Wednesday 20 March 2024

Season Review 2023/24.


 Well, that was fun! I managed to get quite a bit of angling done over the last 12 months, as you could probably imagine alot of it was in pursuit of Barbel as I looked to reach 23 completed rivers for my challenge. I'm happy to say that I managed to surpass that initial target and settled on 24 completed rivers by the close of play.

 It wasn't all Barbel though and here are a few of my highlights.

Kicked it off with a brace of big Bream.

Then a big river Rudd!

No: 19 - Finally a Loddon double, 10.7 YEAHHH

No: 20 - A Ribble Ripper! 10.13 

No: 21 - Sunset Sussex Rother gem, 12.10 

No: 22 - ColnBrook mirage, rare beasts, 11.5

No: 23 - Severn (lower) powerhouse, 10.7

My only PB of the season, 3lb 13oz Perch, woah!!

No: 24 - My Itchen monster, 15.2 (season best).

Best Grayling of the winter, 2.8

Tuesday 19 March 2024

One Final Roll of the Dice.


 The pull of the Wye has had me travelling the 310 mile round trip to fish conditions that most would avoid, oddly I seem to love it! ( tongue in cheek ). I guess my rational for fishing the Wye in these conditions is that it is well documented that the bigger fish tend to continue feeding when smaller specimens batten down the hatches and switch off, also the time of year would suggest its the best time to try and target a double as all those high 8's and 9's during the warmer months would all now be doubles, I only want and need one!

 Frustratingly for me the only chance I've been faced with was the one I lost a few weeks back, that was put down to a stroke of bad luck, it happens to us all but I had tried hard to atone for that error even if conditions as I've said before aren't great. Rising cold water rushing down the valley never makes for easy visits, I simply had to grind out what I could. This time Brian would endure the visit with me, could he manage something that has so far eluded me? 

 We set about trying every spot possible with an eye on the gauges and weather forecast upstream, we knew fishing would be harder come the 14th of March ( last day of the season ), the impetus to catch a few on the 13th was strong. 

 My first taste of a Barbel unfortunately was a foul hooked fish that made life very hard for Brian and I as I simply could not control it, after plenty of persistence we managed to net the fish and safely release it, not long after that I finally got a Barbel that was hooked fair and square, this was quickly followed by another two Barbel, but nothing big, in-fact the smaller fish seemed to have switched on, not the sort of stamp I wanted to be seeing but better than nothing I suppose.

 The remainder of the day ticked by and by midnight I got my total up to 5 fish, everything was pinned on Thursday and that rising cold river which was going to be hard. Thankfully for me the final day wasn't a total washout as two more Barbel made it to the net, the best coming just 20mins before we packed up for home. 8mm pellet once again catching most of the fish.

 7 Barbel and 2 Chub, not the end I hoped for but the conditions this season have been very testing, fingers crossed it's a lot better upon my return.

Saturday 16 March 2024

Wading About for Ladies.


 As the season drew to a close I got an invite from Mike once again to join him on the beautiful Wylye, how could I ever say no!!

 Conditions apparently were testing and so it proved to be, when I arrived some parts of the fields were underwater! most areas I've fished previously were boiling torrents and the bank as treacherous as you could imagine given the levels, without waders it would have been a total waste of time. 

 The first 6hrs of the trip were very hard going indeed with just 6 proper bites and five of them were Grayling with the best just over 2lbs, I really did wonder whether it was going to get better in the evening and thankfully for me it did! 

 The final two hours provided much better sport, not sure why but glad it did switch on, that final stretch provided a further 13 Grayling with 2 of them over 2lbs ( another at 2lb 1oz and my best of the session weighing a pleasing 2lb 6ozs ), that was backed up with numerous decent 1lb+ fish with two 1lb 15oz specimens chucked on top for good measure.


 That did mean however that my quest for a 3lb+ Grayling rolls onto next winter, I knew it would be tough but it has not been easy at all, nevertheless the fish I've been catching of late are of a superb standard and one can never tire of runs of 2lb+ fish!

 Until next winter....

 Best fish: 2.6, 2.1, 2.1, 1.15, 1.15 & 1.14.

 Also after my recent trip to Drennan HQ I collected a couple of new bits to try and absolutely loved how easy the new 15ft Acolyte Specimen float rod managed in that pacy water, I can not wait to tackle some summer Barbel and Chub with this rod 😍.

Saturday 2 March 2024

Upcoming Events.


 With one eye firmly fixed on the end of season glut I'm hoping to sample I also have a couple of events that I have been invited to talk in.

 Bear in mind this is first time I've ever done anything like this so god knows what it'll sound like and be for the listening public, but I've been asked whether its something I'd like to do, of course I said yes, so now it's time to start prepping as the first one (21st March) is at the RDAA (Reading & District) Fisheries Forum where I will be chatting to like minded anglers about my angling but mainly about the "Forty Rivers Challenge" that you guys all know about by now!

 Details for this evening of festivities is available below. However, in June I have been asked to open "The Barbel Society'" annual show at Notts County Football ground, this may well be a bit more nervy as I suspect there will be a fair few people attending and public speaking is not something I've done before and only been in front of a camera a couple times, so I have quite a bit of work to do over the closed season.

 If any of you guys are coming it be great to see you and looking forward to putting faces to names and meeting new people too, it will certainly be an interesting chapter personally, we shall have to see if it is a total disaster or an educational and light hearted chat among friends both old and new.

Breaming of a Slime Fest.

   As the weather begins to warm so does the water and slowly but surely the Bream will come to a point where they will go off and spawn, en...