2023 Yearly Review

In last years review I wrote ‘What a year! I’m not really sure how I’ll better it but I’m sure I’ll have plenty of laughs (and breakfasts) trying’ and to be honest I really didn’t think I’d be able to top it but an incredible 12 months has done just that!

So here are the highlights…….


2023 has been fantastic on so many levels for me, admittedly I’ve fished rather a lot of matches but I’ve loved every minute of it including fishing new venues and stepping outside of my comfort zone.

The year got off to a slow start with a couple of blanks and only one pick up in January but a golden peg win at Summerhayes early in February made up for it!

I’ve been loving my silvers fishing and spending loads of time at three of my favourite venues, Summerhayes, Acorn and Revels. Pete at Summerhayes started running some silvers opens on Saturdays and with matches at Acorn and taking annual leave days to fish Revels on Tuesdays, I was doing more silvers fishing than ever!

At one of Pete’s Saturday matches on Sellicks I drew peg 15 and had an awesome day catching big skimmers, roach, crucians and an eel for my best ever silvers weight at Summerhayes with 45lb 7oz which eclipsed my previous best of 26lb 7oz which had stood for years. There were two other 40lb+ weights on the day as well from Alex Kerr and Roy Hughes.

The silvers weights at Acorn were nothing short of incredible thanks to some lovely big tench with fish of 5-6lb commonplace and Tom Thick weighed one in a match of 7lb 12oz! I had some amazing days with 73lb 14oz my best weight of silvers.

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Part of my 73lb 14oz of silvers (and greens)

I managed to get down to Revels a fair bit and had some lovely days with silvers weights up to 19lb 6oz from Main, Dead Tree and Canal (still haven’t managed to get on Middle lake though!).

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19lb 6oz of skimmers, roach and perch from peg 63 on Canal lake at Revels

The Stoke river matches on the Parrett kick off with the Evening Cup, I drew peg 5 which is normally a steady peg but I had four chub, an eel plus a few other fish for 6lb 13oz and managed to win the trophy for the second year running. The Memorial Shield is decided on the best five results from the six river matches and it’s a trophy I’d dearly love to win, coming close on a couple of occasions. Going into the final match I was leading but needed to beat the previous years winner, Nick Payne, to get my name on the trophy. Alas I drew peg 5 again and struggled while Nick continued his great form on the river to win the match with several chub from peg 8 and retain the shield.

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I had 6lb 13oz to win the Evening Cup again

There was also a new trophy for this season, The Silvers Bowl which was decided over the six match lake series and I managed to be the first name engraved on it with Nick close behind in second place.

We fished Ruthie’s Cup at Hebditch’s pond over three Wednesdays, raising a tidy sum for Stoke’s chosen charity, Yeovil Oncology unit, along the way. I finished third in the league and also won one of the rounds from peg 4 with a new pb weight of 98lb 11oz although I was a but gutted not to get my first ton weight on the pond.

In total the club raised an amazing £4000 for the charity, I contributed £500 from the Nugget-O-Meter which is my little tribute to my Mum and Dad so thanks to everybody who got involved during the year.

After fishing Acorn Fishery for the first time last year in the Charlie Barnes memorial match when I actually came second and loved it, I was looking forward to fishing it again. I drew a peg I’ve always wanted to fish, peg 38 with a certain Des Shipp on 36 so no pressure then! I’ve had a lovely day catching 22 tench and 4 skimmers for 51lb 9oz but that was only good enough for second place behind Dave Manning with 57lb 5oz.

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I weighed 51lb 9oz of tench and skimmers for second place

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Me with winner Dave Manning (middle) and third placed Eddie Wynne

I always try and do something a bit out of my comfort zone and in previous years have entered Fish O Mania and Club Angler of the Year qualifiers at Todber Manor and an Angling Trust Canal Pairs qualifier on the Taunton & Bridgwater canal. In all honesty, although I’ve enjoyed the buzz of fishing some bigger matches, I’ve really struggled against better anglers who know the venues and are very good at the methods required.

So this year I decided to have a go at some of the various silvers qualifiers, I was still expecting to get a spanking but at least I’d be more familiar with the type of fishing. First up was a Fish South match at Ivy House, a venue I’ve never fished before. There were stars everywhere but I drew a flier on Willow lake and had a great day catching skimmers and roach to weigh 23lb 11oz which was second on the day behind Paul Holland who had 30lb 1oz. The other lake was won by Callum Dicks with Des Shipp second.

