2016/17 Season-A brief review

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a blog entry for quite some time now but for one reason and another the months have passed me by and I have found myself busy doing other things. The 2016/17 river season was a very start-stop affair for me with my fishing being severely curtailed in the autumn for reasons which I will come to later.

As is always the case the rivers re opened on the 16th of June to much anticipation and excitement and as usual failed to live up to anything other than a damp squib. I got out for a few sessions but the fish seemingly had other things on their minds and it was several weeks before the fishing started to pick up. Rather than cover my angling month by month I’m going to break it down to seasons as to be honest I don’t keep any form of angling diary and my short term memory isn’t great at times. So how did I fare once the rivers had settled down into some sort of consistency? Considering the limited time I had it wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed a few trips to my syndicate on my local Warks Avon catching some really nice barbel along the way. One of the pleasing things about this is the fact some of these fish were in the 6lb bracket and smaller which bodes well for the future.

One session that really stands out is a trip to the Middle Severn at Hampton Loade I had on the Kinver Freeliners water, this was a session organised for the purpose of spending some time with the very amiable, if slightly bonkers Mark Parker of Bauer Media to get a barbel angling feature done. The river was as low and clear as it had been for a very long time and I had been reliably informed old Sabrina was fishing very poorly with few, if any barbel getting caught. Poor conditions and an angling journalist in tow, pretty standard for most of my feature choices. As it happened I needn’t have worried as I caught a respectable 7 barbel including my first Middle Severn Double of 10lbs 14oz. Keeping mobile and ringing the changes kept bites coming on a very bright, hot day. It’s always nice to get a feature in the bag, even more so when it’s done and dusted before lunch time.

After this trip my angling pretty much followed the same pattern right through until early October. Get my little one to bed, grab my gear and be on the river for 8pm. Fish until 11pm then go home. These smash and grab sessions were actually quite productive and while I didn’t catch a lot of fish I did catch some immaculate doubles upto a season best of 12lbs 1oz, proving if nothing else that if you maximise the time you do have available good results are still there. One thing I have found only having time for short sessions has made me a much more organised and efficient angler. It’s imperative that bait, rigs and gear is always ready so time on the bank is fully utilised. My methods of only fishing and feeding for one bite at a time have also really paid off the last couple of seasons and the approach I now take has seen the average size of barbel caught increase. Food for thought and certainly something I will be putting in writing in the not too distant future.

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September saw me visit Ade Kiddell at his home in Northern France on the river Meuse. I’ve known Ade a fair few years and bump inot him at angling shows every now and then. With him now residing in a France right on the river bank the opportunity for a holiday wasn’t to be missed. Rather than go over the whole trip you can read about my trip here French River Fishing

Onto the autumn and this is when my fishing came to an abrupt halt for the best part of 6 months, I got a new job. Back in the early summer I had decided the time was right for me to further my career. I was stuck in a job that had absolutely no career progression opportunities nor chance of a pay rise no matter how long I worked there nor how hard I worked. Being 35 and still having ambitions to fulfil, being stuck in a dead end job with no prospects wasn’t really doing anything for my mind-set. I was getting complacent and dare I say it lazy because the job held no challenge nor satisfaction for me, a change was definitely needed before I got too stale.

That challenge came along in the shape of Living Ventures and their new restaurant in Leamington Spa ‘Gusto’ it’s safe to say I had found the challenge I was looking for……………and then some! There were a lot of hurdles to get over and decisions to be met and made head on but thankfully it has all worked out very well and I’m sat here 6 months after my first day, happy with the choices I made both for now and the future. Things have settled down somewhat and while the job can be demanding at times and there still challenges to be met I have a great team behind me that means I can enjoy my free time and in between family duties I am now able to get back on the bank with a bit more regularity.

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I didn’t have a full angling sabbatical for the duration however my sessions were less than productive with very little to report. A really enjoyable day in January with my good friend Baz doing a bit of chub fishing on the Upper Warks Avon was fun as was an end of season soiree to the Severn again with a friend that saw a few small barbel caught, nothing big but lots of fun, which is ultimately what it should be about. Memorable trips in good company with a few fish thrown in for good measure.

One final word and that is to my angling sponsors Gardner Tackle and Phat Fish Clothing. Despite not being on the bank as much as in previous years their continued support with my angling hasn’t wavered. A huge thanks To Lewis at PH, the affable Lewis at GT and Alan Stagg who has been a regular ‘ear to lean on’, it’s much appreciated and long may it continue.

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