A Rollercoaster 2023!

Well what a crazy year it’s been! It’s certainly had its highs and lows, but I’m still here, livin’ the dream, soldiering on against the odds, staying strong with the Force, life’s like a box of chocolates and next year we’ll be millionaires, Rodney!

After getting Covid way back in March I was in and out of waiting rooms with arms like a pin cushion and trying to recover. Turns out I’d had a breakdown, combined with irregular breathing, anxiety and thyroid disease, so not too good a combo. 

I was determined to keep fishing, but getting to and from pegs was a struggle and I know some people have seen me in a right mess. A huge thanks to all the kind people who’ve stopped and helped me in various ways. I owe you all a pint or two for sure. Please tap me up for one if you see me!! 

I’m now on tabs for life and physically in a much better place. Just the mental side to fix, but I’m probably a lost cause with that! I’m forever indebted to family, fishing and friends for keeping me focused and moving in the right direction. 

I still struggle to comprehend how I made three Finals when at times I couldn’t lift my keepnets out or string a sentence together. I knew I could fish ok once I was sat down, but the processes before and after were tough. Getting in the RiverFest Final was a huge boost to my confidence, though, and the start of a truly great year’s fishing. Making the Fisho and Match This Finals was a triple whammy I never dreamt possible. 

By the time the Thames Festival came around I was feeling fitter, which was a huge relief. I was over the moon to come runner up in that event and with a match I’ll never forget on Day 1 catching so many bream, then two great days on the roach. The RiverFest Final on the Trent was also another fantastic experience, then runner-up on the Stratford Classic tells me I really should do more river fishing next year. 

I wasn’t able to coach quite so much in 2023 and I know I haven’t been the easiest person to get in touch with at times. I’m just a one-man-band and it can all get a bit overwhelming at times. But the sessions I’ve ran have been lovely and I always meet some fantastic people, many of which have become good friends. 

I’d like to think I’m the kind of guy who can be friends with anyone, especially once egos and testosterone are put aside. If someone chooses not to, that’s life and you move on, but my doors always open… So, if you’re a lurker, please don’t be a hater. Maybe give me a like or say well done once in a while and you’ll see how nice I can be, ha ha! 

My YouTube channel has really boomed and reaching over 25,000 subscribers was amazing. I’m also very proud of my Channel Members area with such a friendly and loyal following. The whole channel’s growing very nicely and I love coming up with new content. I won’t ever churn things out for the sake of it and hope my passion and enthusiasm shines through. 

I have to hold my hand up and say this year it’s been hard to keep on top of all my messages with everything that’s been going on. I get them via so many different directions and it’s easy to let one or two slip. It’s lovely to have people contact me, though, so it’s not something I ever want to deter. I’ve always prided myself in having the courtesy to reply, even if it’s just a brief message, so next year I want to stay on top of that. If you’ve messaged me and not had a reply, please ping me again. It might take a few days, but I’d never deliberately ignore anyone, especially if you’ve been nice and polite! 

Of course, I have to mention my wonderful family. They have been so supportive when I’ve needed it the most. Having them sat behind me at FishOMania was a particularly special day, even though the weather was pants. LOVE them all to bits! 

I must also say a BIG thanks to Matrix and Sonubaits for their continued support as well. Having such great bait and tackle is a privilege I’ll never take for granted. I’d like to think their investment in me is more than worth it. Still no sign of a Cadbury’s deal on the horizon though… 

Being self employed it’s taken several years of hard work and determination to finally feel like I’m making ends meet. I’ll definitely never ever be rich, but I thoroughly enjoy what I do and hope I’m making a difference, no matter how big or small that is. 

Next year I’m going to try my best to get back in a big Final or two, but it’s not all about the winning. My main drive is to keep enjoying my fishing, continue having good experiences with good people and keep doing what I do to the very best of my ability. If I can do that and stay healthy I’ll be a very happy man. 

So, that’s a rollercoaster year pretty much summed up. To all the kind, happy and smiling people out there, I wish you good health and a fab 2024. 

To infinity and beyond!

2023 Highlights:
  • FishOMania Finalist
  • Maver Match This Finalist
  • Riverfest Finalist
  • On The Flyer Silverfish Finalist
  • Angling Trust Silverfish Finalist
  • White Acres Winter Festival Top 10
  • Tunnel Barn Daiwa Masters Top 10
  • UK Champs Top 10
  • Tunnel Barn Winter League Champions
  • Thames Festival Runner Up
  • Stratford Classic Runner Up
  • 25,000 Channel Subscribers
  • Still alive and kicking!
New Year Resolutions:
  • Get back in a major Final (or two)
  • Win a chuffin’ Final (or two!) 
  • More filming days
  • Discover new venues 
  • More fishing with friends 
  • More rivers and canals
  • More family days
  • Draw more flyers!
  • Catch less sticks!
  • Get sponsored by Cadbury’s 
  • Clean my seatbox(!) 
  • Live more and worry less 
  • Keep on smiling!

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