Sunday, 29 November 2015

November 2015 - A Turn For The Better

Here at SENPAC November tends to be one of the busier months of our piking season. This November was no exception. Our members are now generally in full pike fishing mode, we have the PAC access event on the beautiful Lake of Menteith to distract us from our usual haunts and, in addition to one of our regular monthly outings, a few of our number have the annual "jolly boys outing" to the Lake District to cram in to the fishing schedule.
Having said all that Novembers past haven't necessarily been particularly kind to our crew in terms of the fishing results and I think it is fair to say that over the years a few of us have arrived at the end of this particular month feeling slightly bruised. A lot of effort, mileage and expense with not a lot to show for it is, I guess, the risk that we take in pursuit of our quarry. There are certainly no guarantees in this business! One compensation this time of the year is of course that we do end up fishing in and enjoying some fabulous scenery with the added sparkle of the late Autumn colours which goes some long way ease the pain of long fish-less hours if they are to be endured. A compensation that was celebrated by our editor on the front cover of our latest Newsletter.
However, it will hopefully not of escaped you that the title of this month's missive is " A Turn For The Better"and as somebody famously said "the clue is in the name"! Far from feeling in anyway mistreated by this November past, a few of SENPAC's finest were feeling relatively content with the outcome of their fishing with good numbers of double figure fish being reported during the period from a variety of waters and in addition, a couple of twenties which were the high-point of the month, one each for our joint RO's Mike Bell and Bruce Turnbull.
Mike has been a Menteith regular for more years that he cares to remember I suspect, always in the draw, nearly always with his regular boat partner Dennis Fearon and with a better than average hit rate for getting afloat. However the one thing that has eluded him over all these years is a "Menty Twenty" Not any more, one of only five fish over twenty pounds(mind you one of them was a 35lb'er) that were recorded on the day, Mike's fish of 21lb-3oz was no doubt a particularly significant milestone for him.
The second of our twenties came later in the month, during the outing to the Lakes.Over the years a number of our "jolly boys outings"have produced fish over the magic twenty pound mark but not previously for Bruce so he very much saw it as his turn this year. At exactly 20lbs and after a less than successful Menteith trip, it no doubt went some way to making the effort feel worthwhile.
The only blot on the November landscape was that we were forced to postpone our monthly outing which was going to be fished on a local river but fell foul of a storm that some bright spark had decided to name "Clodagh". Severe gales, heavy rain and a rapidly rising river did not appear to be ideal conditions for what was intended to be something of a social although there were undoubtedly a number of our "keener" members
who thought that perhaps we were turning soft?
So all in all a fairly positive month to report up here in the north, we all now look forward to December, two club outings to fit in as well as trips far and wide over the festive period no doubt. Historically we do not have a formal meeting in December due to the "festivities" but there will no doubt be a few of us at the Piper on the 29th December 2015 if you want to pop-in for a drink.

Tight lines all.

Monday, 9 November 2015

October 2015 - Loch Reflections

The opening month of SENPAC's new season seems to have flown by, and it appears from reports received that those of our members who have been out and about have been rewarded with a few fish. No record breakers yet, but enough fish to make it feel like a reasonable start to the season for most.

Whilst there has been some modest success reported locally a lot of the early season effort has been focused north of the border and one or two of our more reliable waters over in Dumfries and Galloway have been just that, reliable, which makes the relatively long journey seem worthwhile.Sadly that cant be said for our first Region outing. With a relatively good turn-out of eight SENPAC stalwarts heading high into the Scottish hills we were greeted by a very welcome light frost which frustratingly developed into near tropical conditions of bright sunshine and gentle breeze. Not the ideal combination for fishing a relatively shallow clear water loch? Excuses in early then as the fishing was best described as slow with only five small fish to report. Disappointing for those that failed to catch for sure in what were undoubtedly less than good conditions, but the social aspects of the trip were enjoyed none-the-less and the photographers amongst our number found plenty of opportunities to exploit much to our newsletter editors delight. More pictures less writing to do!

