Big freeze still bites – but not too many fish

YET another weekend has past us by with very little fishing to be had right across The Fens.

I do not think I can ever remember such bitterly cold weather at this time of year, certainly not enough to stop us all going fishing.

Thankfully we did get a little respite on Sunday but if we are to believe forecasters the frost and possibly even snow are set to return as early as Thursday of this week. So I can foresee very few matches once again taking place as the ice gets ever thicker right across the east of the country.

Ramsey AS did manage to get their open match fished but even on this one the venue had to be split between the Old Nene and Factory Bank. Ice breaking was the order of the day and in fact I hear it was up to five inches thick on the Ramsey St Mary’s section taking anglers up to an hour to make a swim through the ice.

Quite amazingly it did fish well with both venues producing plenty of small fish action. Top rod was Paul Kilby he drew end peg downstream on Factory Bank, he caught well on pinkie and even had a few better samples late on in the match fishing hemp seed to weight in 8lb 9oz. Runner-up on the St Mary’s section was John Hazelden who managed to break a decent hole in the ice and caught small roach for 7lb 15oz. Trevor Oakman came in third putting 7lb 4½ oz to the scales.

Townsend Lakes

With just about every stillwater across the Midlands and East Anglia frozen word spread around that Townsend Lakes at Upwell were prepared to let anglers break the ice and fish a match.

There was a good turnout and should be even better this coming weekend as I fear very little is going to change, we would need a mini heat-wave to clear some waters.

Top rod from fancied peg 15 was Tom Wilson, who fished maggot down the middle to record 28lb 8oz. Colin Varney came in second, not too far behind with 25lb 1oz followed by Stuart Redman with 20lb 1oz. The match was fished on the Cuckoo Pool. You will need to ring Colin Begbie at the fishery to ensure the match will take place this weekend and indeed to get booked in as they will be expecting good numbers.

Tydd Gote AC

Many of our local clubs have not been able to fulfil their club fixtures for several weeks now, but I have heard that Tydd Gote AC are hoping to run a couple of events this Sunday including the Winter League and also the Pike Angling Trust Qualifier. Draw for the pike match is at Clough Treatment Works at 8.15am with the winter league draw a little later at 9am. As the weather is expected to take a turn for the worse this coming weekend you would be well advised to call match organiser Dave Parlett to confirm your ticket or to ensure the match is going to take place.

I know many of our local clubs fish Decoy Lakes regularly but the fishery does not allow ice breaking and to be fair even if it did some of the lakes would take hours of back-breaking work to free them up before we could wet a line.

I have been told its much the same at the likes of Buttonhole, Dents at Hilgay, Willowcroft, Fields End Water, Doddington, in fact just about every fishery so if the sun does come out, you will still need to contact the fishery before you set off just to make sure they are open.

Our Fen drains frozen over always look nice but there is danger there and ice breaking is not recommended unless you are with someone else and you are well equipped for the job. As I have said many times before it’s so easy to slip in to the icy cold water but very difficult indeed to get out!

March Open

I have known a March Open on the Old Nene to be cancelled but they have been few and far between but this coming weekend’s match could be in danger of succumbing to the weather.

March organiser Bob Fitzjohn will do everything he can to ensure it goes ahead but again you need to give him a call to see how we stand towards the end of the week. Knowing the hardy souls that just love to fish the Old Nene in the winter I have a feeling this one is almost certain to go ahead. You can contact Bob on 07970 673439 to get all the latest information.

Angling Times

Final round of the East Midlands Angling Times Team Championship match was postponed at the weekend and is now scheduled to be fished in the New Year, on 9th January. We can only hope that by then the worst of the wintery weather is behind us and we can finish off what has been a very difficult and at times even controversial league this year.