Practice makes East Midland League perfect for angler Bates on Old Nene at Benwick

Ray Malle
Ray Malle

The final round of the East Midland Winter League is coming up this weekend with five sections on Factory Bank and another five over on the Old Nene at Benwick.

I would have said that with so many anglers on each venue a tough, even difficult match was on the cards.

But after collecting last weekend’s practice match result on both lengths, like many others I may have to revise my thinking as it fished really well.

Leading the way from peg one in the Benwick village section was Alex Bates, who put a fine 20lb 15oz net of roach, skimmers and perch to the scales taken on the pole with pinkie – an outstanding weight considering the conditions.

In second place was Alistair Ogilvie, who drew peg 5 on Factory Bank and put 14lb 14oz to the scales, again all small fish. Dave Tebutt was third on 14lb 12oz, followed by Richard Martin with 14lb 10oz. Usually weights start to drop away after the leading results but nearly every section was won with a double figure weight, very good fishing indeed by any standard.

Spratts AC fished their last match of the season, a midweek fixture on the Cedar Pool at Decoy Lakes. With frosts and a bitterly cold wind blowing anglers found it tough going.

Bob Barrett led the way with 43lb 10oz taken from peg 2, a long over due result for Bob, a relative newcomer to the club. Bob fished a small feeder with maggot and pellet hook baits catching carp, his best going to the scales at 13lb 10oz.

Mick Raby took second place, he also fished maggot and pellet but he came in short on the pole from peg 5 to finish with 33lb 6oz. Mick Linnell rounded off a good season in the club’s fixtures taking third place from peg 12, netting carp to 5lb in the last hour on a feeder for 25lb 7oz.

At the weekend Webbs AC were welcomed to Buttonhole Fishery for a club match, but with a couple of really heavy frosts and a few flakes of snow I don’t think many of the anglers lining the banks were that optimistic of a bite let alone a few fish. However how wrong they were as some very respectable weights were recorded.

Out in front with a fine 61lb 10oz net of carp from peg 21 was Mick Wright, a seasoned angler with a good knowledge of winter time fishing and he put all his experience into practice, netting fish on the pole and feeder.

Runner-up was Paul Harrison with 42lb 7oz, most of his fish falling to a small feeder approach. The rest of the field made their catches up with silver fish weights. A further restocking of 120 barbel and another 100 tench were introduced to the venue last week so there should be plenty of action throughout the winter months.

The next Buttonhole open match takes place on Sunday. To get booked in please call Chris at the fishery on 07928 222462.

Those fishing the Tydd Gote matches have once again seen some fine weights recorded, in the recent midweek match the North Level Drain produced a cracking match result. In first place was Andrew Kilby from peg 4. He put 11lb 10oz of small fish to the scales, then came Sammy McSpadden on 8lb 10oz, followed by John Taylor with 8lb 2oz.

The Environment Agency continue to work on the venue and indeed have found an estimated 1million fish during recent surveys, so prospects look very good indeed for this part of the Fenland drains.

We have several really good winter venues to fish over the next few months and it looks as if Wisbech rod Ray Malle has found another for us.

He topped a small field on the River Welland in the centre of Spalding, just out of our area but well worth a visit. Ray put a magnificent 50lb-plus winning net of roach to the scales at the weekend.