Looking Back on 2016 With Fond Memories.

 When the year started I had so many ideas in my head but knew that some would have to be put off as time would be slightly tight, one of my biggest wishes was to track down a double figure canal Bream and after a short campaign after my return from Asia I achieved it, but that wasn't the only target I set that I achieved, below is a short snapshot at how the previous twelve months unfolded.

 January was a Dace month, a few trips were made and I had huge success, having landed a great haul of big Dace I lost the largest I contacted. 15oz 4dr was the biggest I slipped into the net and larger I know existed. Dace weren't the only species I roved about for, Barbel also made an appearance with a few landed and two into the double figures.

My largest Dace of January.

A pair of large chalkstream Dace. 
One of two doubles caught in consecutive swims.

 February was much the same as I targeted the Dace shoals as they fed through the winter, plenty of rain had risen the rivers slightly and sport became patchy as I struggled to hit the conditions right, but when I did it was a great feeling and the best part of it was breaking the pound barrier with a huge Dace, not to mention the capture of what was my fifth two pound plus Roach of the season!.

Simply colossal, 1lb 0oz 4dr

The smile says it all, 2lb 2oz 5dr, love it.

Not a specimen in weight, but the prettiest Roach I've ever seen.

Target achieved!

And this one wasn't far off either!
 As the river season approached it's close I made one last push for Dace in March and was rewarded again with a good catch of fish to 14oz 6dr, all of which one day will hopefully reach that mystical size that are so rare, strangely enough it seems as if this particular river and area could hold maybe as many as a dozen at that size!.

Not too shabby at all, 14oz 6dr and my best of March.
 Moving on to April and May, myself and my now fiancee had a month or so set aside for some travelling, that involved flying off to Asia and enjoyed some much needed couple time in the jungle, bustling cities and the picturesque beaches and seas. I did catch some fish in Asia, I caught many Mekong Catfish to 160lbs and the fight still gives me nightmares.....they possess brutal power indeed. Before heading out to Asia I did catch a few Golden Orfe which included catching a new personal best, also a couple of trips out for canal carp proved successful as a Common's and Mirror's fell to stalking tactics on bread flake.

New PB at 5.02

 Once I had arrived back from Asia it was nearly time to get fishing as the river season was fast upon me, a few ventures were fielded and the first was to try and better my PB Bream, I did just that on a 24 hr session on a reservoir, I didn't beat it by much but it didn't matter to me. Then on the back of the reservoir session that I cut short I counted my lucky stars as I achieved one of my years targets in the form of a double figure Bream from a canal (10.01) only just!!. I also caught some good Dace, a lovely low 2lb Crucian and a lump of a river Carp, 25lb 6oz was the largest river Carp I've had in a few years.

My only Bream of the 24hr trip, 11.07.

One of my season target's achieved, one very happy man. Rare fish is that!

A brutus of a Carp, plenty of water enabled this Common to fight really well
and the flow of the river made it equally exciting as well as scary. 25.06.
 Now July was a brilliant month of fishing, I had the pleasure of taking my boat up to the Fens for a few trips and managed to catch a good haul of Rudd with six over 2lbs, the two largest at 2.06 and 2.05. The Chub fishing was also very good fun as I'd stalk them in the summer sunshine amongst the runs of dense weed, a good head of 5's were landed and plenty of back-up fish of upper 4's and below. 

Lovely fish, shame about the marking up.

Stour Chub are awesome fish.

Not far off of six pounds, great condition.

Best Rudd of the season at 2.06, stunning fish.
 Moving on to August, for me it was a very quiet month and fishing wise I didn't do an awful lot, I did however manage one trip abroad with the missus to see some friends and also a single trip to the Stour for Chub. It went very well and in the process caught my first Grass Carp and Asp which were both great fun!

Stunning Dutch Grassie

My best Asp of the trip.

Biggest Dace of the summer, a clonking 13oz+

Best Chub of the summer at 6.01

Also some cracking Barbel turned up aswell on short trips after work.
  During September I found fishing difficult and coupled with limited time on the rivers the rewards were scant, the Stour provided me with snippets of what could be achieved but nothing large made it to the bank. Plenty of 4's were about it.

 Then October was fairly similar in a few ways but there was one real stand out catch, which was resulted in a Barbel which missed the double figure mark by a matter of drams.....

 November started off with a couple of Thames Pike but the highlight of this month had to be finally cracking the Dorset Frome's specimen Grayling population, I'd spent three trips in the previous season and on the second trip of this campaign I nailed a biggie. 2lb 11oz of power and beauty rolled into one, lovely fish and the fight was heart-stopping as it tried tirelessly to shed the hook by burying it's head in stone and gravel, very dirty tactics and after hitting the current broad-side I had the chance to finally land it 70 yards downstream from where I caught it !

Smashed my PB and one of angling dreams achieved.

Another large Stour Chub which came right at the end of a tough day.
 Then December. Again this month seemed to fly by with the approach to Christmas but it didn't stop  the barrage of Barbel that followed, over three trips I enjoyed over a dozen Barbel, two of which weighed 11.02 and 10.15. It was fantastic fishing and during the winter it's fishing that most would not expect! I just hope more sessions like that come around soon enough.








A very good Dace to finish the year, also had one of 14oz 2dr to go with it.


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