Monday, 6 February 2017

It's been a while

Six months have past since my last update, family and work commitments leaving little spare time for fishing, never mind blogging.
I'll use this first post back to review 2016 and then bring the blog upto date over the next few posts.
2016 wasn't my greatest years fishing, poor conditions on my local rivers at the start of the year, a struggle on both my eel and tench campaigns and then a period of losing almost every pike I hooked.

Eel and tench sessions
I started targetting both species in April, quite early in the year this far north. However I managed a 2lb 8oz eel on my first session but blanked on the first attempt for tench.
I had planned to commit every session until autumn trying to achieve my target of a 4lb plus eel and 50lb of tench. I stayed on track fishing days for tench and nights for eels until the 16th of June when the lure of running water tempted me from the still waters. A few hard going barbel sessions later and I was on the eel trail again.
I fished a couple of new waters for the eels with varying success, one of the waters is very close to home and produced eels on both occasions I fished there so I'll try again there next season.

Eel round up -

Number sessions - 8
Number of eels caught - 5
Largest eel caught - 2lb 8oz

Another very disappointing attempt for the eels, not enough sessions fished and not enough time spent on the water I think has the most potential for large eels. I'm determined to catch a large eel from a local water and will be trying again this spring/summer.

The first of the season - 2lb 8oz

A two pounder from my local river

Tench round up -
Number of sessions - 6
Largest tench - 2lb 14oz
Total weight - 16lb 7oz

Disaster. Tench fishing in my local area is always a struggle, but I thought 50lb would be achievable. I've found a water which holds plenty of tench, probably not capable of beating my p.b, but they do go over 4lb and are usually a reasonable average size. On both visits I caught tench but struggled to get past the smaller samples, a change of tactics needed if I ever revisit.

The largest of the season, caught during an eel session

Other sessions -

A double figure net of silvers on my only stick float session
Late season mackerel to 1lb 8oz
The only barbel of the season, 8lb 4oz, my best from this river

Start of 2016/17 pike season

A change of job means I am working closer to my local river which makes it a lot easier to fit a quick session after/before work. I started my pike season towards the end of September and started catching fairly regularly.
A brace of early season doubles, good going for this river !

By mid October I was pleased with how my season was going, fish on most sessions and a number of which were doubles. Then I started losing almost every pike I hooked. A fish of 8lb at the net, a good 15lb plus whilst live baiting, an unseen heavy fish and then the biggest pike I've ever hooked.

A fish of easily 25lb was lost for no apparent (at the time) reason, I fought this fish for a good few minutes, a solid and very long river fish, easily capable of stripping 30/40yards of braid at will. But I was winning, heart pounding, fish on the surface a few rod lengths out, easing it towards the net when everything went slack.

That fish was lost on the 1st of November and I can still remember that gut wrenching, kick in the balls feeling after realising the fish was gone. I've been chasing a '20' from this river for years, they are rare fish, this was a special fish.

Trying to get my head around the run of lost fish lead to a closer look at my tackle. The only weakness I could see was my reel, Shimano 6010 GT's. Solid reels but the drag isn't the greatest, fine if you back wind but I don't. The drag on my Shimano's needed a good 'jerk' to engage, then it was fine, I'm convinced that the jerky action of the drag costing me fish. I looked into servicing but was advised that parts are no longer made. Time for a change.
I ordered a pair of Shimano 6000 OC and haven't looked back. Solid reels, a bit bigger and more blingy than I'm used to, but they are a quality bit of kit. The drag is very smooth, no jerky action and I'm glad to say it stopped my loss of fish.

I continued my pursuit for a twenty from my local, often visiting the spot I'd lost the big one from, catching a few upto 13lb 6oz.
The largest and best looking pike of the year

River conditions suffered with some snow melt but I was still catching the odd pike and caught a p.b equalling perch.
2lb 4oz, equal p.b

I also started to get the odd chub on deadbait, always after the light had faded, these went to 4lb 4oz, my best from this river.
A solid chub on dead bait

My final session was a visit to a canal, hard going but good fun, we landed 5 pike between us, all taken on lives fished in the upper layers. Ben caught the lions share but I managed the largest.
Final fish of the year, an urban pike
2016 highlights -

Barbel - 8lb 5oz
Bleak - d.n.w
Bream - approx 12oz
Chub - 4lb 4oz
Dace - approx 6oz
Eel - 2lb 8oz
Grayling - approx 12oz
Perch - 2lb 4oz*
Pike - 13lb 6oz
Tench - 2lb 14oz.

* equals my personal best

Not my greatest year but we can't all be Terry Lampard!

Anyway 2017 has started well, hopefully I can get something up in the next day or two.

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