January 2001

I suspect that regular readers of this column will be familiar with my excuses for not catching any specimens by now, so this time I'm going to stick to the point: In November I had my car stolen by some low-life scum and, as a result, have been without a car for two months. Add to this some ridiculous flooding and then some really cold weather and I think you'll understand why I haven't been fishing much! But, as D-Ream once warbled, "Things can only get better" (Well, they can't get much worse!). So, I'm going to think positive – I've got my car back, the weather's getting better and I've got a few days booked off work, so hopefully I can end the season with a few fish – I might even be able to use my new camera to photograph them!

The two trips I have managed were both non-events. Firstly, a perch trip to the small lake that I have mentioned here before was another all-carp affair – not a perch in sight. I don't know what I can do to avoid these carp – I think I may well have to sit it out on livebaits. My other recent trip was to a Berkshire gravel pit during the cold snap with my eye on a pike or two. Free roving livebaits were snapped up by two jacks, but unfortunately none bigger turned up – maybe a big see deadbait would have been e better choice to try for a biggie?

Well, as this is my first diary of 2001, I thought I'd better take a look at the highs and lows of 2000, where I went wrong and what I did right. Fish-wise, I suppose my personal best 30lb 4oz mirror carp from the Crabtree Syndicate in Berkshire was my best capture. I worked for that fish and was even more chuffed because it was such a good looking one. I really enjoyed the fishing there last summer – the lads have been such a laugh and there's no secrecy or serious competition between members of the syndicate. Just how it should be! I'm really looking forward to getting there again as soon as it warms up a bit.

My first 30lber - the highlight of 2001

At another Berkshire pit, I took a few 2lb 8oz rudd, and that was another calculated success – no luck involved! A 5lb 3oz chub from the Thames after a baiting campaign was another pleasing result. But that's about all for 2000 – not much else to be happy about.

However, there was quite a lot that worked against me in 2000, such as the car thieves, knee operations (ouch, that hurts!), A-level exams (not more revision?!), flooding (not more rain?!) and serious illness (colitis). So, taking the year as a whole, there were a few high points, but the lows were all too plentiful Here's to a healthy 2001 (except for cormorants!) and a few fish. I'll be hoping for a 2lb roach (again!), a big tench, a few more big carp and maybe a 6lb chub! Who knows?

Anyway, tight lines for now. Speak to you soon,

Fred - 2001