Reflecting on 2015 and Plans for 2016

Welcome to 2016. I hope everybody had a good Christmas and New Year with plenty of food and drink! This is my first blog post of the new year, and I just wanted to go back and reflect on what happened in 2015 (which as you’ll see wasn’t much!) and also discuss what my plans are for 2016.

So, going back to 2015, I wrote a blog post similar to this right at the beginning of the year called 2015: The Year of the Carp. Well, it didn’t quite work out how I thought it might do when I wrote that post. My fishing time was severely limited – I have a busy job and a young family so my free time is somewhat limited and at a premium. I also have other hobbies that need to share any free time I do get. So my carp angling was limited, and I only managed two sessions all year. Those sessions were 48-hour sessions though so decent length sessions, and both were quite productive.

Both sessions were at Brandesburton 3&4, a venue I’ve spoken at length about on this blog. 2014 was out first ‘year’ on there and in all honesty we struggled – we didn’t have night permits so were fishing days only. Last year though we decided to put our hands in our pockets and get night permits and I’m glad we did as the two sessions we did manage to squeeze in ended up being very productive indeed. Between the 2 of us over the 2 session we managed about 30 bites (not all landed unfortunately) compared with a single bite across more (day only) sessions the year before. We shared the same peg in both sessions which allowed us to figure a few things out like when the bite times were. Once we figured that out, the penny dropped why we didn’t catch much the year before – we were always there at the wrong time of day!

We also found some good spots so when we’re fishing that peg next, we know exactly where to be casting to. We got takes from multiple spots, which is really good. They were marked down in my diary and pictures taken. So those sessions were good to us, but if you read the blog post from last year, I said that I had certain targets that I wanted to achieve this year, and only one of those has been ticked off.

Those targets included catching a bigger fish than what I previously caught at Brandesburton, that was the one that I ticked off. I did that in the first of those two sessions. One of the other targets was to catch a 20lb fish from a local day ticket venue. I didn’t get the opportunity to fish that venue last year, so unfortunately I didn’t manage to achieve that.

I also wanted to catch a fish on the fly which should be straightforward as I fly fish for trout and grayline so I kind of know what I’m doing when it comes to fly fishing, although I need to do a little bit of research into how to catch carp on the fly. But I think I could have done that if, again, I’d have had the opportunity which unfortunately I didn’t get.

The other thing that I wanted to do was start rolling my own boilies and catch a fish on them. Again, I didn’t manage to do that. I fell into the trap of not preparing properly for sessions and the day before going to the local tackle shop and picking up the boilies that I always use, which are the 12mm Sticky Baits Krill which I am a big fan of. When something works, it’s hard to change but I did want to start rolling my own bait. I was going to use the DIY packs from DNA Baits but I never ended up investing in the equipment and due to my poor organisation I carried on buying last minute shelf life boilies.

So I did manage to tick off one of the four, but to be honest I’m still happy that I had a good couple of sessions at Brandesburton and caught some nice fish, not huge fish but nice. There’s not really any huge fish in there, they only go to mid-20s. I still haven’t caught a 20lb’er from there, but I want to to carry on trying to do that, and I won’t stop until I do. I’ve had a few nice mid-doubles which have all been really nice-looking fish but I do still want that elusive 20.

So that was last year. Going into 2016, some of the same targets apply really. Because I’ve increased my PB at Brandesburton, I do want to catch that magical 20-pound fish from there, which if I manage to get more sessions in this year, which I’m hoping to do, should be a realistic target. There are though people on there that have been fishing the venue for a few years that haven’t managed to catch a 20-pound fish yet. On the other side of the coin though there are also some people who will go there and catch more than one 20lb fish in a single session so it’s absolutely realistic if we put the work in.

