2016 In Review

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It seems like just a few weeks since I was writing the last end of year review. How time flies! I’m sure you will all agree it’s been a great year for fishing at Ribière. I will try to do my best to share the highlights with you. Sorry in advance if I miss mentioning some of you as there have been so many good results - it’s hard to capture them all. So I am only going to single out what I consider to be some of the stand out catches of the year. With four 60+ braces alone this year it's going to be difficult to get everyone else in.

March this year was wet. Rain, rain and more rain. The fishing seemed to be stop/start with cold easterly winds holding the fishing back. Opening week was good with fish being caught all over the lake and peg 7 getting the season off to a good start with some nice 50lb fish. Pegs 1,2,3,4 were not far behind. But it just shows you that the fish are all over the lake even in the early spring months. The rest of the month was a bit one step forward, another back.  One week would be quiet – and then BANG! – some big fish would change the nature of the week. At times the fish were held up in specific swims and, for anglers not on them, it was a frustrating time. Mac and Bev Stevens had a good session despite the cold wind. Laurent Martine had Black Spot out at a good spring weight and some nice 40lb fish to 49 out to our Dutch anglers, Postma and Bremmer, on a two-week session in pegs 1 and 2. Also great to see some nice commons out - a feature of the year. March can be very weather dependent and this year was no exception. Overall it was a challenging month with around 30 fish banked – the biggest at 59lb. If you are on the fish you can catch them and they are big. We still have pegs available this year in March if anyone wants to chance their arm. 

April signalled the start of the more consistent fishing and the arrival of the bigger fish. Peter Boulton did well, as ever, in peg three with fish to 59lb despite difficult conditions. But it was peg 7 again which started to produce the bigger fish with the first 60lb fish of the year falling to Mr Charron, one of our French anglers, who also had the big Linear at 55lb and the two-tone fish. This is one of the best looking fish in the lake and I think destined to be a new 60lb fish in a few years. Pegs 8 and 9 fished hard in March and it took Julian Filleul to show us how to catch them down in the shallow water in spring with around 11 fish in a short 72 hour session - including one of the big commons and some nice 50lb fish. Alex also made his first appearance of the year falling to German angler, Thomas Kamin, fishing peg 8 at a great spring weight of 72lb. A stunning capture and a great session with Thomas landing a lot of big fish. April had two fish caught over 60lb, Alex at 72lb and a total of 80 fish on the bank. I think the other 60lb fish was peg 3 on the Saturday morning before packing up. I believe it shows that the very big fish are not with the main pack. Last year the winter was mild and we fed the lake all over including pegs 7 and 8. For me the big fish stayed around 5,6,7,8 for most of the winter. The same is happening again now. So we will have to see what happens again this April. 

May turned into one hell of a good month. The weather was warm but dominated by low pressure and rain. Spawning was stop/start and the fish just kept getting caught. I think it was one of the best big fish months of the year. We had well over 200 fish caught with 24 over 50lb, three over 60lb and Alex again at 72lb. We had an amazing number of 40lb fish caught - well over 80 fish - and a lot of them were mid and upper 40lb fish. Which I think indicates how well the fish stock is doing. I would say the average fish in May was around the 20kg or 44lb mark. For me a couple of sessions stood out. Malcolm and his twin brother in pegs 1 and 2 on a lake exclusive smashed it. Resulting in the first big brace of the year with a 60lb and Alex at 72lb again. What was amazing was the fact that the non-carp angler bagged all the big fish. But that's fishing! Shimano fished on zigs and also had a big hit of fish including a 60lb fish and some very special 50lb fish - including the big three scale fish. What a month and too many people to mention. All the lake was catching and the fish were well and truly moving all over. Peter and Marjo Hergt in peg 7, as ever, had a lot of fish. Whilst Brett Derrick and Craig in 8 and 9 had a great session catching some nice fish to mid 50lb. Overall a mega month. 

Well it didn’t slow down in June. The fish still hadn’t fully spawned and wanted to eat and eat. So, it was more madness. The rain had finally stopped and the fish spawned fully so the weights, as expected, dropped off. But what surprised me was that some of the big males came on the munch big time. Peter Belo and his brother, father and friend Jasper had a mega session catching well over 80 fish between them including two over 60lb and 10 over 50lb and one of the big commons. What a result! Our first brace of 60lb fish which came out to Brian and Julie Stevens who were doing a two week session in 6 and 7. They had a great fortnight with lots of 30lb, 40lb and 50lb fish but both smashed their PB on the last day of fishing with a 60lb fish each. Julie catching the biggest 60lb fish of the year at 65lb. A fish that could do 70lb in the future. Well done to Julie - a great result. The lake fished very consistently in June with most pegs catching and some nice fish out of 5 and 6, including one of the bigger commons. Our charity auction bid winner, Adam Spiers, also did well on 8 and 9.

July had temperatures in the mid 30s, it’s not a time you expect big fish. But they still have to feed and if you know how to catch them and fish the pegs, July can be as good a time as any and our international anglers proved this. Team Vandeweyer from Belgium fished pegs 6 and 7 to great effect and had a very rewarding week. In essence this was a family holiday for the group who came with their wives and children. They mostly fished the nights and early mornings and spent the rest of the day enjoying the pool and days out. The results were consistent with 25 fish over the week and four over 50 to 56lb. But the icing on the cake came in the shape of two 60lb fish - 63.4lb being the biggest - on a mad afternoon when they decided the conditions just had to be fished. The rest of July was a little bit up and down - depending on the weather. With high pressure, flat calm and hot days the fishing can often be difficult and adapting your approach is essential for success. Some of our weeks were very frustrating. The week that Chris Tarrant and co were here on their regular trip out was particularly unpredictable with the fish spending much of their time eating white flies off the top. Bob James managed to snag some fish using long tails. If you got a couple of overcast days and a nice strong wind, then you could catch them.  Night time proved successful for a number of our French anglers who regularly holiday with us at this time of year including Stephane Hugoo. Spanish angler, Christian Popa, had a nice common out at 48lb from peg 3 whilst German Sascha Schopphoven had eight fish to 55.11lb. So overall the month still managed to produce some big fish with three fish over 60lb and lots of 40lb.

August was very much like July. You could catch them if the weather was kind to you and not too hot. It seemed to be one week on, one week off. But when they were feeding it was madness. French regular, M. Callemeyne, managed to trip up Alex on a Saturday afternoon half way through his two week session and after a frustrating few days. This goes to show you that the fish react to change over days. I think Alex thought it was quiet with no lines in the water and went on an afternoon munch. Great result for August to catch such a big fish and well done to Mr Callemeyne. With temperatures soaring, results remained a little hit and miss but there were highlights including consistent catching from Dave on peg 7 during a week's exclusive with Mark Johnson and co. But the main people to benefit were twin brothers Kevin and Greg Lewis from Manchester who managed 30 plus fish with the big linear at 56lb and a stunning 60lb fish. What surprised me about August was how big some of the fish still were. Some of the big males just seemed to pack the weight straight on. If you could get them feeding you could catch them and Kevin and Greg really took it apart on the back of pegs 1 and 2 not doing well and most of the fish being in pegs 5,6,7,8,9. The fish seemed to spend much of August in 6, 7, 8 and 9. The shallow water did very well during this period. I think August produced around 120/150 fish and most of the pegs caught well. Surprising given we’d had no rain since June, high pressure, hot weather into the high 30 degrees. And finally regular French angler, M. Girard and co, had a very successful week on pegs 3,4 and 5 including big scale. So well done to everyone.