So December started with my now annual pairs lure match which I organise on the Trent and Mersey canal each year. This year it was kindly sponsored by ecogear and they sent an enormous box of prize goodies especially for the occasion. 18 teams turned up on the day and it was clear from the outset that the fishing was going to be tough. An overnight frost had put cat-ice on the water in some parts and the canal bottom was clearly visible along most of its length.
With the extremely clear conditions I said beforehand it would be pike that made all the difference and so it proved with several being landed throughout the course of the match. The perch were being difficult to tempt and overall lengths remained low for the first half of the match. A couple of boats came through late on and people began to catch a few at last knockings. In the end it was won by Vidar Thomassen and Alan Brown with a fantastic 2.7m which was a great result in the conditions.
Next session of note was a trip to Rutland just before Christmas with Potto, Andy and Dave. Conditions were chilly with no wind which meant for a flat calm lake with no drift, casting it was then! We landed on fish straight away and everybody caught within the first 20mins of fishing so we were confident of a good day.
A few days later I had a window for quick two hour session into dark on a local river which gave me a couple of Perch with shoulders! About time too as it seemed like ages since I last bagged some decent ones! It was tough going and I only had three bites but I made them count at least.
Soon enough Christmas was upon us and due to family commitments I was struggling to get out although I did manage a trip to the Severn with Potto where I bagged a fine conditioned Pike from my only bite of a very tough day.
So that rounds off 2016 then! Not a great year for big fish, I've certainly had many better years, but I've broadened my horizons a great deal by trying lots of new tactics and fishing a good selection of different waters at home and abroad . I've fished with old friends and met many new ones in my travels and I feel my fishing has been enormously enriched as a result.
I'm very positive going into 2017 as I have big plans, with various matches and a couple of European trips hopefully on the cards. Outside fishing I have settled into my new job and am looking forward to a house move and a fresh start which I'm certain will carry through into my fishing and help me bank some kippers!