Monday, 4 January 2016

2015 review

Flicking through my notes and looking at previous entries on my blog has revealed a much better year than I initially thought when I started thinking about writing this post. I won't ramble on at the start too much as these yearly reviews can be long winded, so here it is my look back on the previous 12 months.

Monthly breakdown of my year -

January

With the rivers in the fields I headed to a canal for a first visit and managed nice a nice double. Predicting the river conditions was difficult, but on the odd occasion I timed it right, I managed a few pike, the biggest being a hard fighting 11lb'er caught from a new stretch.

Doubles from a canal and my local river.
February

Plenty of pike caught from the rivers but I couldn't get past the jacks, a couple of decent chub were also landed. I also attended a Denis Moules talk at my local PAC which was I thought was excellent.

March

A personal best chub on my last session of the season, from a stretch that I would spend some time barbel fishing during the summer months. A second visit to the canal, another 12lb'er.

A best chub of 4lb 11oz and a second 12 from the canal.
April

A few late season pike to just shy of double figures and a couple of unsuccessful early season tench sessions.


May

With the water temps around 10°C the month started with my first eel session of the year, not a full night session and unfortunately all baits went untouched. A few local carp and tench sessions didn't produce either species, a few bream and a p.b ide was all I had to show from these local sessions.

A short term contract in North East Lincolnshire meant my fishing time increased and my results gradually improved with some nice bream and carp landed.


June

By far my most productive month of the year as I managed to break a p.b on 9 occasions. A first session on an old clay pit saw me break my bream p.b three times, increasing it to 8lb 7oz.


Some nice farm pond carp to mid doubles were taken, backed up by plenty of decent bream and good tench.


Plenty of carp from a lightly fished farm pond, this being the largest I managed.
On return visits to the clay pit I beat my bream best increasing it to 9lb exactly. Another visit to the pit and I improved my grass carp, hybrid (roach x bream) and tench bests, my mate Ben also beat his bream best.

Two new bests, a tench of 6lb 12oz and a 9lb 1oz bream for Ben. A memorable session.
A one off visit to a day ticket carp water and I managed (amongst others)a lovely common of 17lb 9oz.


A lovely looking common, unfortunately the self take doesn't compare to this mat shot.
July

A return home saw my first sessions on running waster of the season. A good bag of quality chub and perch from my local river, then a few enjoyable barbel sessions on another local water.

The first of the season
August

I was still enjoying the barbel fishing on my local rivers, beating my best on successive sessions.


A new best of 8lb 2oz, which was beaten less than a week later....
.... by this 11lb 3oz fish caught in flood conditions on my local river.

A birthday trip to the River Trent saw plenty of barbel landed and I also managed to catch a first zander.

A first of the species and a seasons tareget achieved.
September

I turned my attention from barbel to the pike, struggling at first, then landing a few fish later in the month. Increasing my pike best and a nice perch over 2 pounds was the best session of the month.

17lb 9oz, a new best.
October

Working increased hours I struggled for time throughout this month, managing just the one pike, a hard fighting river double.

Hard fighting river double.
November

The start of the wet weather which seems to have stayed with us since. My local rivers were largely unfishable (for pike anyway) so I headed to a gravel pit for a first session. A jack and a broken bait boat were the reward for that session.

December

Again the rivers were in what seemed like a constant state of flood, approaching record levels on a number of occasions throughout the month. I was also struggling for time and didn't really fish much.The only fish landed this month came on the last session of the year, 3 pike from the canal including 2 x 12 pounders.

Two last day doubles

2015 highlights -

Barbel to 11lb 3oz*
Bleak to 2oz (approx)*
Bream to 9lb*
Carp to 17lb 9oz*
Chub to 4lb 11oz*
Cruician to 10oz
Dace to 4oz (approx)
Eel to 1lb 10oz
Grass carp to 8lb 8oz*
Grayling to 12oz (approx)
Hybrid (roach x bream) to 5lb 4oz*
Ide to 1lb 13oz*
Perch to 2lb 1oz
Pike to 17lb 9oz*
Roach to 4oz (approx)
Tench to 6lb 12oz*
Zander to 8lb 14oz*

N° of  times I increased a personal best - 16

N° of new bests (overall) - 11

*Personal best

Thoughts on 2015 - 

I have some great memories from 2015. Those that stand out the most; my first session on a clay pit and managing to beat my bream best three times, my first zander and beating my barbel best from my local river.

