Winter 2021 – 2022 Blog


The winter of 2021 – 22 was a strange one for me, I had a lot of plans and venues that I wanted to try, I had planned to fish mainly on the river for November, as last year this was the time several big zander came out. My boat engine packing up put paid to that! The carburettor was blocked again and needed to be sonic cleaned, then on top of this the impeller decided to catastrophically break! So it was off to the mechanic to get it fixed. Getting replacement parts was a waiting game, as like most things, supply had slowed during the pandemic!


Then, I had to take a self-inflected break from fishing in November and most of December – due to injury while pushing some heavy weights around! I managed to tear my stomach muscles and couldn’t do very much at all for six weeks. Who said exercise was good for you?
In all honestly, I don’t think I missed out on too much, most of the waters I planned to concentrate on simply didn’t fish. In my experience this isn’t unusual, November is nearly always a pants time of year while the water cools down. December can be better, but that’s usually only if the temperature has already dropped and remains stable.
I managed to get a couple of days out before Christmas, and fluked a twenty each day, so everything was looking good for bumper New Year when I usually concentrate my efforts.

January is possibly my favourite time to fish on certain waters, you wouldn’t think it should be, but if the fish have migrated and the weather is ok, for me, it can be great. This year, not so much. Most of the time January was cold, still, and misty, which can be ideal on some venues, however not on the ones I was fishing, and I really struggled. For some reason the fish were not where they “should” be at this time of year. (Though I suppose only the fish know where they “should” be and why). Or maybe it is better to say the fish were not where I expected them to be, certainly in most winters they are deep in numbers. This year I struggled to find many, though when I did, I caught them, which suggest to me that there weren’t many there, again which was unusual.

Mist Pike_01

Feeding behaviour was also strange, usually in January you can pretty much identify three feeding spells, first light (as anywhere), mid-day (maybe from 1000 to 1200 depending on light levels, and last knockings (as light levels fall) most of the other times unless you are right on fish it’s a waste of time. This year I swear I might as well have just turned up and fished the last 30mins before dark, as every fish I had was caught then! Why? I really don’t know.

I got my engine back and running just before Christmas, and I had a day on the river to test it out. I just took one rod and a couple of boxes of lures and it was zander galore, though there were no big ones, about 8lb was the largest I had. It was good fun but it was obvious that only the small fish were feeding. I was also obvious that me and Paul Garner, who was also out in his boat, were the only ones catching. There were several other boats mainly fishing baits who weren’t getting pick-ups, despite the zander obviously being active.


Paul and I had planned to do some pike fishing on another venue the next day, but because we had caught so many we decided to come back and try for a bigger one. I have seen the river fish like this before, and I don’t know if it’s typical on all systems but what tends to happen is you get one or two days when all the smaller zander seem to feed, then it will go dead, but a really big fish will come out. It’s almost like they know their bigger brethren are about so move away or turn off.


The next day, full of anticipation after breaking the Ice in the marina as the first boat out, I spot locked mid-river while I sorted the boat out and made a tea. Just as it was getting light, I saw a large “lump” come under the boat on the sonar and dropped my jig straight down on it. A couple of jigs and I had a really strange bite, struck, and the rod hooped over with a big fish on the end!


I had it off the bottom and it was just holding its own in the flow then took off downstream. I knocked the spot lock off and went with it to try and keep the fish below the boat. You are far less likely to pull the hook to bring the fish up to the boat than pulling a fish against the flow to the boat! So that’s what happened I’d get the fish half way up, it would kite into the flow and then I would have to chase it down again.


I was about a mile downstream when I finally got the net ready, and was really disappointed when a big common carp that was foul hooked in the pectoral fin circled to the surface! Oh well!
Then to kick me in the teeth a bit latter on I caught a Chub on what must have been the strangest days fishing of all time, then alas the floods came back and wiped the river out until the final few days of the season, but more on that later.