The start of a new year - do you give your fishing a bit of a shakeup?
A Happy New Year to you all and I hope you had a good time over the Christmas period. It's the start of another year for us all and like many of you I am sure, I can't help but think about the next twelve months and what might or might not happen over the course of them - and when I started this blog back in 2007 I had no idea that I might still be writing it at the start of 2015. I have never had any real plans for where it should go or anything like that, rather it has always been a simple case of putting mostly fishing related stuff on here that churns around my head and then trusting/hoping that it might find an audience that gets something out of it.
Regardless of what sort of fishing floats your boat the most, do you ever start a new year by looking at how and where you tend to fish and think a bit about shaking things up a bit? As much as I think we still have a chance at a few bass on lures around here in south east Cornwall, if you're into your saltwater lure fishing then for the most part we are hardly in the midst of the most epic time of year!! I don't know about you, but I can't help thinking about 2014 and the fishing I did, and then having a bit of a think about how I could do better. If we take the obvious worries about bass stocks and numbers of larger fish out of the equation here, do you have plans for 2015 that revolve around doing some stuff differently to how you did them in 2014?
The desire to catch more and bigger fish is surely what drives most anglers, but to go out and catch more larger fish, well is this simply a case of putting more time in or is it more about fishing smarter? Some anglers can fish a lot and some can't, but if you take the time you can devote to fishing and really think about it, could you fish that bit smarter? It churns me up when I think about where and when to go and then blank spectacularly - I can live with not catching, but what does me in is the fact that I made the wrong decision. How can I make a better decision next time?
I don't personally believe that there is always some incredible fishing to be had somewhere relatively local, regardless of tides and conditions etc., but I do believe that fishing is a continual learning process and that my continuing to learn more about it is very much wrapped up with trying to make better decisions on where and when to actually go fishing. I know deep down for example that I really have to spend more time fishing the local marks I know at night - a big part of me doesn't want to have to do this because my fishing is so wrapped up with my photography, and chucking flash about in the pitch black is creatively crap, but on the other hand I am convinced that if I can "crack" a bit of night fishing around here, then I would see better results.
I am also going to do my best to spend more "smart" time chasing bass in the various estuaries around here. We spend sometimes a huge amount of time fishing estuaries over in Ireland and it's as normal to us as chasing bass on the open coast, but I simply haven't "cracked" the estuary fishing for bass around where I live. I had such a blast fishing a few times this year with Neil Burnell and his mates up around where they do a bit of their estuary fishing, and it really, really struck a chord with me that if they have that sort of bass fishing up around where they are, then around me I surely have something along those lines. It's a case of thinking about things and then going out and having a proper go, and towards the backend of last year I was looking around on Bing Maps and then doing what I used to do a lot - walking around and having a decent look. The next step is simply to get out there and start sussing things out in a few months time.
I tell myself every year that I really should go back to spending more time chasing mullet on light gear, and this year I have already given myself a kick up the backside and an internal promise that yes, I am bloody daft not to be doing more of this awesome fishing. Hell, a combination of regular shore fishing and light tackle mulleting came very close to me completely flunking my university days, and if there is one thing we do have around here is some awesome mullet fishing. I love my lure fishing these days, but to chase fast running fish in UK waters that you can often see is something pretty unique, and I fully intend to spend more time this year on the mullet. Same with the wrasse on soft plastics when it all goes calm and clear - loads of fun, and the marks I tend to fish are often very quiet and out of the way and I just love being in places like that.
Here's to another fishing year. What will the rest of winter bring as regards storms and cold spells? Does the amazing influx of codling this winter give one hope that fish stocks can sometimes back almost regardless of the pathetic inability to do the right thing and afford "our" fish at least some kind of decent protection for the future? Have you got plans to fish some different places and do some different stuff? Let's talk about this sort of stuff another twelve months down the line and see how far we got with it, and in the meantime, Happy New Year and here's to 2015...................