As the year is coming to a close, I thought I would give you an insight as to how my fishing year has gone in 2014.
I had planned to do a fair bit of barbel and perching over the winter on the rivers, but unfortunately due to most of the South of England being under water for the majority of the start of the year, those plans had to be changed. Due to this, I decided to dig out my Rig Bins full of traces and head to one of my regular haunts in search of a large pike or two. Being a water I had fished a bit in the past, I knew where I wanted to start and I soon started to get amongst the fish. Although I was having fair success with regard to numbers, landing multiple fish most sessions, it wasn’t until mid-March that I finally managed to find the bigger fish. At the end of the pike season, my final tally stood at exactly fifty pike, with the largest two pulling the scales round to 22lb 14oz and 23lb 12oz, both fish breaking my existing pb’s in the process.
As the weather warmed up, my thoughts started to wander towards big crucian carp and following on from last years successes, I returned to Godalming Anglings Johnsons Lake and was rewarded with a few more good hauls of these little golden beauties up to 3lb 14oz. Not quite as big as last year, but very enjoyable all the same, especially when combined with well over 200lb of stunning little tench on a couple of trips.
As the weather then warmed up further, my radar switched on to the target of large bream. After a few exploratory sessions without much success, I moved to the other end of the lake. Fishing with fellow Gardner Tackle employee Alan Stagg, over the course of a few weeks, I managed to land a good few large double figure bream on my on my ever faithful two grains of Enterprise artificial corn presented on a size 8 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip hooks and 15lb brown Trickster hooklink, topped with an absolute beast weighing 17lb 10oz, a fish that this time last year I could only dream of. I did sadly hook and lose a couple of the very large carp that reside in this venue and considering they run to just under 50lb, it was a bit annoying to say the least. I shall be returning next year again for the bream and hopefully if I managed to hook any of the carp, this time I’ll be able to land them.
I did have a few sessions in search of a big for tench, but sadly they produced nothing of note, something I plan to rectify in 2015. This left me free to target big rudd and barbel. My long term rudd pb was 1lb 14oz and I was desperate to beat this, so when I found out about the big rudd in Buckland Fishery in Kent, I knew this was where I had to head. After a few unsuccessful sessions, I finally got lucky one weekend, when a cracking rudd of 3lb 0oz 8dr picked up my bait. It was the only one of the session, but I was more than pleased with that.
My sights shifted back to the rivers again. After all the flooding at the start of the year, I was slightly worried that the fish might have moved, so I spent a day or two just wandering along my intended stretch seeing if I could spot anything. Although I didn’t see any, I found an area that just looked like a perfect holding spot for barbel. I decided to bait this area with a combination of pellets, particles and boilies every other night for a couple of weeks, to see if I could attract and hold a big barbel or two to the area. It was about a mile each way to the swim from the car park, so I was more than happy to catch a barbel on my first session. The fact that it was a new pb of 16lb 6oz made it even better. It was a fairly eventful session though, as after only about 5 seconds of hooking the fish, my rod snapped clean in half, just above the reel seat. Not the ideal thing to have happen on such a large powerful fish, but somehow I managed to subdue her and draw her into the waiting landing net, good testament to the strength and durability of the Kinetic braid mainline, Trickster hooklink and Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip hooks. My original plan had been to spend a couple of months targeting a large barbel, but I had managed it just 30 minutes after casting out on my first session, so once again, I was a bit in limbo as to what to fish for next.
A couple of fairly uneventful months with regard to fishing followed, up until the start of November, when I got my predator head back on. I returned to the venue where I concentrated on during the previous year and decided rather than target them with deadbaits, as they were still active chasing the smaller prey fish, I would try chucking a few lures about. I found some large shoals of food fish in the bays and unsurprisingly the pike weren’t far behind. Over the course of three trips, I managed to catch 61 pike, a silly amount in such a short time. Although only a handful were into double figures, on a light lure set up it was immense fun and on occasions even stalking individual pike in the gin clear water. Then just as suddenly as they had appeared, the prey fish disappeared again. Unsurprisingly, the pike did likewise and I couldn’t find them anywhere, so from there I moved back onto the rivers in search of a big perch. On my first trip, I managed to catch a gorgeous coloured, red finned perch of 3lb 10oz on a lure, and planned to return the following weekend with lobworms, but as is my luck, the clouds decided to empty themselves into the river and make it unfishable for the perch again. This takes me up to now, hopefully by the time you read this, the levels will have dropped and I’ll have been back on the river again and caught a few more perch.
Well, that pretty much sums up my 2014, a very enjoyable year with many new pb’s under my belt and all going well, next year will follow suit and I shall have a similar year of success.