2011 was a productive year for me personally and the bloggers challenge led me to targeting species that I don't normally go for like Crucians, Silver Bream and Dace. Added to this were sea and game species I have never caught before and I also started fly fishing seriously. This led to an impressive 9 personal bests plus a river Tench that made 10.
The freezing January temperatures meant I only targeted Chub and Pike. Several Chub to 3lb 10oz.....
February saw a slight break in the weather and as temperatures rose above freezing I had a session after Barbel, the biggest weighing 9lb 10oz.....
and a fat Chub weighing 5lb 3oz to complete a pretty good brace. Casters were their downfall.
March was a bit of a struggle but I did land a 1lb 3oz Roach and a 1lb 15oz Perch.
April saw the start of my Tench campaign, I am desperate for a double, I hope 2012 will be my year for that. I think that May is when the old Tincas seem to really pile on the weight, but I did manage several in April to 7lb 11oz.
May 2011 was a particularly productive month of the year for me, three personal bests. A trip to Yorkshire led to a 2lb 12oz Blue Trout and a 2lb 7oz Rainbow taken on the fly, both pbs.
A single session at Linear gave me a pb 32lb 8oz Mirror and a 9lb 6oz Tench, another impressive brace!
Both taken on worm hook baits to 8lb line and size 12 hooks.
June saw me take another couple of bests, both species that I have never weighed before, a 1lb 7oz Crucian from Marsh Farm.....
and a 7oz Siver Bream from Willow farm. Not that impressive but I will target both species for improvement in 2012.
July saw me back on the river and trying new tactics for Chub and Barbel. Freelined rolling meat certainly captures plenty of fish, the average size seems smaller than static legering but the action is fast and furious. I landed over thirty Barbel in July to the tactic, best 10lb 14oz...
and lots of Chub to 4lb 14oz. I would like to see this particular fish again at it's late winter weight, it will be well over 5lb, possibly pushing 6.
August saw the first of a couple of Shark trips out of Plymouth. No toothy critters were landed on the first but I did fluke my first ever Bass while messing about with lures while the Sharks weren't biting. A great battle on light gear and obviously a pb at 4lb 12oz.
The skipper put me on to the Garfish in the slick and they are great fun, another new species for me and I landed several to a pound.
Good fun but they are messy and smelly!
September had me Sharking again with more success, two on the boat, the biggest a 50lb Blue.
The other extreme was a 3 1/2oz Gudgeon, the biggest I have ever caught.
October and November were difficult fishing months, I blame the weather, weed, lack of rain etc. I did have a couple of good days though. I fished a session on the Irfon in deepest Wales and landed lots of Trout and Grayling to a pound.
I also enjoyed some more fly fishing taking Trout to 2lb.
December saw the capture of my favourite fish of the year, a 2lb Roach from the Avon taken on bread flake.
2011 was an enjoyable and fairly successful year on the water and I cannot wait to get out in 2012 and land some more pbs. I also finished a respectable third in the bloggers challenge.
Plans and Targets for 2012
Top priority is a double figure Tench having had plenty of 'nines' I must land a 'ten' this year.
A twenty pound Pike is a fish I would love to land and I will spend time after that early in the year.
We have a Spanish Catfish trip booked and I would love to better my 125lb pb that week.
Also a family trip to Florida should enable me to get out and target a few different species.
Two shark trips in autumn chasing 100lb Blues.
Crucians, Silver Bream and Rudd are on the cards for beating.
3lb Eels and Trout will be sought and I would love to try for Mullet as I have never caught one.
I don't want much then! I shall let you know how I get on.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, tight lines and screeching reels!!