Sunday, 28 December 2014

2014 review

2014 has been a productive year for me, mainly due to the amount of time I have been able to spend on the bank. I have also put a fair amount of effort into finding new waters, using new methods and targeting species other than pike. During the last 12 months I have broken a p.b on 14 occasions and achieved the modest targets I set myself at the end of last season.

Monthly breakdown of my year -

January - I was struggling on the rivers and didn't really catch anything of note but I attended my first PAC event (motorway pond) which I enjoyed even though I blanked.

February - I was still finding it hard on the rivers but had some success on the still waters with some nice pike that (just) made it into double figures.

10lb 6oz
March - I was catching pike during March but they were all jacks, I fished the rivers for the last 5 days of the season and struggled, but I managed to get a jack on the last day. I started my perch campaign and I was concentrating on a farm pond, the sessions were enjoyable but I couldn't get anything over the 1lb mark.

The largest I could get from the farm pond

April - Lindsey was busy with her dissertation and finishing her final year at uni so my fishing time 
was limited, I managed 2 sessions, one for the perch and the other a pike session in the Lake District. The perch session was on the farm pond but I didnt get anything over 8oz, the pike session was more enjoyable with a few pike to double figures.

11lb 6oz

May - I had my first eel session of the year, which was uneventful and another difficult session on the farm pond. I was on a course for a week and I managed to fit a few short evening sessions. I caught a first rainbow and p.b carp and p.b crucian.

16lb 10oz

June - The start of the river season and my first chance to fish opening day for years. I managed a nice but unspectacular net of small chub, perch and roach on the stickfloat but ultimately I will remember the day for what was lost (a definite 20!) and not what was caught. Another stickfloat session later in the month ended up with similar results but I also managed to bank a nice pike of 12lb 10oz. Another eel overnighter, no eels yet but a couple of jacks.

The first fish of the river season and a nice river pike

July -  I managed 6 new p.b's during July, eel, grayling (twice), perch and tench (twice). The tench came during an eel session and went 4lb 15oz and 6lb, I later found out that the venue record is 6lb 4oz which made the capture more pleasing. 

A brace of p.b tench 4lb 15oz and 6lb

I caught my first grayling (no more than a few ounces, but still a p.b!) during a stickfloat session. During a perch session I managed a new p.b of 2lb 4oz with plenty of other 1lb plus fish and also another grayling p.b, 11 oz this time. The eel came after a change of venue and was the only fish of the session, 2lb 7oz.

2 new bests

August - I caught another eel p.b (2lb 15oz) and targeted my first running water barbel in years. I managed a couple of whiskers increasing my p.b to 5lb 1oz.

A personal best - 2lb 15oz

September - Whilst bait snatching with the whip I caught another p.b grayling, this time it was over a pound (3 grayling, 3 p.b's). I had another barbel session and caught 4, taking my p.b to 6lb 7oz. 

An enjoyable session

I finally beat my pike p.b with a 15lb 14oz fish which took some landing on my perch live baiting gear.  The captures of the barbel and pike were both recorded on my GoPro, which have been good to watch back. 

Finally beat my p.b - 15lb 14oz

I also caught a few other pike, including a couple of doubles to 14lb 6oz.

October - Getting pike to take a bait wasn't a problem, but keeping them on was. I lost as many as I landed, with the largest going 10lb 6oz.

A lean river doubles

November - Frustratingly the loss of fish continued, I managed to land 6 in November but they were all jacks. I did have a double take and landed both, which was a first for me.

2 in the net, a first for me

December - The river conditions weren't ideal and the only pike I hooked was lost...... I did have a short chub session and caught a couple of small but welcome chub.

2014 highlights -

Barbel to 6lb 7oz*
Bream to 4lb 5oz
Brown trout to 1lb (approx)
Carp to 16lb 10oz*
Chub to 4lb 3oz
Crucian to 1lb 4oz*
Dace to 6oz (approx)
Eel to 2lb 15oz*
Grayling to 1lb 1oz*
Perch to 2lb 4oz*
Pike to 15lb 14oz*
Roach to 10oz (approx)
Tench to 6lb 0oz*
Rainbow trout - 2lb 4oz*

* personal best

Thoughts on 2014 - 

I'm very pleased with how my year went, I increased more p.b's than expected and have already achieved the targets I set myself for the 2014/15 season. The most pleasing catch of the year was  beating my pike p.b which had stood for over 3 years.

The most disappointing/frustrating part is the number of fish I lost, especially pike. This is something I'm working on and hopefully can sort out before the end of the season.

Although I beat my eel best on two occasions they were the only 2 eels I caught, looking back I wish that I'd had a few more sessions after them, especially on a still water I had access too. I'm planning on renewing the ticket for the water and hopefully I'll get one from there next year.

This year I've kept a diary of every session and recce I've been on. I've made comprehensive notes on captures, baits used, methods used, weather conditions etc.... I'm hoping to keep it going next year as it has become a good aide for comparing river levels to previous sessions, knowing what baits have been successful etc.....

Plans for 2015 -

Until the end of the river season I will still be concentrating on the pike, however I'm only going to target them when I think conditions are favourable. When the rivers are up I'll either target the chub or head to a still water for the pike.

For the 2015/16 season I'm going to set myself a few targets -
  • P.b eel
  • P.b pike
  • P.b perch
  • A first zander
I doubt I will be able to spend as much time on the bank next year, but I'm going to aim for quality sessions and not quantity, perhaps I'll head a little further afield when time allows.

I am keeping all the clubs/tickets I currently have and I'm also joining another club which will give me access to some prime chub and pike waters. I'll aim to fish more eel sessions than last year, but I'd also like to fit in some evening barbel sessions. I'll mainly be sticking to the rivers for the pike hoping to up my p.b again. For the perch I'll stick to the same tactics as this year, stickfloat or small live baits. This worked well this year and I hooked a few bigger perch than I landed.

I have a few waters in mind for zander these are about a 250 mile round trip so I'm hoping I can bag a few and make the trips worthwhile.

Happy new year and tight lines for 2015.



  1. Darren - great post! Good luck with your 2015 targets - tight lines: Dylan

    1. Thanks Dylan.

      Looking forward to your updates in 2015.

  2. Cracking write up with some serious good results. Good idea to set targets next year. Tight lines for 2015.


    1. Thanks Mark.

      I've enjoyed having some targets to go for this year, it's a good way to boost some p.b's for species I neglect.

  3. Looks like a good year to me mate. Obviously I'm loving the pike most. :)

    1. Thanks Paul,

      I haven't done much lure fishing this year, which is strange as I generally catch more pike when I do, but your videos have made me want to get the lure rods out again !

      Good luck for 2015

  4. Just keep at em, the more you fish the better chance you have in capturing those PBs, the Tench especially are stunning, I love dark coloured Tinca's they look so good. Good luck for 2015.