An angler's journal

An angler's journal

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As another year edges towards its conclusion we often see ourselves reflecting on what has gone and fishing evokes memories, some good and some not so. Like most anglers, 2012 has had its fair share of ups and downs for me.

This PB got 2012 off to a flyer
The year got off to a cracking start with a personal best Pike off the Warks Avon going 18lb 3oz. However, apart from a few modest Barbel the season tailed away and the river season slammed shut. That had been my first season fishing the Warks Avon seriously following my move and I’d found it trickier than I thought it would be. That said, I’m a firm believer that you learn from your experiences and I was determined to put things right when June 16th finally arrived. Becoming a father for the first time in April meant that there was little time for stillwater or canal fishing whilst I counted down to the season opener.

June finally arrived but the opening day was also greeted by heavy rain and an out of sorts river failed to produce. Although the ‘glorious 16th’is still savoured by river anglers I have to admit it is often a disappointment when it comes to fishing but the excitement of being on the river again never diminishes and I’m sure it’ll be just the same in 2013.

The Lower Double

Much of the summer and autumn was spent targeting Barbel. This was to be my second season on the new stretch and I was determined to find fish on a more consistent basis and sort out a few bigger specimens. Looking back at my records shows the river was often high as we experienced one of the wettest summers in recent history. I managed to find one reliable swim that seemed to produce in swollen conditions but none of the fish were above average. Further explorations saw me manage my biggest Barbel from the stretch to date at 9lb 10oz after the river had returned to normal conditions and another of 9lb 6oz in autumn which makes me believe a double is not far away on this stretch of river. Autumn also saw me look for a change of scenery and saw me put a few hours in on the lower Severn. Much has been written about the tricky nature of this water and in the sessions I fished it became apparent you were fishing for one bite. In actual fact I managed to blank 4 times in 5 visits. Two of those blanks saw a Barbel lost to pulls, one of which felt a very good fish. The session I managed to put a fish in the net resulted in a Barbel of 11lb so the rewards are there if you don’t mind putting the work in.

Fishing however is not always about highlights and there’s been some lows too. In angling a low usually equates to blanking and I’ve had my fair share this season including a recent run of three consecutive blanks. It’s part of the game of course but despite all the clich├ęs of being on the bank is enough we all know that is not entirely true.

As this post is all about memories I thought I’d share a slightly amusing one that actually happened a few years ago. It was one of those sessions where nothing goes to plan, in fact it was something of a disaster from start to finish. I was fishing at Trimpley on the middle Severn and had managed to drop into my preferred swim and was confident of catching. After building up my swim using a groundbait feeder the bites finally started to arrive. A Barbel on then subsequently lost. This happened three more times and had me getting more and more frustrated. Then unbelievably the last three inches of my quiver tip snapped off which had me improvising so that I could fish on. But the final nail in the coffin was yet to come. Without warning, the button on my trousers decided to pop off leaving me in a very tricky predicament. Time to improvise yet again. By pulling my zip up fully I could jam the aforementioned trousers into position to allow to me to fish on but it was far from ideal. I did manage a few fish that night but decided to put an end to my misery and call it a day. However, as any visitors to Trimpley will know, it’s an awfully long walk back to the car park so off I trudged, fishing tackle in one hand while the other did its best to keep my trousers up. Fortunately, no one had the misfortune to pass me by on that awkward walk and I was able to make to the car without further embarrassment. And with that I wish you all a ‘Happy New Year’ and hope 2013 is good to you all.

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