The day ticket lake, I don’t think that I’ll be able to fish again this year. To be fair, there’s a booking system in place, and the way I plan my free time is not that much in advance, so it’s hard to work around that sort of system. I don’t really want to be ringing up on the first day of the month to book for the following month. That doesn’t really work for me so I probably won’t carry that target into this year. But certainly the one around Brandesburton, I will.

Regarding the bait, I’m not sure about that yet. I need to think about it. It would be nice to start rolling my own bait so I could customise it and all that kind of thing, but in all honesty I’m happy with the Sticky Baits Krill. I’ve got confidence in it. It works for me, so I’ll probably continue to use that. And I like using shelf-life baits as well, whereas if I roll my own, that will more than likely be freezer bait.

One target that I will carry from last year into this year is capturing a carp on the fly. I really do want to do that. Like I said, I fly fish already, and that’s another passion of mine so I’m sure with a bit of researc, I’ll be able to figure out what they’re likely to take on the surface. I tie my own flies as well so I’ll be able to tie something up that’s suitable for carp. So that target will be carried into this year and I’ll report back once I’ve managed to achieve it (if I manage to achieve it, hopefully I will but we’ll see!)

So that’s it. That’s a reflection of last year and a brief plan of this year. My night permit is about to come through for Brandesburton. Hopefully, from spring time onwards we’ll be getting back up there. It’s a three-hour round trip, so normally, we do slightly longer sessions. Hopefully, we’ll get a decent amount of weekend sessions and full weekend sessions this year. We’ll see if we can catch that magic 20lb’er.

The club that own the fishery, Hull and District Angling Association have done quite a lot of work on it recently. It’s now got an otter fence and I believe that they’re doing some work on the path around the lake this year, because sometimes it can be quite hard to push a barrel around. So the venue is improving all the time. There’s a waiting list for permits and so it’s becoming a bit of a popular venue. It can be busy on a weekend, but still, the lake is absolutely stunning, and I’m still massively in love with it and until I achieve what I want to achieve on there I’ll continue to fish it. It might take me another year, it might take me another 10 years, I don’t really care! As long as I’ve still got a passion for it, and I’m still chasing something, then I’ll continue visiting and writing about it. If I do catch it this year, we’ll see what happens. Hull and District have other waters that I can potentially look at a night permit for.

Syndicates are another option but because of the amount of time that I do have free to fish, it probably wouldn’t be financially viable for me to join a £500-a-year syndicate. But that is an option. It might be that I’ll start traveling further afield to look at certain day ticket lakes going into 2017 if I achieve everything I want to achieve in 2016 in Brandesburton. But I’m not sure yet.

We need to see all this new pans out. If it goes to plan, then next year could look very different. If it doesn’t go to plan, then so be it. 2015 didn’t really go to plan. I’m not too concerned about that. I’m still having fun, which is ultimately what it’s all about. And hopefully, it will be a good year. And of course, I’ll be keeping you up to date on the progress in blog.

Regarding the blog, content-wise, I want to continue to write about my ups and downs and carry on being completely open and honest about my angling. I do want to start doing some different types of content, so reviews are one thing I want to focus on. As a good Yorkshireman, I research products in depth before I buy them – I want to make sure I’m getting value for money! I always appreciate reviews from bloggers as well as people on social media and forums etc… so I think that type of post offers a lot of value to readers of a blog. If there is anything in particular that you want me to review, then let me know, and I’ll try and do that but also, if you have got any suggestions for the type of content that you want to see on the blog, then please let me know. I want to make sure that I’m producing content that resonates with everybody, that’s on topic, and that’s ultimately valuable, and that can help you in your fishing as well.

I want to increase the emails I send out, so I’ll be looking to send certain pieces of content through email only. So if you haven’t subscribed, please do that. There’s a link at the bottom of this post and also at the top of the right-hand side of the blog. You just need to put your email address in that, and then you’ll get updates when a new blog post goes live plus some additional content that I’ll be sharing via email only. So please do that and good luck in your own fishing for 2016.

Until next time, tight lines…