I did keep Angling though, but in Freshwater, filling my time chasing a Personal Best Perch, which I achieved with a magnificent 3lb 9oz specimen, and catching my first Grayling from the River Itchen in Hampshire!
Naturally after the wonderful summer of last year getting to know the intracasies of Fly Fishing for Bass from the shore, this was always on my mind, and talk with friends always turned to this subject, despite the targets we had set ourselves for the winter.
This leads me onto this years Targets from the Salt. Although we, (myself and my Angling partner), did very well for numbers of Bass last year, bagging probably in the region of 500 apiece, we struggled to get among any of the bigger fish, most of what we caught were from a few ounces up to around 3lb. The shoals of fish we targeted were vast and always of a similar year class. I feel that because we were enjoying the learning curve so much and catching so many fish, that we really didn't mind what we caught size wise. This year though things will be a bit different. Most of the venues we frequented last year were what you might call 'easy access', this means they were shallow easily wadeable venues visited by large numbers of juvenile fish, that swept inshore on the flooding tide in the vast shoals described above.
What became apparent during our time at these venues was that any bigger fish in evidence were often further out in slightly deeper water or were following their smaller bretheren inshore slightly later in the tide after we had been forced to retreat back due to the advancing tide.
Another observation was that the larger fish were present in much lesser numbers than the smaller fish, and the very biggest fish were almost certainly more indiviualistic in their nature.
The frustration of having to retreat away from those larger specimens became too much to bear last year, and it was obvious we needed to get afloat in order to maximise on these opportunities.
A 'proper' boat was just out of the question, running costs would just be too high, and Storage was out of the question, so a Kayak it was to be.
I don't intend to fish from the Kayak all the time, there will still be plenty to do from the shore during the weekday evenings, but weekends will see us afloat if the weather and tides are conducive to such activity!
Something else I'd like to experiment with this year is trying for alternative species on the Fly.
Mullet, Wrasse, pollock, Mackerel and numerous other species can all be caught on the Fly as well as Bass. I managed to fluke a Garfish on a clouser last year so maybe there will be some more of those as well.
So thats my agenda for this season, wonder how much of it will be achieved and how much will be held over to next year?! Time will tell.