Speaking of pictures, long time SENPAC member Steve Sandiford enjoyed a weeks fishing on the River Severn during October, a finale to his barbel fishing season, prior to getting stuck into his predator fishing. Steve reported some significant success with a number of good fish up to 10lb, however his other success was with the camera, capturing the archetypal angler's shot that we have all tried for at one time or another, usually unsuccessfully. Our newsletter editor failed miserably to hide his envy when he received the image from Steve entitled "a Shropshire bite alarm", suggesting that this will probably be the picture of the year as far as SENPAC are concerned.
Shropshire Bite Alarm

Looking forward to November, well, this is always SENPAC's busiest piking month. With some of our number heading to the Lake of Menteith, quickly followed by our annual five day visit to the Lake District and then our Region outing to deepest Yorkshire. We will hopefully have a lot to talk about at the next Region meeting on Tuesday 24th November 2015 at the usual venue.

Tight lines to you all

Monday, 12 October 2015

September 2015 - Best Of Luck For The New Season Guys

Having started last month's blog with an apology, this month a double apology. It's late again and it's brief, in the main that is because we have all been out fishing as the new piking season got under-way.

Best of luck for the new season was the principal message in the Region's September newsletter and as the fishing reports began to arrive at our editor's desk it appears that a number of our members have got off to a reasonable start with their fishing. No monsters reported as yet but a number of good doubles for some and good numbers of smaller fish for others. It would be premature in the extreme to try to start and predict how the season will develop but a promising start none-the-less.

Our first Region outing is imminent as I write this, when we are off to bonny Scotland to visit a remote water which enjoys a very exposed and elevated location so I guess all concerned will have an eye on the weather forecast when it comes to packing their fishing wardrobe for the trip. Over the years that we have fished this water we have had everything from tropical sunshine to tropical monsoon conditions, so careful sartorial consideration will no doubt be given to what goes into the car boot.

So, like I said at the start, brief ! Hopefully next month's missive will be more extensive and on time? If you want to know more and live in the north-east of England why not consider calling in to see us at our next Region meeting. Tuesday 27th October 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper, Fawdon ( see opposite)

Tight lines and as it says at the top, good luck to all for the new season.

Monday, 14 September 2015

August 2015 - Not Long Now

Firstly this month an apology to all of our regular followers for the delayed posting of this month's offering. Didn't quite get this sorted before being forced to put the rods away and head off to somewhere warmer which if I was being honest proved not to be the hardship that it sounds!

"Not Long Now" seemed like an appropriate title for our September Newsletter as our editor spent most of the time looking forward to the coming season of piking with some relish I have to say.
He was almost in celebratory mood over the fact that the process of selection for our 2015/2016 club trips had seemingly gone so smoothly (unusual in the extreme) and was able to confirm the final list of venues and dates. Of the waters chosen by the members there are four old favourites and two new venues including for the first time ever I think, a day on a river, all of which I suspect will have wet the appetites of a most of our number and sent them scurrying to their tackle sheds and their freezers judging by the requests that I have been receiving over the last few days about bulk bait orders. I hope that Neville's stocked up!!

Also of note during August was the conclusion of our Summer League match series which turned out to be a very close run thing. The final two rounds couldn't have been more different the first fished on a very small, heavily stocked, local pond and the finale fished high in the Durham Dales on a very large reservoir. That wasn't the only significant difference. We had a full compliment of protagonists turn out for the first of the events but then the law of sod seemed to kick-in for the final match and for a huge variety of reasons only two of our number managed to make it, which was a bit of a shame. But as I said it was a close run thing, the eventual winner by just one point, Dave Greally from Bruce Turnbull in second place. Congratulations to Dave who will pick-up his trophy at our prize giving night at the end of January 2016.

