Competitors prepare for Angling Trust Winter League Final at March and Benwick

Shaun O Brien with a good pike taken from the North Level Drain
Shaun O Brien with a good pike taken from the North Level Drain

Over the past few weeks we have had some very strange weather patterns and after a week of frosts, bitterly cold winds and even a few flakes of snow it’s no wonder the fishing right across the Fens has not been at its best, writes Ken Wade.

However anglers from across the country have been heading our way in preparation for the huge Angling Trust Winter League Final which will take place in just over a week’s time.

The Old Nene at March and Benwick will be used, along with the Twenty Foot Drain at March, and there is also expected to be a section or even two on Factory Bank on the outskirts of Ramsey.

Last weekend Godmanchester tackle dealer Stan Binge ran a practice match on the venues for those involved and saw some huge nets of roach recorded from the March Twenty Foot Drain.

Match winner Steve Gent put a fine 31lb 13oz net to the scales from the hot pegs between the bridges, all roach taken on the pole with pinkie and maggot over groundbait.

On the opposite bank was runner-up Michel Buckwalder, who fished similar tactics to the winner but was just short with 26lb 5oz.

Third place went to England star Steve Hemmingray on 25lb 11oz.

This coming Sunday March match organiser, Bob Fitzjohn, will be running an open match on the Old Nene.On the last day anglers fishing the final will be allowed to practice so tickets will be at a premium.

If you fancy taking on some of the best in the country I would give Bob a call right away, you can contact him on 07970 673439.

Full result: S Gent, Sensas North West, 31lb 13oz; 2 M Buckwalder, Dorking, 26lb 5oz; 3 S Hemmingray, Drennan, 25lb 11oz; 4 D Massey, 25lb 5oz; 5 J Roberts 23lb 15oz; 6 B Sharratt, 23lb 3oz.

With two local sides fishing the big final, Sensas Mark One based in Wisbech and Stanjay Tackle, both teams will be keen to know the form of the other half of the final which is going to be fished at Decoy Lakes, Coates.

I picked up these match results from the weekend’s matches on the venue which noted John Bates from Mark One making the frame in the Tony Evans winter league.

It’s been tough going on all our stillwaters right across the area, as you would expect at this time of year and Decoy has been no exception.

I have a feeling it will be won or lost at Decoy, so hopefully our local lads will put the practice in and get it right on the day.

Decoy Lakes (Sat), Yew, Beastie & Horseshoe. Yew: 1 D Wynn, 119lb 10oz; 2 M Wainwright, 97lb 5oz; 3 T Evans, 65lb 9oz; Beastie: 1 A Henry, 17lb 7oz; 2 D Lewis, 13lb 5oz. Horseshoe: 1 S Clark, 32lb 11oz; 2 N Haynes, 15lb 9oz.

Decoy Lakes (Sun), Oak, Damson, Lou’s: 1 J Robinson, 99-7-0; 2 M Balziel 94-3-0; 3 J Minter, 73-12-0; Tony Evans Winter League (Sun). Decoy Lakes: 1 J Taylor 149lb 13oz; 2 B Gibbons, 77lb 1oz; 3 S Freeman, 73lb 10oz; 4 J Bates, Sensas Mark One, 70lb 8oz; 5 J Whincup, Frenzee, 49lb 13oz.

Over at Rookery Waters it was Mark Pollard once again taking the honours on the Magpie Pool.

Drawn on peg 1 Mark fished maggot and bread dobbing around his swim to finish with a very respectable 59lb 3oz.

Runner-up was March rod Tony McGregor, who had 29lb 8oz from peg 35, followed by Rob Humphreys on 20lb 9oz.

Pike anglers have found it tough going as well since the turn of the year, but one water well worth a visit is the North Level Drain, run by Tydd Gote AC. In a recent session on the venue Shaun O’Brien caught three double figure fish in a short time, the best weighing in at 16lb.