2016 wasn't my greatest years fishing, poor conditions on my local rivers at the start of the year, a struggle on both my eel and tench campaigns and then a period of losing almost every pike I hooked.
Eel and tench sessions
I started targetting both species in April, quite early in the year this far north. However I managed a 2lb 8oz eel on my first session but blanked on the first attempt for tench.
I had planned to commit every session until autumn trying to achieve my target of a 4lb plus eel and 50lb of tench. I stayed on track fishing days for tench and nights for eels until the 16th of June when the lure of running water tempted me from the still waters. A few hard going barbel sessions later and I was on the eel trail again.
I fished a couple of new waters for the eels with varying success, one of the waters is very close to home and produced eels on both occasions I fished there so I'll try again there next season.
Eel round up -
Number sessions - 8
Number of eels caught - 5
Largest eel caught - 2lb 8oz
Another very disappointing attempt for the eels, not enough sessions fished and not enough time spent on the water I think has the most potential for large eels. I'm determined to catch a large eel from a local water and will be trying again this spring/summer.
|2016 best - 2lb 8oz|
|Another 2 pounder from the lower reaches of my local river|
Number of sessions - 6
Largest tench - 2lb 14oz
Total weight - 16lb 7oz
Disaster. Tench fishing in my local area is always a struggle, but I thought 50lb would be achievable. I've found a water which holds plenty of tench, probably not capable of beating my p.b, but they do go over 4lb and are usually a reasonable average size. On both visits I caught tench but struggled to get past the smaller samples, a change of tactics needed if I ever revisit.
|Two similar sessions, both a struggle|
|Largest of the season, caught during an eel session|
|Double figure net of silvers on my only stickfloat session|
|Only barbel of the season - 8lb 5oz|
|Late season mackerel|
Start of 2016/17 pike season
A change of job means I am working closer to my local river which makes it a lot easier to fit a quick session after/before work. I started my pike season towards the end of September and started catching fairly regularly.
|A couple of early season doubles|
A fish of easily 25lb was lost for no apparent (at the time) reason, I fought this fish for a good few minutes, a solid and very long river fish, easily capable of stripping 30/40yards of braid at will. But I was winning, heart pounding, fish on the surface a few rod lengths out, easing it towards the net when everything went slack.
That fish was lost on the 1st of November and I can still remember that gut wrenching, kick in the balls feeling after realising the fish was gone. I've been chasing a '20' from this river for years, they are rare fish, this was a special fish.
Trying to get my head around the run of lost fish lead to a closer look at my tackle. The only weakness I could see was my reel, Shimano 6010 GT's. Solid reels but the drag isn't the greatest, fine if you back wind but I don't. The drag on my Shimano's needed a good 'jerk' to engage, then it was fine, I'm convince that the jerky action of the drag costing me fish. I looked into servicing but was advised that parts are no longer made. Time for a change.
I ordered a pair of Shimano 6000 OC and haven't looked back. Solid reels, a bit bigger and more blingy than I'm used to, but they are a quality bit of kit. The drag is very smooth, no jerky action and I'm glad to say it stopped my loss of fish.
I continued my pursuit for a twenty from my local, often visiting the spot I'd lost the big one from, catching a few upto 13lb 6oz.
|13lb 6oz, largest and probably best looking of the year|
River conditions suffered with some snow melt but I was still catching the odd pike and caught a p.b equalling perch.
|P.b equalling perch (2lb 4oz)|
I also started to get the odd chub on deadbait, always after the light had faded, these went to 4lb 4oz, my best from this river.
|Solid chub on the deadbait|
My final session was a visit to a canal, hard going but good fun, we landed 5 pike between us, all taken on lives fished in the upper layers. Ben caught the lions share but I managed the largest.
|Urban canal pike on the last outing of the year|
2016 highlights -
Barbel - 8lb 5oz
Bleak - d.n.w
Bream - approx 12oz
Chub - 4lb 4oz
Dace - approx 6oz
Eel - 2lb 8oz
Grayling - approx 12oz
Perch - 2lb 4oz*
Pike - 13lb 6oz
Tench - 2lb 14oz.
* equals my personal best
Not my greatest year but we can't all be Terry Lampard!
Anyway 2017 has started well, hopefully I can get something up in the next day or two.