Dave Greally

Of the other fishing well Mr.Greally posted another success in the month reporting the biggest pike from one of his visits north of the border, a nice double of over 17lbs, whilst enjoying a family camping trip with daughter Faye who, not to be outdone also got in on the act catching some nice bream and silvers.
The other fishing reports from the Newsletter were the usual mixture of just about everything that swims including a nice Koi for our RO, Mike Bell. Coy and Mike Bell in the same sentence is not something I thought that I would ever see??
Mike Bell.....Coy?

Personally I can't wait until all the fishing reports are about pike!

So what to look forward to in September, well more of the same probably although I know that there are a few of SENPAC's number who will be beginning their new season's campaign in earnest so hopefully I will have some nice pike to report.
Our September club meeting will be on Tuesday 29th September 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper when all thoughts will no doubt be on the first club trip of the new season and final preparations for what we all hope  will be an enjoyable and productive season. Enjoyable is almost guaranteed, productive, well we will just have to wait and see.

Till next month.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

July 2015 - The Planning Begins

Here we are, at what is supposed to be the height of the Summer and traditionally SENPAC's thoughts turn to the piking to come. Summer, that's a laugh, one of our number reported a temperature reading of 2 degrees on the car thermometer on one of his early morning starts to fish north of Hadrian's Wall and the rest of us are rapidly becoming acclimatised for when the pike rods next see the light of day!

And so the debate begins.............where are we going to go?..........................when are we going to go? Whilst the SENPAC membership has a few of what could be called "traditional" pikers who enjoy nothing more than getting away from everybody and everything for a days fishing on a favourite water, we are also lucky enough to have members who enjoy the shared experience and so we have a well supported series of monthly club trips with some silverware (silverish?) on offer for the more successful amongst our number just to add a little "edge" to proceedings with some, usually, friendly competition. So the last club meeting and the subsequent Newsletter was all about the anticipation of things to come.

We start with, a long list of waters suggested by the members from which we select, by totally democratic means, the six venues that will comprise our season's club trips, hopefully achieving an equitable selection that offers something to all those members who are likely to attend the outings and at the same time providing the opportunity to involve as many members as possible. Of slightly more difficulty is choosing the dates for the trips to suit as many diaries as possible and the only way we have managed to achieve that, in the past, is to publish a list of proposed dates and then invite comments? It usually works..................eventually! Of particular interest this year was the variety of waters that made up the long-list of twelve. Some of the old favourites obviously but there are four new waters suggested including three rivers which I have to say we have been guilty of ignoring in the past as far as our club trips are concerned. As usual we will be doing a fair amount of travelling regardless of which the final six waters are, but that is a piking way of life up here in the north-east so we are used to it. Of the long-listed venues we will be heading either north or south, five waters in Scotland or very nearly Scotland and the remainder in Yorkshire or a little bit beyond which means that our, usually effective car sharing arrangements, will once again be put to the test. Always an exciting time of year this, as I said, full of anticipation, especially when you add to the mix our annual trip to the Lakes which is now booked as well as mention of possibilities like the Lake of Menteith and others.

Of the July fishing, well the usual mixed bag of reports from our members who are off chasing all manner of quarry. The stand-out angler for the month though was undoubtedly Steve Sandiford who has been fishing early morning short sessions on one of the local rivers and has been enjoying impressive success.
Steve's Salmon

 A bit of an all-rounder our Steve, a new pb salmon of 17lb-8oz was definitely the high point but his other results include good trout, grayling,chub, and not one but two 4lb eels. The only thing missing is a barbel but he is working on it as far as I can understand. The damp Summer obviously of some benefit to those of us who have an interest in water of the running kind.
July also saw the fishing of our first two Summer League matches which were, I think, a little disappointing in terms of the fish caught. Our joint RO, Bruce Turnbull, has a slender lead in the competition at the mid-way
 point with everything to play for over the remaining rounds when a few more fish than we have see thus far would be welcomed by all concerned!

