Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Best river for pike fishing in the Fens

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how different cliques of pike anglers view different waters in the Fens. Their experiences sometimes lead them to draw conclusions which are completely at odds with each other's - how one man's meat is another man's poison, if you like.

Take the Ouse, a river which has been good to me on a handful of occasions over the 15 seasons I've fished it, dealing me a bum hand far more frequently than a decent fish or two.

I've never caught a twenty downstream of Queen Adelaide. What few I've ever caught from the river have come from one or two areas with little in common, other than they were throwing up a few good fish at a time when I was fascinated by the Ouse and spent a lot of time trying to get to to grips with it.

Just as I started thinking I'd got my head round the river, it went off the boil for me. Some big fish came off another stretch I was targeting a few seasons back. I knew I was fishing bang on the money, right swims, right method. But could I catch it - the fish nudging 30lbs that was knocking about the same area..? Sadly not.

We wrote it off in the end, my mates and I. One big fish in one big, daunting river, we seemed fated not to catch. To add insult to injury, I lost a big fish off one of the few runs I ever managed on that part of the Ouse one freezing February afternoon, as ice formed across the river.

Yet others were quietly catching with a different approach, completely at odds to ours. It seemed so obvious I kicked myself, when one of them candidly explained it to me after I quizzed him about pictures I'd seen that looked like the area we'd been fishing.

The first time I tried their method, I had seven or eight fish to mid doubles from a stretch I'd given up on in a single morning. No monsters, but I thought I'd cracked it all the same.

I told a mate, we went back the weekend after and blanked. I tried the same swims several times as the season wore on without success. At the start of last season, I had a lanky double on the bank first chuck doing it their way. That turned out to be the only run I managed in half a dozen trips up and down that part of the river.

By then, another water was screaming fish me, fish me. That turned into another long haul, but at least we finished the season with a couple of twenties each.

Towards the end of it, I bumped into one of the guys who'd done well on the Ouse. He hadn't had a run on the water we were fishing. But he'd had a couple of twenties on the river - from the bit we'd long since given up on.

You should try down there, he said. People say it's hard, but it's loads easier than here.

Click here for a 20lbs pike from the Ouse caught on film.

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