After a bitterly disappointing end to the Angling Trust Winter League which saw local team Sensas Mark One bow out at the semi-final stage you would have expected them to be a little despondent.
But they picked themselves up and decided to practice hard for the UK Sensas Challenge two day final which took place at the weekend on Barston Lakes and Packington Fishery. Neither of the waters had been in great form but several lengthy practice sessions saw Mark One full of confidence.
On day one they more than held their own with Rob Hewison taking a section win at Barston with 39lb 4oz. They were up against the best teams in the country and with the likes of Daiwa Dorking, Ultimate Barnsley and the two international sides of England and France breathing down their necks day two was always going to be tough. Yet they kept their nerve, captain John Bates netting 5lb 12oz for a section win at Packington which saw them on their way to the runner-up spot overall, a fantastic achievement which now sees them travelling down to Marseille later in the year for the Grand Sensas Challenge Final against 60 other teams.
No-one would have expected them to even make the top ten in the final, especially with bloodworm and joker fishing the main approach, but if they can beat the cream of England then why not.
Once again anglers gave it a miss at the weekend with attendances well down from this time last year.
The last Tydd Gote Wednesday match of the season was held at French Drove and once again they found fish willing to feed before the cold weather returned. Top rod was Emneth Tackle Dealer Mick Asker, he fished the pole with pinkie to take an all roach catch of 10lb 3oz. Mel Saggers came in second on 9lb 10oz followed by Sammy McSpadden 9lb 1oz.
Buttonhole Fishery continues to produce the goods despite the return of some very cold winds, a cracking 100lb 2oz net of carp taken by fishery boss Richard Button was more than enough to secure a match win on his own water. Fishing the waggler with bread punch from peg 20 Richard took carp going close to double figures. Runner-up was Les Barry, 74lb followed by Stephen English on 53lb 3oz.
Well worth a visit right now is Townsend Lakes, on Sunday the Cuckoo Pool was used for the open match which saw Steve Sharp taking the honours with a level 66lb. Colin Begbie second 56lb 12oz, Ashley Kinsey 53lb 14oz.
This time last year the country was basking in 20 degrees-plus and fisheries right across the area were reporting lots of anglers catching really well. This year is a completely different story with very few venturing out.
Thankfully the fishing on stillwaters has not been that bad, certainly the leading weights have been encouraging so once the sun comes out we could well be in for some cracking action. Right now those fishing pellet or red maggot at full depth have had the most success, usually on a long pole line or even a waggler as the fish have yet to show in the margins. Keep at it though sport just has to improve any time now.
The date for the Downham Market Angling Club AGM has changed to April 8 at the Chequers public house at 7.30pm.