As for August, well more of the same as far as SENPAC is concerned I expect, hopefully we will resolve the discussion on our club trip venues and of course we will decide the winner of the Summer League. The August club meeting will be held on Tuesday 25th August 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper. If you want to join us for a chat then please do, you will be very welcome.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

June 2015 - Silly Season Well Underway

I think that it is fair to say that SENPAC's silly season has officially started.

 In common with a lot of the PAC Regions things go a bit quiet up here at RA 24 as the Summer proper kicks in, the holiday season gets under-way and the Region's members become embroiled in the various domestic pressures that are an inevitable part of building up the necessary account of brownie-points that will be drawn against once the Piking gets started again. That's not to say that we are not fishing because most of us are but perhaps not quite as " seriously" as we will be come October.

Speaking of which, what should have been one of the highlights of the SENPAC fishing in June turned out to be a disaster! The eagerly anticipated Golden Maggot Trophy match which we have fished over the last three years on what has been a reliable small local commercial, failed us miserably this time around. This is not a case of poor anglers making excuses honestly, the fish seem to have disappeared? It wasn't just our merry band who struggled, the results were just the same for all others present and a quick look at the catch return book confirmed that all is definitely not well. A bit of a disappointment all this and frankly something of a mystery. The fishery is a little remote, surrounded by trees and does not have any resident supervision so there was no shortage of suggestions from those present as to where the fish had gone. As you can no doubt imagine, all the usual culprits were on the list.
So we were faced with something of a farce when it eventually came to the weigh-in and it is definitely the first time, in my experience, that the universal reaction to the final whistle was "thank *?!; for that!! Last year's winning weight was something over 11lb's. This year's winning weight.............9 ounces, and our Newsletter editor made full use of the situation by featuring that winning bag on the front cover.

However it is what it is and so congratulations go to Dave Gardner, who, like the rest of those present was slightly bemused by the whole experience.
Other fish of note from June, well, Paul Proctor recorded the only Pike of the month when he met up with "Lumpy" on one of our local waters. Previously caught back in April of this year (see the April blog) by our RO Mike Bell, she seems to be managing to prosper despite the significant disfigurement that she has to endure. Hopefully we may hear more of her later in the year.
Paul Meets Lumpy
And there was a new pb reported by our other RO, Bruce Turnbull, fishing one of our urban lakes, with a really chunky 9lb-8oz bream. Mind you he was fishing for carp??
Looking forward to July, well our thoughts are now turning to the arrangements for the Region's Piking trips next season and no doubt there will be the usual vigorous debate about the venues and dates that will constitute our monthly trips. Before all that though we have the first two rounds of our Summer League matches to look forward to which will hopefully be more productive than our last match!
The next club meeting will be held at the Northumbrian Piper as usual on Tuesday 28th July 2015 which I suspect may be a fairly quiet affair bearing in mind the time of year. That said, you will be made very welcome if you choose to pay us a visit for a chat.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

May 2015 - Between a Pike and a Carp Place?

Regular readers of the SENPAC blog will sense something of a theme developing here. Having bemoaned the poor fishing in April in last month's missive and at the same time predicted an improvement in the coming month of May, what happens, the hoped for improvement fails to materialise for most of the SENPAC regulars, certainly for those that have made the switch from pike to carp and/or the commercials.We are experiencing a very slow start to the Summer fishing up here in the north, the interminable cold north-west wind keeping water temperatures low has certainly impacted on the fish activity, with spawning apparently delayed on all but the shallowest of our waters. On one of our local, shallow, municipal park lakes which has a good stock of carp and bream, the annual spectator sport of "watching the spawning" which is usually concluded by the end of May is only now starting to get underway.

So May has seen a re-run of the April conundrum here at SENPAC, with one or two of our members succumbing to the frustrations of not catching carp/silvers and heading further north with the pike gear and reaping the rewards. Our "fish for what you want" day saw both pike rods, carp rods and feeders employed by the modest number of members who turned out on a day which was best described as challenging. Bright sun and a very cold wind saw all concerned struggle, two very small roach providing full bragging rights on the day to our RO, Mike Bell. An opportunity that was not wasted by him!

