Monday 27 March 2023

Season Review 2022/23

A tricky season this one - cancer had a big impact; fishing around surgery, chemo & radiotherapy - but I did get the all clear in November - fantastic news! Not much piking but far more fishing than I was expecting - so here's my fourteenth season review since I started blogging - written monthly as I went along...

Closed Season: Things were very up in the air after the diagnosis - after the bad news we had to create a plan to try and deal with it! Fishing was far from my mind to begin with but an away day before surgery seem a great idea - and a catfishing trip was perfect - eight cats to a 33lb 6oz new PB - that'll tide me over...

June: Opening day was just 10 days after surgery - but I dragged myself to the riverbank - it really gave me something to work towards. Season opener was a small carp and soon the barbel flowed - 34 of them over three trips to the Small River, not big fish but just what the doctor ordered! Plus a 5lb 3oz summer chub.

July: A couple more trips to the Small River but the main event was five days on the mighty River Wye. Targeting barbel in the low water, a few hours a day on Swan Shit Island inbetween family time. And the fishing didn't disapoint - 30 barbel to 8lb 4oz, 70+ chub and seven eels! Hopefully be back for a few more barbel before pike time.

August: Started with a mission to find a seven pound plus barbel on the Small River - do they still exist? Yep, got one - but I think they're few and far between now! Then a fantastic day chasing Fenland rudd in the boat with James - no monsters but a pretty perfect day! And the initial round of treatments came to a close - I am knackered!!

September: Really knackered - in fact I ended up in hospital - just pushed it too far! I had to cancel my trip to The Wye and take it easy closer to home. I've said it before but I'm so lucky to have the Small River - it was a summer of chasing barbel - and great just to be out on the riverbank when I thought I would be stuck at home!

October: Still going to hospital regularly, I escaped to the River when I had the chance - sometimes going straight from my appointment - barbel and a bit of trotting. A couple of weeks relaxing and recouping in Tenerife - just what I needed. And back to the Small River! Really hoping the treatment is coming to an end - fingers crossed!

November: The news I was waiting for - all clear! Brilliant!! To celebrate I tracked down an ultra-rare bream from the Small River, and added a few more barbel. A trip to The Wye was derailed by floods - typical! And closer to home I opened my pike account with a beautiful small stream 14lb 10oz fish - more to follow I hope...

December: Started with a 5lb 9oz chub, cracker but there are bigger in the shoal. Then the temperature plummeted, snow & ice - and I stayed inside! It warmed up for my traditional Xmas trip back to The Wye, the river was unsettled but fishable - no pike! A few chub & a Wye barbel found the net but where have the pike gone?

January: Another cold month, but I took the opportunity to fish when we had a few warmer days in a row. I started the month with some big chub to over 5lb. A trip to the Kennet where I was the net-man for a new river double for James. And finally managed my first double barbel of the season, backed up with 26 more to eight pound.

February: The frosty morning and cold days returned, which hampered my search for a big end-of-season chub. When it warmed up I was back into the barbel, taking my Small River barbel count to over 200 for the season! I am starting to find a bigger stamp of fish, perhaps I can find another double before the season ends?

March: The final push, two weeks left of the season. I started the month with a brilliant day on the River Wylye which saw 21 grayling banked, five over 2lb to a new PB of 2lb 12oz. And a few local trips took my barbel total to 259 fish (including The Wye). Turned out to be a cracking season after all - roll on the next one...


  1. Great season Brian, starting in difficult circumstances. Some great fish caught, but my favourite bit is the "all clear". Am sure fishing helped in its own small (river) way.

    1. Cheers Adam, I write a paragraph a month and try not to read them until the end - always surprises me when I read it all together. A difficult season health-wise but I’m getting fitter every day now and hopefully I’ll start the next season in full health.

      I think fishing was a massive help, it drove me out of the house when it would have been so easy to stay in bed or in front of the telly. Fresh air, bit of exercise but most of all it gave me something else to focus on.

  2. All things considered Brian, I'd say you've had a fantastic season, that you did in on a road to recovery makes it remarkable. That you are here to write about it well, that's the best bit.
    I imagine next year's will read quite differently but no less impressive.

    1. Thanks Dave. I’d call it a fantastic season, there was a thought in the back of my mind that it could have been the last season - so it’s great to look back on but I wouldn’t like to do that again. Very much looking forward to the next one…

  3. T'was an epic season all-round mate all things considered, I think next season we need to do plenty of predator fishing come wintertime, but....theres 7 months before that and I hope many many more fish filled days and nights!

    1. You never know how the season is going to go, but turned out a lot better than I thought it would in April! To say the least!! Fancy a few more predators next time - 1x pike, 0x perch & 0x zander this time - hopefully won’t be hard to beat next season…

    2. We shall put that right later in the year :) you bet it'll be fun, targets have already been set!