Tuesday 8 January 2019

New jack city

Having longer than expected for my first session of the year I decided to head to a new stretch, further upstream on this river than I’d previously ventured.

Steady action from the off, I pulled out of a jack first cast and with the next cast I landed a nice looking fish which was possibly pushing double figures.

I had steady a stream of runs throughout the session, landing 5 and pulling out of a few jacks.

Enjoyable fishing in beautiful surroundings with an abundance of wildlife putting on a show over in the far bank. I was sat opposite what seemed like a buzzards favourite perch and a pair of kingfishers were continuously working the stretch. 

The pike were also in top condition, even the jacks were well marked. A couple of the jacks showed scars from lucky escapes and a much larger fish followed the last jack of the day to the net.

A good start on this stretch, it seems over run with jacks but I know there’s at least one good fish here so I’ll be heading back soon.

Saturday 5 January 2019

2018 - a quick review

A look back on 2018 and a chance to bring the blog up to date.


Flu caused a delayed start to the year but 4 pike to 12lb 8oz on my first session of the year was a decent start. Big floods made the river difficult and unpredictable, my attempts for barbel, chub and pike went unrewarded.


An enjoyable month chasing chub and pike on my local rivers with chub to 5lb 3oz and pike to 18lb 2oz.


The rivers were up and coloured and I was pushed for time towards the end of the season, I managed to get out 4 times catching chub to over 4lb, pike to just over 10lb and a very satisfying final day barbel before the rivers closed.

A couple of still water trips with fish caught each time, nothing of size but these were my first fish from these venues so a decent way to end my pike season.

April (and May)

Any spare time I had was spent visiting stretches of river, walking the banks, making notes for the coming season and very occasionally spotting fish. I visited eighteen different stretches, some were flying visits, but most were in depth recces with a castable fish finder making copious notes for future reference.


A few short sessions on a french river whilst on a family holiday, barbel were the target but they were hard to locate I did manage a good bream and a wels catfish my first of the species.

Unable to fish opening day, my first session was a few days later, a frustrating blank. By the end of the month I was regularly landing barbel.


12 barbel plus the odd chub were taken on short after work sessions. 5 landed during one session, my best haul from this river so far.

Other sessions included a double figure net of silvers from my local river in bright sunshine on a very low river and a daytime sesssion stalking chub.


A memorable session straight from work, 12 casts, 10 barbel hooked, 8 landed and 2 chub. Catching barbel was no longer an issue but they weren’t the size I was looking for. The minor floods of the summer made things difficult, almost unfisheable as the summer weed growth made its way downstream.


I was still targeting barbel on a local river, numbers of fish had reduced but I increased my seasons best to 8lb 11oz.

A tough trip to the tidal Trent produced a couple of chub and a single barbel.


The month started with a barbel trip to the middle Trent then a pit stop at a Nick Peat PAC talk on the way back north.

Back on my local rivers, the targeted barbel were gradually replaced with pike.

12 pike in 4 sessions from a different stretch of river each visit.


Another 9 pike in November including my first twenty.

More relief than a sense of achievement as it has been along time coming.


21 pike before December, more than my total from the previous season but then the first winter floods came. 4 blanks in a row until I finally got a chub and a pike during my last two sessions of the year. The pike, a jack of 5lb or so, was taken on a small trotted bait. After taking my offering it must of grabbed a decent grayling before I struck as it had a fish of about a pound hanging from its mouth when  I landed it.

2018 highlights -

Barbel - 8lb 11oz
Chub - 5lb 6oz
Perch - 1lb 15oz
Pike - 20lb 6oz

No other species troubled the scales!

Thoughts on 2018

Generally a good year, regularly catching pike from new rivers, an upper double from my closest river plus my first twenty. My barbel campaign went well in terms of numbers of fish caught but I fell short of the double I was chasing.

Plans for 2019

From now until the end of the season I’ll be out on the rivers as much as time allows, when conditions are good I’ll be targeting the pike, not so good I’ll switch to chub, as a last resort I’ll head to a canal or still water. I am hoping to get amongst the larger chub on a certain river I’m fishing, hopefully I can find a six pounder before the season ends.

I’ve got a couple of Trent barbel trips planned for next season, but other than those I’ll wait until the close season before deciding next seasons direction.