Fries and mayo (Entry 173)

As I am in Belgium for New Year, the first post of 2016 is (I know its still 2015 but lets just pretend) a few days early and is something I don’t do that often; a look back at the past year. The triumphs and the failures. Fishing is a sport that gives, but it does have a habit of keeping you firmly grounded, as soon as you begin to build a little momentum. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Back to January we go.


There was plenty of evenings staring at rod tops at the start of the year, and with backdrops like the one above, it really was no hardship. I started to get to know a river much bigger than any I had ever fished up to that point. It’s fair to say it was a slow learning curve but I managed to catch fish, and was rewarded with some beautiful chub and my first barbel from the river, a week before the end of the river season. Just as the venue really began to take hold and get under my skin came those long three months apart. What is an angler meant to do?

A great goodbye gift

Fish for tench of course. But the spring was a long and cold one. For me, the tench turned up later than usual, and only the odd bream made an appearance in between. Better than blanking though. Eventually those tincas woke up. Beautiful green battlers. And then the weather got hot. Seriously hot. The fish spawned. Then they wallowed in the upper layers of lakes and ponds everywhere. It was more than a little frustrating. Though opportunity was still there. It just required a little thinking outside of the box.

Tinca time was a little late

Crucians came to the rescue. Big ones. Ones I never dreamt of catching. In fact, at one point, I remember becoming almost complacent on a day I only caught two or three. Just two or three specimen crucians was a bad day. Wow. They fed well either early in the morning or late in the evening, all the way through these stupidly hot conditions. and it was a brilliant experience. Only now am I really coming to terms with how good it was. For many different reasons.

Big crucians are very easy to look at for a long time

Through July and August I fished the river I’d left too soon a few months before, both for barbel, and trotting for roach and dace. I nearly caught my first double figure barbel – just one ounce short – had run ins with otters and witnessed some spectacular weather conditions. When I turned my attention to roach I caught many fish but a few big pound fish were the cherries on top. Old, wise river roach, requiring the bait to be presented just right. Not necessarily with fine tackle but certainly having to look natural to the conditions of the river on that day.

Old and rare fish

Then came the perch. Those frustrating perch. I was brought back down to earth with a bump after early success on the canal, and learnt that sometimes you have to accept that its just not your time, and fish on, for anything and in any way you chose. The harder you force the issue, the harder it gets, and the the winning line gets further away and much more blurred.


As the sun sets on another year so a fresh one begins. Another years worth of experience has been accrued. Venues seem more like friends than acquaintances.  I’m really looking forward to this year. I think it will be a good one. As long as there is time to spend on the bank; how could it not be?

Thanks for reading and until next time,



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