Our Newsletter editor trying to bring a perspective to the results described the catch as "two maturing roach fry" which I think was getting close to sour-grapes as a result of his complete failure to catch anything on the day.He did however, manage to sum up the challenge for SENPAC members presented by the past month, fairly succinctly, with the choice of image for the Newsletter front cover ( with a lot of help from Brian Roberts wonderful pike fishing blog) describing the month as one for "PARP FISHING".

As I write this with June on the horizon, the forecasters are telling us that we can look forward to  four days of rain and strong winds following which we can expect it to become more settled and warmer. Let's hope they are right. We have our first match of the Summer on the 7th June 2015, The Golden Maggot Trophy and reports would seem to indicate that the normally prolific commercial that we use for the competition has not as yet woken up, so a few day of warmer weather would be welcome. And then of course a week later the rivers re-open and if nothing else that will make it feel more like Summer?

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 30th June 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper as usual, if you are a local piker or you would like to learn more about piking and fancy a chat why not come along. You would be made very welcome.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

April 2015.........Love It.........Hate It

The title of this month's Blog is taken directly from the cover of this month's Newsletter, our editor bemoaning the fact that he considers April to be a distinctly poor fishing month up here in the north, going as far as to describe it as a "fishing no-mans-land". Not everybody will agree with this view I'm sure and he makes the point himself that being out on the bankside somewhere in April, is in itself an enjoyable experience as the natural world re-awakens after the Winter.

Mind you, judging by the level of fishing activity amongst the regions members our Newsletter editor may have a point. Of those that have reported their results it was clear that there was a mix of decisions as to what the chosen quarry was to be. Some elected to continue their pike fishing others made an early switch to the carp and/or the commercials. Many others decided not to bother with either or thought their efforts were better spent sorting out the garden as the weather became more conducive.

We'll ignore the gardeners amongst our number and as far as I can tell from the reports received those that elected to continue their pike fishing did significantly better than those who made the switch to the carp or commercials. In these northerly climes it obviously takes that little bit longer for the water temperatures to notch upwards before worthwhile results can be expected by the boilie and maggot brigade I guess.

Highlights of the piking month were two post-spawning fish, a 15lb'er from a Scottish Loch for Dave Greally and a 14lb fish from what is a tough local water for our long-standing RO, Mike Bell. The slight downer on this capture being that the fish had a very un-sightly and in my experience very unusual growth on its upper jaw, promptly earning itself the nickname of "lumpy" from those present.
Mike Bell and "Lumpy"
As for the coming month, well we have a "fish for what you want" day out on a local water on the 17th May and our next region meeting on Tuesday 26th May 2015 at the usual venue, when we will be starting to pull together arrangements for both next seasons monthly piking trips as well as our annual four day jaunt to the Lake District. If you're interested why not call in for a chat, it would be good to see you.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

March 2015 - A Reality Check

A SENPAC March is usually all about the really serious Pikers amongst our number and their end of season efforts to locate those big fish which are the ultimate prize, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we hanker after. However, this SENPAC March we have had to endure a massive reality check when many of our members found out that they had to come to terms with the news of the sudden and premature passing of a friend and fellow Piking enthusiast Shane Patterson. 

Those of us at SENPAC that have come to know Shane over the years have, enjoyed his company, reflected in his enthusiasm, admired his total commitment to the PAC and more recently the Angling Trust and applauded his charitable works. Someone said that only the good die young and cliché or not that is most certainly the case where Shane is concerned.

SENPAC RO Mike Bell provided a moving tribute to his long term friend and fellow PAC RO of the Teeside and Darlington Region for inclusion in our April Newsletter, the sentiments of which were undoubtedly shared by all at SENPAC. A very sad day.