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I finished second with 23lb 11oz of skimmers and roach

Being brutally honest, it was a chance as I lost a few fish and with hindsight I’d have done things a little differently but a nice pick up against some top anglers, I’ll take that!

Nick and me headed to White Springs in Wales for another attempt at qualifying and despite the 2.5 hour drive there in horrific conditions, it was actually a really nice day and I finished third on the Pleasure lake with 42lb 9oz of skimmers, chub, ide, roach and perch but was a long way off the 65lb needed to qualify, brilliant silvers fishing. Nick was third on Match lake with 23lb 15oz so we both picked up and really enjoyed it.

The third attempt of the year was an Angling Trust Zerofit qualifier at Moorlands Farm, another new venue for me. I drew a decent area but with Andy Power next door on the peg that had won the day before, a definite spanking was on the cards. I didn’t disgrace myself with 5lb 7oz but Andy qualified with 10lb+ and with Sean Ashby winning the match with 11lb and qualifying and Cameron Hughes in third place it gives you an idea of the standard of angler fishing. Saying that, I pulled out of two half decent skimmers, had a hybrid come off at the net and near the end lost a decent fish that may have been a perch, so maybe half a chance?

I also fished the Ilminster Summer League which was six matches split over Dillington and Coombe lakes with mixed results. The stand out match for me was round two at Dillington when I had a red letter day on peg 2 catching 16 skimmers, a carp, a chub, an eel plus bits and bobs for 34lb 13oz, a win and a new pb match weight.

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My best day at Dillington yet

One of my favourite matches of the year that I have to mention was the Ilminster v Stoke interclub fixture, I was at Dillington and drew peg 18, after catching a few fish on the pole, I switched to the feeder and caught 8 big skimmers and a decent hybrid for 20lb 13oz which was first on the lake and third overall. A really enjoyable match doing something I rarely do these days (oh and Ilminster retained the trophy!).

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I really enjoyed fishing the feeder for a change

My yearly winnings total was £3248 which has beaten last years by over £900 and topping that will take some doing, I fished 112 matches which is more than two a week and I’m not sure I can actually fit anymore in (unless I win the lottery!).

I was also determined to get back to Thailand this year and booked into a venue that I’d read a lot about and watched numerous videos on, Jurassic Mountain in Cha-am, it looked amazing and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. The resort and scenery were stunning, I met some lovely people and caught some massive fish including a 194lb arapaima and Scarface, the biggest Siamese carp in the lake at 180lb and a new pb for me.

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Arapaima Jamie 5 28.8.23

194lb arapaima

New Venues
Ivy House
Lodden Lakes
White Springs
Moorlands Farm
Jurassic Mountain

I still love doing the blog but at times I’ve struggled to keep up with the posts which is purely down to the volume of matches I’ve fished and I do feel like I’ve rushed some of them out at times. Another consequence is that I just haven’t had the time to do many reviews, interviews or random ramblings! As always, I’m open to constructive criticism so please get in touch with suggestions or feedback.

The blog continues to be supported by Peejay Tackle which I’m very grateful for and I’m still immensely proud to be associated with Bait-Tech, and I’m looking forward to reviewing the new products for 2024.

So here are the stats (with how they compare to last year in brackets),

Matches won – 7 (-2)
Silvers wins – 24 (+5)
Winnings – £3248 (+£928)
Golden peg wins – 2 (+1)

Matches fished – 112
Number of pick ups – 69 (+10)
Success rate – 62%

New pb match weights
Dillington – 34lb 13oz
Summerhayes (silvers) – 45lb 7oz
Acorn Fishery (silvers) – 73lb 14oz
Hebditch’s Pond – 98lb 11oz

So what’s next?

First and foremost I just want to continue to enjoy my fishing and for me I do that by going with a lovely bunch of people to different venues and big part of that is the ritual meeting for breakfast, long may it last!

I’ve got two more silverfish qualifiers at White Springs and Ivy House early in 2024 which I’m looking forward to and I’ll definitely be trying again to qualify next winter.

I’m also hoping to go back to Jurassic and really want to try the new saltwater lake and have another go on the species lake to see if I can catch some different weird and wonderful fish.


Posted by Jamie Rich

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