Another year has flown by and whilst fishing will never take a back seat in my life there has been occasion when it has been a struggle to fit it in as much as I would like. In fact I did well to fish as much as I did as 2013 saw us finally get planning permission to start to build our dream house(estimated completion March) as well as the birth of our third child, Grace Josephine. My wife is very understanding though but she will never completely understand my angling addiction.
This year has not been easy on the fishing front but there have been some good days and five new personal bests landed, mostly Game fish.
I started the year pretty much where 2012 finished, landing double figure Rainbow Trout and teaching myself how to tie flies.
My first pb of the year was this battered old Chub weighing 5lb 12oz. A real old warrior that would have been a 'six' a few years ago but it made a difficult cold day bearable. It fell for my favourite Chub bait cheese paste and was the only fish of the session.
A tough month, cold and wet and my results reflected that, a few Dace and Chub landed but nothing special.
March and April
Another couple of tough months, I caught Roach, Rudd, Carp, Perch and Trout but again not worth writing home about.
At last the weather changed, I took the kids out for some fun fishing and my Tench campaign started for the year.
I also landed a surprise 13lb Pike while Tench fishing, it took a liking to my worm hookbait and luckily did not bite through the 8lb hooklength and amazingly the size 14 hook held firm as it thrashed and tail-walked around the swim.
The Tench campaign continued and included the best of the year weighing 8lb 13oz.
My focus changed to Barbel but also included the inevitable Chub but they are not a nuisance when they include a new pb, so nearly a 'six' but just short at 5lb 15oz.
I also enjoyed a venture down to Avington Trout fishery where I met up with an old friend I had not fished with for over 20 years, the Trout were stunning, scenery spectacular, ticket costly!
More Barbel fishing but also my third five pound Chub of the year. On some rivers you could expect 'fives' fairly regularly but they are rare locally to me so I was pleased with the hat-trick.
Concentrated mainly on Barbel landing a couple of doubles in amongst several fish.
A month of exclusive predator fishing starting with a fifty pound plus Blue Shark and finishing with a 3lb 2oz Perch from the river, my favourite capture of the year.
Favourite session in October was a trip to the Wye catching Trout, Chub and Barbel. A stunning river that I hope to explore a lot more of in 2014.
An adventurous month where the only line I cast was into the Hampshire chalkstreams, the Test and the Itchen. Landed lots of Trout, Grayling and Sea Trout including personal best Brown Trout and Sea Trout.
The highlight was another long distance Grayling trip which finished the year on a high, a 2lb 1oz Grayling being the last fish of 2013.
2014 Plans and Targets
Monotonously I am still chasing a double figure Tench and come the spring that will figure highly in my fishing. A twenty pound Pike is another long term ambition that I will also try to satisfy. My Piking has been neglected over the last couple of years.
I can see the fly rods getting a lot of use this year also and more coarse fish targeted that way.
Happy New Year to one and all, tight lines and screeching reels!!!