 1oz.

June: The month started with a few canal perch and Farm crucians while I waited for the river season to open. But the season opener was a damp squib. Tough fishing on The Stour.

I bagged up closer to home in the summer heat - that barbel pull I'd missed for three months - remember that next season! And spent a fantastic day on James' boat in search of rudd.

July: Brilliant visit from Paulos and Sammi - the River Wye conditions were pretty horrible - where was the water? But we did manage a few chub and barbel - great to get Paulos a barbel!

Locally I had a few barbel, fishing in the middle of the day made things harder for myself - but you can't beat stalking them and watching them take the bait in the clear summer water.

August: The summer sun hung on, and the barbel remained on the feed - and I filled my boots! A trip to The Stour turned up four pike - not the target - but I'm not complaining!

And I managed to bag a local 5lb chub - I've been stalking these for nearly 8 months, so it was about time one slipped up. The next target is a London six - first step, try and spot one...

September: Summer began fading into autumn, in the remaining summer sunshine I made the most of some quick local sessions, taking my count to 70 barbel and 8 four pound plus chub.

I also beat my crucian PB, aiming for a three pounder, it was tough going but after a lot of hours and some serious rig development it all came good with some really massive crucians!

October: Predator season started with a trip to the tidal Thames on James' boat where I landed my first tidal pike and the next cast was even better - a tidal double - brilliant start!

As well as pike I was keen to catch my 500th local barbel before the weather turned, and I landed some cracking fish to 9lb before hitting the magic 500 - the fighting fit beauty above - job done!

November: Opening day on The Frome and another new venue double figure pike was added to the list. I was keen to add more but my cat died and I didn't really feel like fishing for a few weeks.

Towards the end of the month I ventured back out on the boat and landed my first river zander - not only that but a tidal one. I also added a nine and a few jacks to take my season total to 15 pike.

December: The winter weather began to take a turn for the worst, making our perch and grayling fishing tricky. I beat the weather with 2 days on the Wye for 3 pike to 17lb before the snow washed in.

I ventured into the frost on our annual Christmas fly fishing trip with Steve and Dyl - love trying to tempt these cunning fish in the clear spring water - and 10 between us graced the net - brilliant!

January: The floods arrived hampering the predator fishing so I turned my attention to the local barbel population - I found a bigger stamp of fish taking my season total to 120 barbel to 10lb 9oz.

I also continued targeting chub, taking my river total to eleven fish over my 4lb target including my second five of the season at 5lb 1oz - a really big fish that has plenty of room to fill out.

February: The unsettled conditions continued, water levels up & down and towards the end of the month it got really cold. Locally I bagged a few barbel but it was getting harder to find them.

A boat trip on a flooded Thames produced a jack. And a three day weekend down south was tough going; but a couple of jacks, a few trout and a bream provided the action - chilly fishing!

March: A snowy start to the month but with only 2 weeks left I fished at every opportunity. I had my best roach of the season, a stunning river carp and took my local barbel total to 132 fish.

And a beautiful double figure pike completed my Oyster Treble - I’ve now had doubles from ten rivers. Well the season had to come to and end, but it was a cracker - roll on the next one!

Chief bait tester, Aeko 2007-2017.


  1. Nice one Brian, a cracking collection. I love the contrast on certain days "opening day, a damp squib", couldn't have been further from the truth for me, but equally you had some lovely Pike and that Zed where I struggled to land a tampon!

    1. I felt I fished alright on the opening day but it just didn’t happen for me, sometimes that’s the way it goes, plus I was busy taking photos for you!

      But it balanced out over the season, some lovely fish, new PBs (always nice), and an arm ache load of barbel - can’t complain :-)

  2. Looking back on the season I have some very vivid memories, little moments that stick in my mind - not involving big fish - I was going to do a post on them but perhaps I’ll stick it here.

    The first was fishing with Paulos on The Wye, we’d caught some chub but as day was turning into night I thought a barbel wasn’t going to make an appearance. Paul had a bite and landed an eel, I asked him to watch my rod well I got the forceps. I glanced back to see him strike and my rod had that bend only a barbel could provide.

    The next was when I was standing on a wall freelining a bit of bread, with the drop to the water I was about 12 foot up when a little barbel about 3lb appeared from nowhere and nailed the bait - and put up a fight of a fish three times its size - the most memorable fight of the season.

    Fishing with Steve and Dyl, trying to fool some very spooky trout I watched one follow my fly across a gravel bar, I stopped the fly and it sank to the bottom where the trout looked at it for about 10 seconds before grabbing it, I don’t know why I stopped the fly and I have no idea why the trout decided it would be good to eat.

    Next was when I was blanking for chub on The Stour when I thought I’d wobble a deadbait, perhaps a pike would save the day. I twitched the roach past a very pikey looking reed bed - when it was in front of me I looked at it as if to say “why didn’t you find a pike?” when a jack shot out from under my own bank and nailed it.

    And lastly, on the last day, trying to net a good barbel for James. The water was fast and the net pole wouldn’t lock - so when the barbel was ready the net just spun helplessly in the current. James got the fish to me 3 or 4 times before my brain unfroze and I ran to get my net instead.

    Well that was a really long comment on a really long post, I should have made it a post itself...

  3. If I didn’t know better I’d have thought you were trying to sabotage that Barbel!

    It was a very good season, just going to be a little pressed for time this season!