Hi everyone firstly I must apologise for my laziness in not writing here for some time. I finished out the 2015/16 river season on my W. Avon syndicate stretch along side friends Phil Smith and Dave Mutton but the fishing proved very difficult with just 2 Barbel gracing the banks, a 5lber for Phil and an 8 to myself. What a season it had been though which saw me land 74 barbel including 30 over the magical 10lb mark. This also included 4 river pb's for the Wye, Ribble, W. Avon and a magnificent new overall PB of 15lb 9oz from the Trent. This one won me a Korum Specimen Cup weekly award in the Anglers Mail and I received a £100 tackle prize. Lets hope the new river season will be as kind again this year.
With the close season upon us this was the usual time when I would set my sights on the pursuit of two other of my favourite species, in the form of Tench and Bream. My first trip was Easter weekend but sadly only produced sporadic action with the fish only just starting to wake from there winter slumber. A solitary Tench and two dark leach riddled Bream. My second session a few weeks later was better producing a very nice 11lb 10oz Bream and two small Tench. Also a rogue pike of around 16-17lb came and crashed the party giving me the right run around. That's all for the specimen Tench and Bream upto now as some angling that doesn't usually figure in my year was on the cards, although I do have a couple of sessions planned before the river season kicks off.
While primarily known for my Barbel angling I do consider myself to be an all rounder and enjoy angling for many species throughout the year. This year I was going to try my hand at targeting two species I've done only a little for in the past, and that was Carp and Eels. The Carp fishing has been quiet rewarding and although not targeting monsters with the lake only holding fish to mid 20's. These carp are great sport when you dispense with the 3lb rods and big pits and instead use 2.25s and a medium bait runner reel. I been putting the ever effective Cult bait Elysium to good use and its caught me a good few as well as experimenting with fishing popped up mixer biscuits as you would a conventional popup. I've even managed to up my common carp Pb by 4oz to 21-04 along with many other nice doubles to 17lb.
Now for the Eel fishing not something I'd specifically targeted before although I have caught many including some good sized specimens while fishing for Barbel. I hadn't claimed previous captures as pb's and never even bothered with photos although I had weighed some out of curiosity. I was going to start with a clean slate and put my angling skills to the test against this new species. Well it has gone really well and although no monsters in specimen terms, I have over 4 or 5 sessions landed 7 over the 3lb mark, with the best being my official pb of 3lb 9oz. These enigmatic fish really do test the anglers skill and can be frustrating in the extreme. With shy tentative takes and the slightest resistance causing dropped runs, they certainly make up for it with the high spirited fight that ensues when one of respectable size is hooked. It has been a steep learning curve with new rigs, handling and fish care considerations to take into account, as well as lots of reading about the impressive lifecycle of this now endangered fish. I definitely will be spending more time targeting these splendid creatures.
I have in the last month or so also done two presentation evenings and these were extremely well received. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience although it can be a bit of a nerve wrecker speaking to a room full of peers about this hobby we all love. This leads me to Nottingham Piscatorial Society, who each November hold their annual presentation evening at the wonderful Dome room at Kelham Hall, Newark. Its a special event in the annual angling calendar, with 4-500 people in attendance and many of the best known anglers and some of my hero's having given talks over the years. So it definitely came as a shock to be asked the question would I give a presentation along with the great all rounder, writer and TV presenter John Bailey. I'm still now trying to get my head round it but and the same time really excited by the opportunity.
Next a some of you may be aware that I have recently started offering my services as an angling guide and there is now a guiding section on the website. This was a decision I thought long and hard about as I do not consider myself to be a brilliant angler just slightly better than average and certainly have no desire for fame. Many of my angling friends however have advised me that I would make a good guide so I've decided to give it a go. We will see how I fair but I must admit the prospect of passing on some of the skills I've learned over the years and helping people to get started on their own life of angling adventures is something I'm very excited about. The general reaction to my decision has been very positive although there has been some negativity and that brings me onto my last topic for this blog.
It always amazes me just how passionate and divisive this hobby we call angling can be. I have seen it many times over the years, where friends turn against friends and people feel the need to bully and harass complete strangers. All because they think they have some superior moral standing on the actions of a certain individual. This in the modern world of social media and particularly facebook it seems all to easy for the know it all's, keyboard warriors and trolls to facelessly persecute others.
This is often done in private or even secret groups but occasionally spills onto public pages. I always find myself asking is the persecuted individual really doing anything wrong, their not out murdering children or abusing the elderly, it is just fishing after all. I have seen this passion harnessed for good in the past as was seen with the USforIwan fundraising and find myself wondering why cant we all just get along respect each other decisions and come together for the greater good when needed.
So next time you feel the need to pass judgement in a harassing or bullying manner, maybe just stop and think do I really need to say anything and if I do can it be done in a positive and educational way. While it is generally accepted that those who stick their heads above the parapet should be prepared to get them shot off as the saying goes I find myself finishing this blog asking myself the question 'what is the need ?'.