New River Season – Steve Pope, Mark Wintle and Tony Gibson
To celebrate the new season we asked the great and good of FishingMagic to say a few words on their hopes, thoughts and aspirations for the months ahead. In this, the penultimate instalment ,we have the terrific trio of Steve Pope, Mark Wintle and Tony Gibson
Steve Pope starts:
Although I've been away from the country these past six months the new start to a river season still gets me as excited as ever, the long wait is over and the anticipation of great adventures to come brings back thoughts of when I was a boy trying to get some sleep on Christmas Eve!
My diary for the first few months is nigh on full, lots of new friends to make and old acquaintances to meet once more, that in itself just heightens the excitement level.
I am expecting great things on the Rivers Wye and Severn. Last season the lower reaches on the Severn fished very well for me, lots of barbel with plenty of doubles, some very nice chub and as many bream as you would want to catch certainly approaching ten pounds in weight - great fishing by any standard.
The Wye is fast becoming my favourite venue and I'm looking forward to catching lots of barbel without over complicating things and enjoying the fishing for what it really is - great fun in stunning locations.
And then there's the Kennet, I expect to see a decent number of double figure barbel but what I'm really looking for are signs that the numbers are beginning to show an increase from the last couple of years. The Kennet is a river in transition and I have my fingers crossed that indications will be there that it is beginning to return to good health, we'll just have to wait and see on that one.
As for my ambitions, that's easy, to stay fit and strong so that I can live my life to the max down by the riverside which will recharge my slightly rundown battery for another winter break down under, oh and plenty of double figure barbel to keep a bend in the old rod!
Mark Wintle continues:
Last season was a washout in many ways but this season I’m hoping for a decent summer so that I can have a go for big lower Dorset Stour roach again with hemp and tares as I did back in 2011 when I had roach to 2lb 8oz.
Even further down in Christchurch Harbour I hope to try the mixed fishing down there again where one bite can be a dace, the next a mullet, the next a roach. I also hope to fish the middle Thames on an occasional basis for roach and silver bream. Last season was promising until the floods wiped it out post-Christmas but in the autumn when it had flow and colour I had silver bream over a pound and roach to 1lb 7oz.
I’ve fished the upper Stour for 40 years now and for many years have fished a couple of stretches on one particular club book. This year I’ve bought a different club’s permit to try their water just a few miles upstream by way of a change; I’m not sure there’s many monsters but trying new water should be interesting; it’s classic stick, waggler and pole fishing with roach, chub and perch plus odd river tench and bream.
I failed to catch a single cyprinid from the Dorset Frome last season for the first time in 42 years – had a few good grayling - so I will attempt to put that right this year; again a river that had terrible floods for much of the season with very few fish caught – are there still fish in there?
There’s only one way to find out!
And Tony Gibson concludes:
I'm not too sure that I've got plans to be on the rivers at the start of the new season. To be honest I haven't yet firmed up my plans in terms of what I'll be fishing for next after I'm done with my bream campaign for the 'spring'. I've usually got some very firm plans and all potential venues well sorted in advance, but I'm still undecided at the moment.
With all the flooding over the last couple of winters, there could be an awful lot of big carp that have gone wandering off from the river valley gravel pits and ended up in the river systems. A pioneering carper could potentially do worse than checking out some river venues at the start of the season, as there could be some surprises to be found...
Our new river season series finishes next week with editor Welchy on what will, hopefully, be the season that sees him back on the rivers...