A Few Highlights of 2013 - Joe Stephens

I had a pukka start to the year with a lovely 30lb common in January, just as I felt like I was getting close my target, it went and got caught from my baited area. That’s fishing and that’s the risk I knew I was taking. I carried on fishing there until the end of the season in March and only managed a small one, not through lack of trying though.
I then flitted about a bit with friends on a few easier waters, having a great laugh. April was soon with us and I started up at my main water, which I have been concentrating on for the last couple of seasons. I didn’t catch anything through April, although I came close a couple of times. I had some holiday booked in May and on the first trip I managed to catch a 31lb 6oz stockie on a single mixer, cast in front of it as it was cruising. I then went on to lose a very big fish after a hook pull on my very last morning. I was left shaking like a leaf, and that was the start of some very bad luck!
I had a weekend away to gather my thoughts, doing a couple of days at a local lake. I manage to foul hook a 20lb common in the cheek on a bottom bait, so my luck wasn’t getting much better, the following weekend I went back to my main lake the following weekend and the weather was perfect. I caught two stockies to 28lb 8oz and the following day I managed to do something that I would never of dreamed of and foul hooked my target fish in the pec on a pop-up. I was devastated and unhooked him in the net, let him recover then let him go. I didn’t go fishing for a few weekends to get my head straight. I decided to pick my chins up and get back up there in mid-June. I managed to create a couple of chances but banked nothing. I lost one off the a little while later, which was a fish I really wanted to catch along the way. The hook link parted on a bush, so my bad luck was still well and truly in charge.
I then went floater fishing on the Sunday after watching England win the first test of the Ashes. My friend and I went to a lake that held a good head of carp probably 200 in 4 acres. There was a low-thirty in the lake with the name Patch. Patch has been up to 39lb in the past but it’s really old and has a lot of competition for food so it’s now a little smaller. Well, to cut a long story short, I somehow managed to catch Patch on a floater on my first trip to the lake. Like I said, it’s a really old carp and I’m really happy to have him in my album and I hope my luck is changing. That’s me up to date, sorry for all the moaning and groaning. I’ll keep at it and keep you posted. Until next time keep them slack.

Joe Stephens