Catch a New Year Fish!

1st Jan 09 Who will get the first fish?

I can’t remember when this tradition started, but for many years Martyn and I have made a point of going fishing on January 1st to try and catch our first fish of the year. I can clearly remember driving over the Humber Bridge on Jan 1st 2000, not another car in sight, the first rays of a weak winter’s sun starting to tinge the towers of the bridge orange. Happy New Year, we’re going fishing.
On many occasions we have had our chosen water to ourselves, and its lovely to just be out there, looking back at the year gone by, and looking forward to the fishing to come. Although the day is mainly a social one, we do take the catching of that first fish seriously, so if you decide to be as daft as we are and have a day out early in the New Year here’s a few tips to hopefully help you catch.
1) Go for a water with a good track record. Winter fishing is usually much slower, as the fish are naturally less active, so select a water with high stock levels, so the fish are more inclined to be hungry and therefore more inclined to continue feeding in the colder months. In the Summer I often seek out waters with minimum angling pressure, but in winter I’m more than happy to fish waters that see regular fishing. It usually means more bait going in, more fish activity, and more fish getting caught.
2) Take account of the weather. Some waters are more susceptible to weather changes than others. Rivers that flood quickly, Drains that are used to carry pumped water off the land as part of land drainage schemes. Very shallow, exposed lakes. Don’t plan your trip too many days in advance and go to a venue that suits the conditions. I have over the years built up a network of friends/fellow anglers etc. that I can call because they live near various venues. A few calls can save a lot of driving about if your chosen venue is unfishable when you arrive.
3) Set your sights for a fun fish, not a pb. Winter fishing should be enjoyable, not an endurance test. So my winter trips are about getting a bend in my rod, with the minimum of hassle. So select a venue with reasonably easy access, that way you can put all the extra winter clobber on, and still reach your swim, without being completely tired out. In winter if I’m targeting carp, I’d rather catch 2 ten pound fish than blank trying for a twenty. If a bigger fish comes along that’s brilliant, but catching anything means you are getting it right, which in winter, is a real moral booster! Don’t forget the obvious, and take plenty of hot drinks etc. If you are warm and comfortable you will fish better.
4) Pick your species. Some fish will cope better with the colder water and continue to feed, even in extreme conditions, but these trips aren’t about pushing boundaries, they are about catching a few fish to get your new year off and running. Chub, Pike, Grayling come to mind, and these days some of the day ticket carp waters, can also produce. So that’s it then, time to start planning my New Year trip, I’ll still be up waiting for Big Ben to chime, and singing Auld Langs Syne, but a bit of me will be looking forward to that first fishing trip of the year. Can it really be 12 months since the last one? 
HAPPY NEW YEAR from all at DAIWA SPORTS ….. Perhaps we’ll see you out there on Jan 1st. if not there’s always the 2nd, or the 3rd, or the 4th. or the …....