Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.
For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.
He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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Personal bests of 2013
I’M not one for chasing around or waiting for personal bests.
Of course I keep a mental note of the biggest and best specimens I catch but I’m not going to put in countless hours chasing bigger and better fish.
I just want to enjoy my sport and appreciate every fish, no matter what it’s size and also consider where the fish was caught. A 1lb roach from a tiny stream or a canal holds greater credence with me than a near-2lb redfin from a water noted for specimens (although I do still have to break the 1 lb 14 oz 8 dr, barrier for the species).
So this past year is not about the bigger fish I have caught but where I caught them, when and how.
It’s also about what I have learned over the past 12 months to add to my 45-plus years of angling experience. You can never stop learning at this game…
So here, with a few words of explanation, are my personal best bits of 2013 from a fishing point of view…or at least those I can remember as age creeps up on me!
I have to go for my 3 lb-plus perch from Royal Berkshire Fishery near Windsor. It was almost a personal best, I fish for it, it took prawn and the fish was in immaculate condition. That one fish would have made my day…but I also had another over 2 lb and some cracking roach.
Finch Farm near Maidenhead could have won this, even thought it’s not the prettiest place. It’s almost guaranteed fish and anything could be on the other end when you get a bite. But for sheer value for money, cleanliness, facilities and general all round good fishing during the warm months it has to be Marsh Farm near Milford in Surrey. The Godalming AS club water can also be fished on a day ticket for just £7 and despite cracking crucians, tench and some nice roach it’s got a growing head of bream. There’s also a tackle shop, toilets and coaching available. A marker for many other fisheries to follow.
BEST NEW VENUE
Ashmore Copse near Hook, Hampshire. Three small ponds, hidden among trees, that contain more skimmers than you can count, plus growing barbel, lots of battling carp, and owners that are always willing to have a chat and a laugh with no ruling rods of iron. Another marker for some bigger fishery owners…
Luncheon meat. We’ve caught on almost everything this year but the old tinned Spam and its brothers has really shone for almost every fish that swims. I really couldn’t believe how well it fished from late Spring until just recently.
BEST NEW BAIT
Old Ghost sausage baits – particularly the bloodworm one. It smells evil and there is no danger you might eat it like normal luncheon meat, but it stays on the hook and works instantly.
BEST NEW KIT
Middy White Knuckle whip. I really didn’t expect this 6m margin pole to offer me anything new – but was totally wrong. It does the job it’s meant to but better than that it’s actually fun to fish with. It’s a beast beater without being over the top.
Kamasan Animal. I have yet to have one of these hooks straighten on me. They are seriously tough and have been my first choice for a lot of my fishing where strong hooks are needed. I only remember one showing signs of going a bit blunt after giving it an all day hammering. That’s quality.
Preston Reflo Power. Thin for its breaking strains yet hard wearing enough for even the most used pole rigs. It’s allowed me to fish the much heavier breaking strains I have needed for rigs or loaded on my centrepin for bigger fish, especially when fishing down the margins.
My travelling partner ‘Music Mike’ almost bursting into tears when he sat on a pole section (I know, not funny really but his face was a picture) and also when the bird scarer went off to shatter a peaceful day’s fishing and almost sent him rocketing out of his chair.
And all I can do now is look forward to the New Year, thank you for staying with me or joining me over the past 12 months and say have a great 2014. You can follow me on Twitter @mitchcolin where you may even be lucky to get questions answered when I am not on the bank.
COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY.
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