Well it seems another year has come and gone in the flash of an eye, so I thought I would take a little time out to reflect on my years angling and share some of my memories. When I sat down to write a few notes and trawl through my Facebook timeline I didn’t think I had much to write about as I haven’t actually done as much angling as I normally do. It’s been a pretty tough year on me and my family after my Gran lost her battle with cancer mid-way through the year and as a result fishing was understandably the least of my priorities.

That said I had a fairly good go at things at the start of the year, so that’s where I’ll begin. During January I did a couple of trips to the syndicate, but on both those occasions nothing was really seen or caught and things seemed to be going slow, so I decided my time would be better spent having a few social trips to the river with the trotting gear. I really enjoy fishing for all manner of other species during the cooler months. It offered a refreshing break from the cycle of carp fishing and also allowed me to get on the bank with friends I would never normally have the opportunity to. I had some great trips mainly on the River Test and the highlight was probably an unexpected 10lb 14oz brown trout that took a small live bait intended for a pike!

During February things were still slow at the lake, so a few more social trips were planned including one with fellow Gardner angler Calum Kletta targeting perch on a small commercial. Conditions for the day weren’t exactly ideal with bright sunshine and high pressure although we did end up having an enjoyable day landing a fair few between us including five over 2lb for me, with the highlight a lovely looking 2lb 9oz fish. After that trip I was itching to get the carp rods back out, so I ventured out again for a 24 hour trip after finishing work for the week. It turned out to be a good move as I went on to land a brace of upper double mirrors and saw several signs the fish were starting to wake up and look for a meal.

I also managed to bag the catch of a lifetime when my girlfriend of seven years agreed to marry me! We had a great few weeks after that travelling around visiting family who all wanted to share in our happiness and congratulate us. During this time however I was also thinking about what would be happening back down the lake and whether any of the bigger residents had been out yet. It was probably the end of March before my next trip and I decided to head for the woods bank after a good look around. I had done really well in this area of the lake the previous year using maggots and chopped boilies after finding a slightly deeper silty area they seemed to like a feed on. I decided to fish the same are after not seeing anything and presented the usual pop-up maggot combi-rig over a few Spombfulls of bait and sit back to enjoy being back at the lake. All was quiet until the following morning when I managed a beautiful 28lb 10oz mirror fully supporting a fine winter jacket and I left extremely pleased my hunch had paid off.

I had pretty busy April with two different tuitions booked in, one with a returning customer and one a newbie. The first tuition was with the new client and we fished on the big lake as he wanted to learn a lot of the basics, so the venue was much better suited. We had a great session and both also landed new pb catfish with mine going 32lb! The client left one happy chappy having taken away a whole host of things he could apply to his own angling and I decided to get a night in on the other lake to try and snare another one. I was shattered from the tuition, so retired early before waking up in a blur during the early hours to a screaming alarm which resulted in a lovely 22lb 4oz mirror which was the only bite of the session, but I was more than happy with how the whole weekend had gone.

The following week I arrived to find a fair amount of fish showing on the other side of the lake and things really seemed alive, so I decided to give them a bit of bait. The plan worked nicely and I managed five bites with four landed and biggest a plump 29lb 4oz mirror. The following week I had the tuition with my returning customer Dave who went on to catch a new pb of 34lb 14oz whilst out with me.

We were now into May and I managed one more trip before an excursion across the channel for work. After having a bit of a nightmare and loosing two fish things finally came right on the final morning when I landed one of the lakes real jewels a fish known as “The Mug” weighing 34lb 4oz not that it’s weight mattered one bit! To top the session off I also had a 9lb 8oz tench as I was packing away. The trip to Resort Du Der was fantastic with many pb’s smashed for our clients. I managed a small amount of fishing too and enjoyed some great action landing fish to over 40lb on my favourite long range solid pva bag tactics.

During June I managed a few more smaller fish from the syndicate and another big tench of 9lb 12oz as well as competing in the annual Carp-in-4-Cancer charity event. The event as always was top notch with a great bunch of lads all raising money for something that was especially close to my heart at this point in time. The event organisers have done so much over the years they really are a credit to not only themselves but everyone around them who they continue to help and support through difficult times. Unfortunately the time came and my Gran sadly passed away shortly after the charity event and I didn’t fish for quiet some time after that. We went on a family holiday a few months later and after that I felt a lot better and decided to get back out for a few trips. The only problem was I had nowhere to go as I didn’t re-new my syndicate ticket in July.

After a bit of research and assessing my options I joined a local club with the view of fishing one of their waters in particular set right next to the seaside. The lake itself is around fifteen acres and is full of features being a wet dug gravel pit. At this point in time I still don’t know a great deal about the stock, however I have seen enough beautiful scaly ones to nearly 40lb that friends have caught to warrant a bit of effort on there! With a ticket acquired I managed a few trips through August and September and did land three small originals to low 20’s, however I really struggled to get in to it and if I’m honest I was struggling angling on my own so much with everything on my mind. I decided to call it that with carp fishing for the year as it was pointless me being there if my heart wasn’t in it.

I have been doing some fishing since then but mainly short day or half day sessions fishing mainly for pike and perch. I even had another surprise pb when a 10lb 4oz rainbow trout snaffled my dead bait on a pike fishing trip! I haven’t had any monsters as yet with my biggest pike this year 16lb 2oz but I have experienced some great sport surrounded by good friends helping to keep me jolly along the way. I suppose the biggest result I have had recently came a few weeks before Christmas when I was on an off-site coaching session at work teaching a group feeder fishing. I found a small jig head in the reeds and decided to rig it up on a spare rod whilst the group were on a lunch break. After trying a few different spots I finally had a hit which turned out to be a lovely perch of 3lb 4oz which was a new pb and made the short five minute session well worth it!

I cant wait to break the carp rods out again this year and will be heading back to the little lake by the seaside for a proper go at it. Before I do I’m going to enjoy the next few months as I have been, fishing for all manner of species whilst spending time with friends before we all go our separate ways to focus on our own personal targets. I cant thank everyone enough for all of their support as its certainly not been an easy year, but here is to hoping 2016 will be filled with great big scaly carp and lovely times!

Wishing everyone a prosperous and fish filled 2016!