My favourite catch being the p.b barbel, a day when I expected to blank as barbel on this river are a tough nut to crack. I can still remember mentally accepting the blank and telling myself just to sit back and enjoy the time on the bank when the baitrunner started spinning. When the fish was finally netted I was literally punching the air! A memory I hope stays with me for years to come.

Favorite capture of the year.
My biggest disappointment of the year was my eel fishing. Although I caught a number of eels these weren't of the size I hoping for and I only had the one session when I solely targeted them. Working nights meant I could only really fish days so I targeted the bream, carp and tench instead. On my return home I kept threatening to get my eel campaign started but kept on getting distracted by the barbel.

Again I've kept a record of each session and recce, blanks 'n' all. These entries are already proving valuable, providing previous river levels, water temps, successful baits etc...

Overall definitely a year to remember.

Plans for 2016 - 

My plans for the rest of the season are to target the pike and perch on my local rivers, if current conditions continue I'll focus on the still waters. A best perch before the end of the season would be nice. In the close season I need to find some other local still waters that hold pike, so I'm aiming to carry out a few recces and hope to come up with a few other options for next autumn/winter.

Currently my only other plans are for eels, as soon as water temps start approaching 10°C I will be targeting them. Luckily I have plenty of options when targeting eels, 6 waters locally, probably more, but 6 that I am planning to fish. Some of these waters have a history (not much) of throwing up the odd large eel, others have plenty smaller eels and others are a complete unknown.

There's a possibility I will be working in N.E Lincs again, potentially around the same time as I would expect to be starting my eel campaign. If that's the case I have a few waters to target in that area and plenty of others to explore. Looking on Google Earth, there are well over 50 still waters within a 30 minute drive from my possible workplace, I'll work days and fish nights!

Other than the eels I would like a few tench sessions and possibly a trip away for either the barbel or zander.

Opening day this year is also the day that England take on Wales in the Euros. I'm looking forward to it already and as soon as I know where I'll be working, a day's holiday will be going in for the 16th! Fishing opening day and beating the Welsh in a tournament (which isn't an easy task with the team that they currently have) would be an awesome day!

Happy new year and tight lines to my fellow bloggers, keep the updates coming as I need the reading material to pass the time on the long shifts I work!

Darren.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Deads 2 - Lives 1

Two outings since my last update, the first of which was on one of my local rivers, targeting the barbel. A definite blank, despite trying 8 or 9 pegs, with two rods when space allowed, zero interest.


My last session of the year was on the same venue as the first of the year, a canal. At over an hours drive it's not really a local venue, but the mild wet weather has left my local rivers in a constant state of flood and the lack of any real frosts have left the still waters choked with weed so my local options are very limited.

With a full day free I was aiming to fit a lot in; pike fish two different canals and recce a still water (an old quarry) on the return journey home, however things didn't go to plan and in the end I was happy with just having enough time to fish the one canal.

I was using my standard deadbait gear, DLST P1's with Shimano 6010's, one rod a simple float fished deadbait, the second rod, a float paternostered live roach or skimmer.

The heavily coloured canal didn't really fill me with confidence
Just over an hour for the first interest, the live bait was taken and a nice pike of 9lb 3oz was soon landed. My first pike for nearly two months and the blank avoided so I was pleased.


The rods were leapfrogged along the stretch, positioning the baits as close to the barges or the far bank features as I could. An hour or so later a mackerel was taken, a slightly better fight this time and a better fish.

Whilst unhooking the pike I managed to cut myself on a treble that someone had left in the pike's scissors. They had managed to cut the eye of the treble off, but left the hook points ?, cheers! It didn't take long to sort, cutting the points and barbs off and it near enough fell out. The fish seemed familiar and once returned I compared it to photos of other pike I've had from this stretch. I had caught this fish on my last session here in March.

Yesterday 12lb exactly(l), 19/03/15 12lb 1oz (r)
Unfortunately not the greatest of photos of yesterday's fish
The session continued in a similar fashion, leapfrogging the rods every 15/20 mins. Rain was forecast for early evening so I put most of my gear in the car and just kept the essentials on the towpath. The rain was torrential and I was considering packing up early when the deadbait had some interest, a large smelt was taken this time. A couple of minutes later another 12lb'er was in the net.

The largest of the session - 12lb 2oz

An enjoyable and productive last session of the year.