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"You ain't never 'ad a Fen Boy afore ave yoo Pamela?"
 

Just a selection of stuff slung together from recent happy snapping down by the watermargins of Eastern England.

Baaaa.

A bit of Zander fishing down on the Middle Level system, as I fancied revisiting some old swims to see if there were any of the spiny characters still hanging around.

As it turned out, a not too successful interlude really. A few zeds snared, but no big ones showed, with a few around the 7 to 8lb mark being the best of it really. A few nuisance pike to mid-doubles and dozens upon dozens of bait-molesting eels driving me nuts every night. Not great really.

 



Middle Level farm of the rising sun.

 

Another disturbing development - dead lines. I found a few of them, and unfortunately the biggest Zander I saw was on the end of one of them - and it had been there for quite some time by the smell of it. It looked to have been a very nice fish - over 12 pounds I'd say, and the hook was well swallowed out of sight. Not a nice death. Though few of them are really are they?. 
Far be it for me to point the finger, but it's a practice that seems to be becoming more common down the Fens, and the correlation between the increase in dead lines and the appearance of Tyske cans chucked up the banks isn't lost on me.

 

A bit of river carping provided a couple of pretty 20 plus Commons. 

 
 
   

There was a little episode of Tench fishing on a day ticket down at the Tring Reservoirs. Hard fishing at the best of times, let alone just doing days only, and some hard weather was encountered as well. Sum total after three two-day sessions? One Tench hooked, and one Tench lost at the net when some brand new 12lb B.S. Fox hooklink braid I was trying for the first time just snapped for no apparent reason. I didn't bother trying any more of it and binned it - after a little tantrum of course. It didn't help that the Tench was actually a big one, as they tend to be down there. A bit of an arse.

 

But local angler Scott Shepherd fared a bit better, and managed to nobble the lovely nine pounder slipped in below here, caught from the famous Pier Swim. Very nice fish. Bob on.

A bit of small river Barbel fishing occupied some of my time too. Again, hard work due to what seemed to be quite a small and shy population of them. It took quite a bit of time, patience and yomping - as well as a few gallons of hemp and pellets - to find some. In the end, somehow I only managed to spot three of them: one of about 8lbs that just drifted back under his weedbed and didn't venture back out again even 4 hours later... Then the one below made a mistake and ate an Elips pellet...

 

First Barbel of the season, 10lb 6oz, and the feint tingle of a returning mojo?

The chub were less spooky than the Barbel - at least early on in the river season. They soon shied up a bit once they'd been on the bank though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a beautiful spot in the English countryside. 


 

 




Then suddenly, one warm sunny afternoon, a big one appeared over one of my pre-baited patches. After it backed away under some weed for a bit, I dropped a pellet in position and waited, praying she hadn't been spooked. She came back and started grubbing about. Working upstream, my heart thudded harder as I realised she must be right over the hook bait... 

The rod lurched over, the clutch squealed as she set off downstream, and after patiently extracting her from a couple of weed beds, falling down a collapsing bank and in up to my knees, and generally hyperventilating for a few minutes, a big lump of fish finally rolled into the net. Pictured right is the happy angler holding up a not-so dumb Barbel, and a new best for me at 14lb 3oz. Good times.

 
 

In autumn there was a bit more river carping in store. One of my pre-baited spots provided this scale and fin perfect Common on a tiger nut on only my third night. But it was the only one I caught before giving up. 

It all became, well, too much of a bloody hassle in the end, with East European anglers after Pike and Zeds walking round my pitch right into the early hours like hooded zombies all night. This finally culminated in "words" when one of them decided to have a few casts with his shad - right across my baited patch and right across one of my carefully placed lines at 1am in the morning. It took me ten bloody casts to get it right under that overhanging tree. 

And can you relax and enjoy a bit of peaceful fishing under those circumstances? Not for me, mój przyjaciel. So I decided to sack it all off and go do something else. I also saw several of them stuffing fish into their kit bags on different occasions. Not good, really.







































Horsey Mere windmill.

 


A Fenland mid-double on a smelt just after the sun had melted the rime frost on the banks.

An autumn trip over to see my Esox-mad mate over in Norfolk, Carl Allen, for a couple of days Piking was all good fun, though the fishing was pretty shite over that weekend, and the weather was pretty shite to match it, with gale force winds and torrential rain blasting across the Broads. We managed one or two small ones on Eel deadbaits, but that was about it.

As it turned out, a new project with work drove me nuts from end of October through to early February, and I didn't have a chance to get out onto the bank. Not that I felt like I was missing much, seeing as we had the most severe winter for donkey's years... ice, snow, weeks of sub-zero temperatures and the accompanying frozen waters aren't much of an encouragement. Especially for a confirmed fair-weather fisherman like yours truly.


24lb 10oz. Nice one.

 











Proper shite.


















 

Near the back end Carlos invited us over for another get together. And the Norfolk weather was no kinder to us this time either... Minus numbers overnight, ice-sheets drifting over the Broad's surface, sleet, snow and biting north easterly winds all ballsed it right up really. Even the ducks and gulls were looking pissed off with it all. A couple of jacks on dead Eels again were the only things daft enough to feed. Still, we had a laugh, put the world to rights, and I always enjoy a trip over there, even if the fishing don't go to plan.









"Splendid".

Once the mental work thing died down a bit and the drains freed of their frosted coating, I managed a few sessions round the Fens in the last couple of weeks up until the end of the season. The air and water temperatures were still very low, but at least you could get a bait in the water. So off I went an tried a few different stretches.











One of these fish is bait...

And one of these is a mug...

Hair by WIndtunnel
Clothes: Model's own.

And once I found them, a few Pike graced the net over those last few sessions, with a few doubles, several jacks and a lovely 24 pounder. Unfortunately, she was a bit of daft 'un, as it turned out. When I compared the photos, as I suspected, she'd turned up again on a chunk of Bluey this time (left)... and then I didn't even bother taking her out of the water when she turned up next time out. A bit of a mug, bless her.

Still, nice to have a bend in the rod again after a few months of abstinence, and through the numb, white fingers and dew-dripping snout I got to view and snap a few feel-good sun-ups and sun-downs too (click the "wind-farm" link below if you can be arsed). 

After all, I was making the most of it, knowing that once the season was done, the next time I cast a line I'd probably be dripping with sweat instead of snot, and hoping to wind in something a bit more exotic than a Pike with Alzheimer's. Si, mi amigos, it's time to jet off for tropical climes again. I'm all excited.


 

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