Of the Piking last month well, nothing much to celebrate I’m afraid. Four of our number represented SENPAC on the PAC Lake of Menteith visit and all found the going a little tough. Bruce Turnbull managed a couple of jacks, Mike Bell and Dave Gardner one each, Dennis Fearon failed to find a fish. Dave however did have a busy day with the lure gear attracting large rainbow trout after large rainbow trout, we stopped counting at eleven! This was another Menteith event where the overall results followed what has now become a recognisable pattern, hundreds of small fish with a very modest number of upper doubles and twenties. The Pike stock profile has undoubtedly changed over recent years. Still a great day out though with good friends.
Best SENPAC fish of the month went to Bruce Turnbull with a nice 17lb fish from north of the border however the main highlight of the month was the concluding event of the season for the SENPAC Club Trip Championship. Seven region members took part and fourteen fish were caught which by recent standards was an outstanding result. A virtuoso performance on the day by Paul Proctor saw him take the championship with the eventual winner of the Biggest Fish trophy being Peter Armstrong. I think the general view amongst the SENPAC regulars was that this final event was by far the most enjoyable of the season both from a social and fishing point of view. The season more generally has not been the most productive and I guess we will spend the Summer club meetings chewing over what we should do next season to try and improve on our results.

 And speaking of the Summer, plans are coming together for our Summer League matches with a draft list of dates and venues published in the latest Newsletter as we begin to look forward to returning to the commercials and some of us renew the struggle of tying size 16’s to invisible rigs and the annual pole versus waggler debate begins all over again.

Our April meeting will take place on Tuesday 28th at the Northumbrian Piper as usual.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

February 2015 - Pictures Rather Than Pike?

What was abundantly clear from the month past was that most SENPAC members who spent time on the bankside were not disturbed by the fish and most seemed to spend their time taking photographs instead ! I guess that we are fortunate up here in the north in that much of our fishing is done in some wonderful surroundings, which provide innumerable opportunities for great images, particularly when the climatic conditions provide a little drama to the location. Our Newsletter editor was spoilt for choice this month.That said we are a region of the Pike Anglers Club, not a photographic society. It would be nice to have a little less of our time available for photography when we are behind the rods.
The general consensus amongst our members seems to be that the season so far has been one of the hardest for a number of years. With only a month to go, all concerned are hoping that there is a significant upturn in results as we head for our favourite swims which have served us well as the fish begin to gather for their annual nuptials. Over the years SENPAC members past and present have enjoyed significant success in the March rush at the end of the season, both on our regular waters as well as on events such as the PAC visits to Lake of Menteith and the like. For those of our number who will be heading north for this year's visit to "The Lake" the memory of ex-SENPAC member Lyn Baker's fantastic fish and the story of her day back in 2007 will still burn bright in the memory.

As for February, well our club outing produced a few small fish, Paul Proctor doing best with three modest fish which moves him to the head of the competition table with only one more trip to come. Some of the others took the opportunity for a rest!
Paul Proctor Walks on Water
Chris Graham, Un-Disturbed By The Fish
Best fish of the month was a 12lb'er which fell to the rods of Dave Greally which rather illustrates the nature of the month past and there was very little else to talk about at the last club meeting.
Looking forward to March, well in addition to the trip to Menteith, our club outing will see our number once again heading to south-west Scotland the outcome of which will decide our Club Trip Championship which will no doubt add a little "edge" to the event.

Our March club meeting will take place on Tuesday 31st March 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper, all very welcome. And to finish I will leave you with one of those photographs that I spoke about at the start of this. Tight lines to all.
Dodging The Ice Flows

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

January 2015 - and the winner is................again

Having reported in last month's blog how quiet things were on the SENPAC fishing front, it got worse in January.
People were out and about throughout the month, and although the weather did get in the way a little, the reports of fish caught were almost non-existent. I can't remember such a dismal spell. Fortunately we did have something to celebrate last month here at SENPAC, our annual presentation of awards and slideshow review of the 2013/2014 year, which took place on Saturday 31st January 2015. Highlights of the night (there were two actually) were the usual piss-take centred upon the Pike Angler of the Year trophy which this year was deservedly won by Peter Armstrong as featured on the cover of our latest Newsletter and the presentation of a special award to our RO, Mike Bell, to mark 15 years in that post. Our congratulations go to both.

