Close season debate rages

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The fishing season on fenland drains and rivers draws to a close on Friday, writes Ken Wade.

With our local waters in such fine form many I am sure will be very disappointed to note that yet again a call for the close season on waters right across the country has been dismissed.

There are several valid reasons why we should still enforce a no fishing policy from March 14 until June 16 each year, but the idea that it gives fish a period to spawn in peace with no fishing or bank-side activity is in many eyes a complete nonsense.

Fish are fish no matter where they live and if anglers are allowed to participate in their chosen hobby on stillwaters right across the country year round then why not on natural venues? Even anglers are split on the question of year-round fishing with no close season so I doubt it will happen in the foreseeable future.

The last match of the season run by Bob Fitzjohn on the Old Nene at March proved without doubt that this tiny river is something special, perhaps one of the top winter venues in the country. We all call it a winter series but in fact on Sunday the event was fished in summer-like conditions reflected in the massive weights taken, particularly from the hot pegs above the By-Pass Bridge.

Match winner Simon Nickless made a 250 mile round trip to fish but it was well worth it as he bagged a cracking 48lb 15oz net of fish to top the impressive line up of anglers. Simon drew peg 45 towards the end of the section and caught four tench, five good skimmers and rudd to 3lb on the pole fishing pinkie over a bed of casters.

Runner-up was Huntingdon rod Graham Welton, the RAF man also found the tench and rudd willing to feed, Graham caught on the pole fished down the middle on a chopped worm and caster approach for 39lb 10oz. Third was Ben Jackson on 37lb 2oz followed by Steve Joy 30lb 8oz. With 18lb the lowest section winning weight, that’s a fitting way to end the season for sure.

Quite a few of our local clubs ended the season early, no doubt preparing for the better weather and a chance to fish our local stillwaters. The Twenty Foot Drain has not been fished that much since the turn of the year yet a small club from the Peterborough area, Allsorts AC, have been regulars.

On Sunday they fished their final match of the season, no big weights this time but still some consistent sport.

Top rod was Steve Stones on 6lb 5oz, Steve caught small roach and perch on the pole with pinkie. Paul Dotchin was runner-up with 6lb 1oz followed by Pete Molesworth 5lb 14oz, a net of perch taken close on worm.

The Tydd Gote open match on Wednesday did not fish as well as expected, top rod with a net of small roach taken on the pole with pinkie was Don Green on 4lb 6oz. Andy Greenwood 4lb 5 ½ oz, Mick Asker 4lb 4oz.

Kingfisher Lake on the Townsend Fishery complex saw some improved catches and as spring seems to have arrived I think we can expect to see even better weights over the next few weeks. Top rod from peg one was Rickie James, he fished a groundbait feeder to the island with red maggot on the hook, netting 44lb 8oz. Venue regular Steve Sharpe second with 32lb 4oz, Ricky Young 27lb 12oz.

The Forty Foot Drain is another fenland water that has not been fished that much by local anglers but Ramsey rod Paul Kilby on a midweek visit caught 18 tench on the worm and caster tactics, several fish weighing close to 5lb.