Sunday, November 04, 2012

Slow start to pike fishing in the Fens

It says a lot when November comes around and you're running out of ideas already. Just about everyone else I know is struggling, which lessens the pain somewhat. But the question that remains is why.

I spoke briefly to a couple of the Cambs guys at last week's King's Lynn PAC meeting. One said the smaller fish which used to save a blank seem to have disappeared from a lot of waters down their way.

The swim above used to reliably hold a few pike of all sizes, as it's on a deep bend where the roach and skimmers shoal. Nowadays, getting a run's an event in itself on there.

One school of thought doing the rounds is there's now so much food in our drains and rivers that the pike are probably swimming around stuffed to the gills. Well fed pike are much harder to catch than hungry pike, for obvious reasons.

Lure anglers seem to be faring better than the herring soakers at the moment - possibly because pike will attack a lure on instinct, whereas one with a full belly might baulk at cramming in another deadbait.

I'm not sure I agree with the idea that the first frosts will throw the switch and bring them on the feed. But in the 15 seasons I've fished the Fens, I've normally caught far more fish in the first couple of months of the season than the rest of it put together.

This could be because I usually fish a lot harder for the first few weeks after the summer lay-off, because I'm full of the joys of going pike fishing again. Christmas is usually followed by a cold snap, meaning January and February can be quite slow in my experience.

Instead of a few hints on waters to try, my response to a couple of e-mails from anglers thinking of having a go in the Fens has been don't bother - it's so slow at the moment it's not worth the effort and expense of travelling from the North or Midlands.

This is a warts and all blog, meaning one that tells it like it is. Someone also suggested I was down playing things to put people off fishing the waters I fish. If I was catching, I'd be saying so - probably without mentioning where.

I met some Polish guys who'd travelled up from London for a weekend's fishing the other day. They were serious lure anglers, who looked like they knew what they were doing. One said he'd heard and read so much about the Fens he was surprised how hard it was to find a few fish. Join the club mate, I said.


  1. Good points about the abundance of prey fish in the fen rivers/drains presently. I fully agree with this, recruitment for the last few years has been good in many areas, with EA surveys backing that up. As ever it is localised and dropping on the right area is key. Also livebaiting may help on tricky days.

    Loving your Blog and in a way i am enjoying your lack of success so far this autumn as the motivator, proving its not just me then! I am currently concentrating on a tricky still water but will get on the flowing Fen water soon, maybe when it peaks at the end of Nov?!


    Mike Webster

  2. Nice blog,am following.
    Feel free to visit and follow our fishing blog in Borneo at

  3. This is a good blog and I check it every day, love the name too!

    I live in the West Norfolk Fens and fish, domestic chores and projects allowing, at least twice a week in rivers, drains and lakes. So far the fishing has been hard, harder than last year, but with eight trips under my belt I have caught eleven pike including one double and two 'school' zander.

    Last year my haunts did fish better when the weather cooled but I have not matched last years success rate so far.

    A session is planned for Friday, tomorrow, and I will report back on my blog. The conditions look perfect so far so that means a blank in all probability.

    Best wishes,


  4. Hi John (The Two Terriers), I love your blog too, fantastic photography.

    The results will come - he who waits etc...!

    Best Fishes,

    Mike Webster.

  5. having fished the fen drains all my life, i have certainly seen catches dropping each year, but there are still some cracking fish to be caught and plenty of them if you get on the right areas.
    so far since the beginning of october i've had 26 pike, including 12 doubles, best going 19lb-2oz, so far my season has been good.
    out again on sunday will see what happens as weather looks good.
    keep you posted of results.

    best wishes


  6. out with the lure rods this morning,(trying new baitcaster set up),
    after a slow first hour the action started, first fish about 9lb. 35 minutes later fish no2 came along a tail walking, fiesty little pike of around 5 or 6lb, after a quick stop of about 15 mins for a cup of coffee, and a little walk farther upstream to a nice quite spot, produced a pike of around 3lb on my 2nd cast, moved up another 30 or 40 yards and had my last pike of the morning at around 5 or 6lb again so not to bad a mornings fishing.
    all fish caught on 6in shads...

    best wishes