I THINK just about every angler in Eastern England was looking forward to last weekend’s sport.
Saturday started off well with several waters now free of ice good catches of roach were reported from several waters. Unfortunately, though, the unexpected heavy frosts put an icy covering on stillwaters and even the Fen drains suffered badly in some areas.
That was certainly the case for those fishing the final round of the Angling Times Team Championship East Midlands Division. The match was spread around several venues including Factory Bank at Ramsey, the Old Nene at Benwick and March and the Twenty Foot Drain.
For those anglers on Factory Bank it was pleasant fishing from start to finish in fact the top four anglers all came from the two sections placed there. Out in front was Benwick-based angler Rob Lincoln who fishes for the Browning Hotrods team; he was at Factory Bank and took a net of roach fishing the pole with pinkie over groundbait to put an excellent 17lb 1oz 8dr to the scales. Runner-up was Simon Godfrey who weighed in 16lb 4oz. followed by Dave Thornton on 14lb 15oz.
On the team front it was Browning Hotrods who took the honours with an excellent 27-point score card, but their late run up the table came just a little too late to dislodge league winners Maver Bait Tech and runners-up Fox Match Stanjay.
The big surprise of the day was the poor form of the Old Nene at March. The day before, anglers had been reporting double figure nets of roach but on the big match day most of the anglers in the two sections there struggled for a bite.
Finally, congratulations goes to Huntingdon rod Tony Watling (jn) as he became the overall individual winner of the six match series averaging just two penalty points per match.
Result: 1 R Lincoln, Browning Hotrods, Cambs 17lb 1oz 8dr; 2 S Godfrey, Sensas Mark One, Cambs 16lb 4oz; 3 D Thornton, Garbolino Peterborough, Cambs 14lb 15oz; 4 D Rawlings, FM Stanjay, Cambs 12lb 7oz; 5 B Wiggington, Maver Bait Tech, Notts 12lb 6oz; 6 J Taylor, Maver Bait Tech, Cambs, 12lb 1oz;
Teams: 1 Browning Hotrods, 27pts; 2 Maver Bait Tech, 29; 3 Sensas Mark One, 34; 4 FM Stanjay, 35; 5 Garbolino Peterborough, 41; 6 FM Stanjay Red, 43.
League: 1 Maver Bait Tech, 14pts; 2 FM Stanjay, 16; 3Browning Hotrods, 17; 4 Sensas Mark One, 21; 5 Garbolino Peterborough, 24; 6 FM Stanjay Red, 32.
Top Individual: T Watling Jn, 11pts.
With the ice all but cleared from the Chatteris end of the Forty Foot Drain, anglers fishing for the Chatteris WMC decided to fish their club match which was delayed before Christmas due to all the heavy frosts. Considering the bitterly cold day weights were respectable if not outstanding with plenty of small roach on the feed.
Out in front with 4lb 8oz was Neil Newby, followed by Steve Newell, just behind on 4lb 4oz and third place went to Tom Boswell with 3lb 7oz followed by Ian Warby on 3lb 6oz.
Just a little further upstream in the Narrows Ramsey AS also had a club match. It was the pegs just above the Forty Foot Bridge that took the honours in this one, Paul Kilby topping the field with 5lb 10oz of small fish taken on pinkie over groundbait. Andrew Kilby came second with 5lb 1oz from just above the bridge followed by Kevin Peacock, he fished a small feeder taking a tench and a few small fish for 4lb 11oz.
March rod Barry Mason is still in a rich vein of form over at Townsend Lakes Upwell, topping the Monday open with 24lb 13oz. Geoff Arnold took top spot in the Saturday match with 25lb 12oz taken from peg 8 on the Cuckoo Canal Pool. Glen Chatters came second on 24lb 1oz followed by Tom Wilson with 18lb 4oz.
It was very tight at the top in the Sunday pairs match as Neil Parkinson took the individual honours with 12lb 12oz of skimmers from the Woodpecker Pool. But in the pairs event three teams tied on three points so the fishery owner had to go on overall weight to settle matter, which saw John Millard and Wayne Shepherd coming out on top followed by Barry Mason and Adam Wayman.
Match results have been a little bit thin on the ground to say the least but some clubs and fisheries have still managed to fish through the harsh winter weather so far. So if you do run a match or your club is catching up on fixtures do not forget to give me a call on a Sunday evening so that I can include them in the weekly round up.
Cormorants have and in fact still are devastating our angling stocks right across the Fenland drains but anglers, angling clubs and fisheries seem helpless to stop the mass destruction of our fish stocks. But at last help may just be at hand as the Angling Trust has finally got off the fence and has demanded action from the government. It may be too little to late as these birds are entrenched in just about every waterway across the country but just may be some action will now be taken.
It is a very thorny subject and I know anglers are very reluctant to demand a cull of any sort but time is running out if we are ever to see several waters return to their former glory days, something has to be done and soon.