This year’s fishing has been one of the hardest years for me as time on the bank has been limited due to having to sit my GCSE’s, start college and find a job. Although a lot has happened I was still able to land four 30’s, which included a new personal best common.

I arrived at my syndicate lake for a 48 hour session in the hope of catching a couple of nice spring fish. After we had a long walk and a good look around I really liked the look of a swim called ‘Side of the Gate’. It’s in an area of the lake that has a lovely set of snags to the left of the swim, and with a warm wind pushing into this area I wasn’t at all surprised when I found a group of a dozen fish milling around on the surface. I soon had my gear setup and I quietly set about finding a couple of spots. I found a lovely clear gravel spot down towards the tree line, not too far from where the fish were grouped up. I soon had a rig in position over 8 Spombs of bait. After a little bit of leading around I also found a nice clear spot straight out in front of the swim at 60 yards, where I positioned my other two rods and then put out around 15 spods out over the top. I tied up rigs using the Camflex Leadfree leader material spliced to a size 8 Kwik-lok swivel with a C-Thru Brown Covert Lead clip. The hooklink itself consisted of a Trick-Link (25lb) and Trickster Heavy (silt 25lb) combi-link with a super reliable Covert size 6 Incizor hook. Most of the fish I had last year couldn’t resist this rig!

During the night and the next morning everything was quiet, with the odd few putting their heads out. At mid-day they started to become more active and started to show around 20 yards out. Suddenly, at 3pm my left hand rod screamed off and I hit into what felt like a good fish! After about 10 minutes it was in my net and looked like my first 30lb’er of the year! On the scales it went 30lb 10oz, so I got some pictures done quickly and we slipped her back as I was eager to get that rod back out.

Later that afternoon, at around 6pm, I topped up the swim, putting out the same amount as I did the day before and also reeled in my rods to re-bait them. As I was doing my last rod a couple of decent fish were jumping out about 20 yards out so I quickly got a rod in the zone and 30 minutes later I was into an angry little mirror which weighed 15lb 12oz. An hour or so later, just as it was getting dark, I had a weird indication coming from my left hand rod. I watched for a couple of minutes before striking into this sneaky common which had kited out of the left hand bay. After a great fight the beast was in the net and it looked huge! I was excited to see the weight so I got everything ready and my mate came round to take some photos. When it was on the mat we recognised that it was a common called ‘The Immaculate’! I was so buzzing to have enjoyed such a great couple of hours and to have this beast on my mat. It went 39lb 8oz on the scales – which beat my old PB common by just over a pound. The rest of the session was quiet and early next morning I left over the moon with catching ‘The Immaculate’. What a fish!
A couple of months before the year ended I was also able to catch one of my target commons called the ‘Gaz’ common which is one of my favourite commons I’ve ever had.

I had a 48 hour session ahead of me, so I decided to have a good walk round on a bank where the wind was pushing into. With an area known as the Comfy that had been doing a lot of fish in recent weeks being vacant; it seemed a good place to start.

I got everything set up and then found a spot straight out towards the tallest tree on the far side at sixteen wraps. I also found another nice area at fourteen wraps dead in line with a flag pole on the far side of the lake. After getting the rods out perfectly, each spot received a good helping of particles and boilies in the fading light.

The wind was blowing a South Westerly into a bay to my right and it looked really promising as the fish normally frequent the area in these conditions.

I was up at first light and the rods had remained motionless. I could see that there was a lot of fizzing about two rod lengths behind my main spot. After the activity had died down, I tied up three fresh rigs, each with one of the new Covert Dark Incizor hooks. These have unbelievable points and looked perfect on the KD presentation I was using. That evening I positioned the rods at the exact range I had seen the activity and everything was spot on for bite time in the morning.

The night passed quietly although I heard a couple of fish jump in the bay to my right. I woke up at 7am and it looked completely dead, so I decided to get a little more sleep as I had a party to go to in the evening. The next thing I remember is standing at the front of the swim, with a bent rod in my hands as a fish powered off. It felt a good fish from the off and as soon as I saw it I knew it was one of my target fish! After a further 10 minute battle I managed to slip the net under a big common and let out a sigh of relief!

On the scales it went 33lb 4oz, but to me the weight was irrelevant as it was such an awesome looking fish. As I slipped it into a retainer to recover for a few minutes the middle rod tore off, which resulted in a lovely dark 26lb 4oz mirror. I phoned a friend on the other side of the lake and he offered to come round for camera duties. While we were taking pictures of the common, I received a take on the middle rod I had repositioned a few minutes before. After a short battle I had an angry mid-double common in the net.

The year of 2016 wasn’t my best year, I didn’t have as much time as I hoped for, there was way too many things going on at home and although I didn’t manage to catch my target fish of 2016 which was called ‘Kim’, I did manage a PB common, another target fish and a reasonable amount of nice sized fish. I really hope 2017 is a better year for me and everyone else’s angling journey!