Sunday 31 March 2019

Season Review 2018/19

My tenth season review - written throughout the year. And it was another cracker; monster trout, a serious canal carp, the mini river species hunt, a fantastic shark fishing trip and a load of pike! I added six new PBs (including sharks) and landed a total of 26 species of freshwater fish - that must be a personal record.

Closed Season: A great day on Lechlade produced a new PB rainbow and a PB brown trout, a double! Then I turned my attention to the local canals landing 3 small pike and a monster 28lb mirror carp, smashing my PB. The Blogger’s Challenge concluded and I was more than happy with third place - not a bad off season!

June: Opening day saw me into the local barbel, that pull I’d missed for three months. I also continued my canal carp quest landing two more, including a double. And I started a hunt to catch as many species from the local river as I could this season, setting the near impossible target of 20 species - 11 so far - including a choach!

July: In the grip of a heatwave it was best to try and avoid the barbel, instead I turn my attention to adding some mini species to the hunt; minnows, bullheads and sticklebacks were caught. I added common and mirror carp, but a koi proved elusive. And floating bread provided some explosive chub fishing while waiting for some rain.

August: Shark fishing! I’d really been looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. A new PB lemon shark for me and Roger, 7’ 7” & 7’ 8” respectively, two bull sharks to 6’ 9” topped off a twelve shark trip. Plus a few stingrays. And a great holiday in America; dinners, water parks, beaches, nature and crazy southerners!

September: Back to reality I stalked out a few carp on the local ponds, while doing some reccies for autumn pike and perch. The river had seen a bit of rain while I was away and I upped my local barbel count to 55 fish. And, after some near misses, finally landed an elusive koi carp - taking my species hunt total to eighteen.

October: Pike time! And lots of pike, no monsters in fact only one scrapper double, but I landed 44 pike from some local ponds throughout the month - I really wanted to get more pike on Pike Blog this year. I had a few local barbel and a load of perch on the lures but pike were the main mission - 47 landed so far this season.

November: Less time on the water I added 7 more pike, cracking my target 50 Pike Challenge - although I need to add some more doubles. A fantastic trip to the Test Valley saw me land 6 pound plus grayling to just under 2lb. Plus some quick missions to the local river to wet a line - and bag some beautiful autumn roach and barbel.

December: I added a few more barbel (total 71) and 7 more pike (total 61) but I was really hoping The Wye would be on form for my annual Christmas visit - but as usual the floods arrived. I had a cracking couple of days chasing trout and perch on the fly with Steve and Dyl - really should do more fly fishing throughout the year.

January: First trip of the year saw a beautiful double figure pike on a deadbait. A trip down to The Royality produced only a jack - tough fishing. Locally I bagged a few more barbel, but again the cold water was making it tricky. And a few missions to the local ponds saw some pike fall for the lures - which warmed me up no end!

February: I was busy with work - drawing robots! But I did manage to escape to the river with the stick 'n' pin and catch seven pound plus roach, the best of which went 1lb 14½oz, plus some cracking dace. Just one pike added to the challenge. And with some unseasonably warm weather I landed six more barbel to 9lb 1oz.

March: Only one pike trip with 2 more pike added - total 73. But the main mission of the final two weeks was getting my barbel total to 100 fish, I'd left it very late but more trips to the river than I'd planned and I cracked it - including a double - total 101 barbel - brilliant! Another fantastic season - roll on the next one...

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Fish Of The Season

Normally one fish each season stands out - but this season there have been a few contenders. A double figure brown trout on the fly from Lechlade, backed up with a PB rainbow. Blog post.

A monster carp from a sparsely populated London canal, caught on floating crust, netted while lying on the floor to make my net reach the water and weighing in at 28lb 12oz. Blog post.

A new species, well hybrid, the ultra rare choach (chub/roach). I never thought I’d see one of these let alone catch one, and a 3lb 8oz beauty from a local river was a fantastic surprise. Blog post.

All the arm ache of a daytime bull shark from a deserted island, one of three sharks that day and it really felt like fishing in paradise. Part of an amazing shark fishing holiday. Blog post.

On the flip side of fishing in paradise, I’ve included this stunning barbel. Caught in horrendous conditions; cold, pouring with rain and blowing a gale - just proves you’ve got to be in it to win it. Blog post.

Friday 22 March 2019

Species Hunt 2018/19

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?

Chub Barbel Perch
Chub Barbel Perch
Roach Dace Gudgeon
Roach Dace Gudgeon
Brown Trout Rudd Goldfish
Brown Trout Rudd Goldfish
Minnow Choach Bullhead
Minnow Choach Bullhead (Net)
Eel Stickleback Common Carp
Eel Stickleback (Net) Common Carp
Mirror Carp Ghost Carp Koi Carp
Mirror Carp Ghost Carp Koi Carp

Monday 18 March 2019

Pike Challenge 2018/19

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

Felina 18/19

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

Gale Force 101

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?