Mike Bell, long serving RO for SENPAC
 It is worth noting that the trophy presented to Mike consisted of one of Mark Houghton's wonderful hand-crafted lures suitably mounted ( Mark was founder of SENPAC and Mike took over from him as RO in 1999.

What of our other trophy winners, well, Steve Sandiford took the "Biggest on a Lure" trophy which has become something of an annual event! Dave Greally won the "Biggest on a Club Trip" and the "Club Trip Championship" and daughter Faye was our "Junior Angler of the Year". Bruce Turnbull took the "Biggest Fish of the Year" and completely appropriately the members voted for Mike Bell for our Stuart Mordue Trophy for his contribution to the Region.
The photographer said smile.........?
Of the fishing, well, our January club trip was planned for Dumfries and Galloway and we were met with floods and frozen margins resulting in a quick u-turn back south of the border with a resulting delay to proceedings. Three modest fish were caught, two fell to the rods of Dave Greally and one to Pat Hamilton and just so that we can remind ourselves that our principal interest is in catching pike, I include this........................
Dave Greally showing us how to do it........again!

Looking forward to February and no doubt our members will be hoping for a better return for the effort than we saw in January. We are heading to south-west Scotland again for our club trip on Sunday 15th February 2015, snow, ice and floods permitting and our club meeting will be on Tuesday 24th February 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper as usual.

And to close this month's blog I will leave you with a personal highlight of last month..............................

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

December 2014 - It Can Only Get Better

With the Christmas/New Year celebrations safely out of the way as I sit down to catch-up with the SENPAC Blog, the unavoidable retrospective on 2014 immediately came to mind and I am pleased to say just as immediately left again when it occurred to me that if any of our readers wanted to know how SENPAC and its members faired during 2014 they only had to scroll down! See below as they say.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Looking rearwards just as far as December and I would have to say that it was a very quiet month for RA 24 as far as the fishing was concerned, despite some completely suitable weather conditions and despite the fact that many of our number made full use of the increased opportunities offered by the seasonal holiday to get out on the water, very few fish were reported.
Peter's Reward For Sitting Still

Our much anticipated club trip to the Lincolnshire drains proved to be very disappointing with only one of the seven hopefuls that made the journey able to celebrate with a fish. Peter Armstrong was the lucky (skillfull?) angler who had adopted the tactic of "pick a swim and wait for the fish to arrive" whilst many of the rest of us walked miles (exaggeration) in every direction in search of a fish, which I suspect, made his success even more satisfying and the drive home even longer for the rest of us.
A Christmas Present For Bruce
Best pike reported during December in what was otherwise a very low key affair was a nice fish of 15lb.-8oz. taken by Bruce Turnbull on a trip to South-West Scotland on what was an absolute classic of a day, deep frost, high pressure, not a cloud in the sky from sunrise to sunset, the sort of day when being there is all that really matters. Perfect.
A Perfect Day

And what of January, well this is a busy month for SENPAC. Our club trip comes up first and we are heading to South West Scotland again, this time to one of the waters that is nearer to Newcastle than most and which produced a very nice fish for one of our number on our visit last year. We live in hope!

Next there is our Annual General Meeting which will take place on Tuesday 27th January 2015 at the Northumbrian Piper. Then, at the same venue, our annual presentation of awards night on Saturday 31st January 2015 which is the social highlight of our calendar when friends and families join in the fun, with slideshow review of the year past, buffet, raffle and of course the presentation of awards culminating in the naming of our Pike Angler of the Year. So a bit to look forward to and hopefully a more productive month on the fishing front.

As I said at the start, "it can only get better."