I DO not think I can recall such a cold spell of weather at this time of year and its been so bad that the sport of angling has all but ground to a standstill.
I was out at the weekend and met quite a few anglers touring around looking for just a small piece of clear water that had not been frozen over. Most gave it up as a bad job and, like me, will be hoping for at least a slight thaw in conditions before we get ready to venture out again this coming weekend.
Just about every match in the country was called off, most because of frozen venues while others took a realistic view of the overall conditions on the roads as well and decided it was not worth the risk of anglers driving early mornings to the venue then having to drive home with the roads starting to freeze again.
However, I did find a match or two to report on. I got a call from Colin Begbie over at Townsend Lakes to say that he would be running an open match on his Townsend Lakes fishery if anyone was interested. Unfortunately it was only local anglers who turned up to break ice and have a go.
Quite amazingly the carp did feed despite the ice breaking activity, Andy Adams taking the top spot with a very respectable 33lb 4oz. Andy drew peg 27 and fished soft pellet down the middle in the deeper water taking carp to 2lb. Runner-up was Steve Pell who caught small crucians all day on the pole with maggot for 20lb 2oz. March rod Pete Carter completed the frame with 19lb 4oz taken on maggot although he did have a few better samples on sweetcorn.
By far the biggest match, in fact the only other match I found, was the practice match for this weekend’s final round of the Angling Times Team Championship. Organisers decided to split the match over three venues, Ramsey Narrows, The Old Nene at Benwick and Whittlesey Dyke in the hope of finding a few fish as to put everyone in a line on just one of the three venues would have seen half the field either blanking or not being able to fish as the ice was thick in places. Thankfully a few of the brave souls that mustered up enough enthusiasm for a day’s sport on a bitterly cold day did see lots of fish taken with the Whittlesey Dyke producing some very good weights indeed.
That was where match winner Brian Gibson was drawn, on the Dyke at the top end on the disabled pegs. Right from the off he was into fish with roach after roach taking his pinkie hook bait while others around him caught but quite frankly were still struggling for bites.
Fishing the whip with a reasonably large rig saw him race ahead of the chasing pack and when he switched to the long pole further across and found skimmers willing to feed that was really the end of the story, Brian finished well clear putting a very impressive 12lb 8oz to the scales.
Runner-up just a few pegs away was Rob Hewison, who had to wait quite some time before the fish in his swim decided to feed, the action came too late for him to make any headway against the match winner but second place on the day with 8lb 13 oz was still a good result. Neil Adcock came in third on 8lb 1oz again a mix of roach and skimmers.
Will we get to fish the final round of the league this coming weekend? I think the match organisers are going to make every effort to get it on the venues used last Sunday but in reality its all down to the weather. Just a slight easing of the cold conditions would help, a thaw would be better but the prospects do not look that good.
You would be well advised to contact your team captain later in the week to see if a decision has been made as to whether the match will go ahead or be postponed to a later date.
Finally a word of warming – I saw anglers breaking ice at the weekend and I suspect we will be doing the same this weekend as well, but if you have not got the right equipment and are not in a group of anglers give it a miss, it really is not worth the effort. I did hear of a couple of anglers whoslipped and fell in on Sunday. It may look funny but my goodness it is extremely dangerous and a spot of fishing is just not worth the risk.