The Old Nene at March is recognised as one of the best winter natural venues in the country and has been for many years, writes Ken Wade.
At the weekend it produced yet another fine result and that was after enormous pressure from teams putting in their last-minute preparations for this coming weekend’s Angling Trust Winter League final on the venue.
Yet I hear of anglers complaining about the poor form of the water, only catching a few pounds of fish – taking no account of the fact that it’s been over fished and we are still in winter mode.
But where else in the country do the top six anglers all put in double figure weights and I suspect that 4lb was the average weight in the Sunday March Open on the Old Nene? Leading the way was the in-form Mark Pollard, who managed to draw the very same peg he did so well on a few weeks ago. This match saw him finish on 17lb 11oz of roach and skimmers taken on the pole fishing a squatt and pinkie match from the noted pegs close to the swimming pool in the middle of the town. Runner-up was Andy Gregory. He drew out on the by-pass section and took a few roach before switching to a chopped worm and caster line. From that he had two good tench and a net of perch to weigh in 14lb 10oz. Third place went to Richard Guest on 12lb 12oz, then local rod Alex Bates with 12lb 11oz.
Over on the March Twenty Foot Drain and Factory Bank, Stanjay Tackle ran an open match as this will also form part of the Winter League final. What a match this turned out to be. Darren Frost put a massive 62lb 4oz to the scales to take a comfortable victory. He drew at the footbridge and caught 11 big tench, a big bream and a few perch on a chopped worm and caster approach. Then came all the big roach and rudd weights from the other bridge pegs. Leading the chasing pack was John Carty with 32lb 9oz, followed by Simon Mottram on 31lb 14oz.
It does look as if the natural venue half of the final will take care of itself. Teams will need a good draw but over at Decoy Lakes, venue for the other half of the match, a couple of poor draws will see your team out of the running. The milder weather has seen a massive improvement in form from Decoy but there are still going to be poor areas – it’s still only February and the carp have yet to start feeding in any real numbers.
There have been lots of practice matches on the venue which is no bad thing as it will keep the fish on the move. In the Saturday open match fished on Beastie, Cedar, Oak and Willows Richard Knowles took the honours from peg 20 on the Oak Pool. He alternated between the pole and bomb with pellet to finish with 162lb 8oz. Runner-up was Richard O’Connor who weighed in 100lb from Cedar 24, netting barbel on maggot and carp pellet pole. Neil Fisher came third on 90lb 8oz.
Sunday’s match attracted by far the biggest field of the year so far with pegs on Yew, Damson, Elm, Willows and Beastie. Yorkshire rod Andy Geldard made the long trip down pay off handsomely, going home with the winner’s envelope after weighing in 154lb 6oz from Yew Pool 21. He fished pellet on the pole and straight lead. Richard Taylor took 95lb 10oz for second place, then came Zak Brown on 84lb 8oz.
I wish our two local sides, Sensas Mark One and Stanjay Tackle, the best of luck in the weekend’s final.
The Cuckoo Canal Pool at Townsend Lakes was in fine form at the weekend. Top rod was Sam Hawks, who drew peg 33 and fished the pole with pellet to finish on 95lb 6oz.
In second with 68lb 8oz was Colin Begbie followed by Rob Blackbourne, who caught on maggot for 37lb.