Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weather apps for pike fishing in the Fens

Tyne, Dogger, Humber, Thames, German Bight - I  sometimes used to listen to the Shipping Forecast on Radio Four before I went fishing or while I was on the way, depending how early I got up.

I also used to take a tranny, as in a small portable radio with me to tune in to the weather throughout the day. Now I have a phone which forecasts the weather, thanks to some of the array of apps you can download, which offer hour-by-hour advance forecasts and even satellite maps charting the advance or frontal systems, rain and snow.

To say that these are incredibly useful is an understatement. Many of the theories about the impact of air pressure on pike fishing began in the Fens, as set out in Fishing for Big Pike by Barrie Rickards and Ray Webb in the early 1970s.

Just as important are the changes which can happen while you're actually out there.

A bright spell towards the end of the day can kick start a fly hatch, which in turn gets the prey fish active as they feed on the emergents, bringing the pike on the feed.

A wind that moves to the West after an overcast low-pressure spell can bring the high, fast moving clouds that many think herald the best conditions of all in the Fens.

Now you can get all this on your phone, while you're out fishing. Another highly useful app is TidesPlan, which you can set up to give you the tides for umpteen ports and coastal locations around the UK.

While most of the rivers and drains we fish in the Fens aren't strictly tidal, in the same way that the rivers of Broadland are, they're still affected by the changing tides.

Water flows out of the sluices at Denver as the level falls in the tidal river. When this happens, the flow picks up in the Ouse and after an hour or two, its main tributaries inland follow suit.

This applies equally to places like the Middle Level and Delph, where they tend to pump water off when the levels are falling in the tidal because it requires less energy than pumping water uphill.

Pike sometimes come on the feed as a water starts to move, or when a water that's been running off comes to a halt. One one stretch of river I used to fish a lot, the increase in flow sometimes created the classic crease swim - an edge where the flow bustled past slacker water.

For an hour or two, you were always in with a shout there if you placed your baits along the crease.

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