Perfect time to try somewhere new

WEST AND FENS: New Year, new me. Well, sort of. A change of venue to a large stillwater and they're well up for it.

Run first chuck, another one's off as I'm unhooking it. Almost as soon as I re-cast the bait I'd lobbed along a reed fringe pike number three's glaring up at me on the mat.

I miss a few, lose a couple and add a couple more plus one of the fish I caught first thing decides it likes mackerel so much it has a another trip to the bank.

These are all jacks, the largest being around 8lbs and obviously an old fish – a male in other words.

The weed's still growing out in the lake. The alder's in bud behind me. Days like this occur just as winter turns to the first signs of spring and the male fish gather to await the females on their spawning grounds.

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Is the weather now so messed up the pike are preparing for their nuptials on this stillwater?

Elsewhere, things seem to have settled into a pattern of few pike being caught but the odd larger specimen out.

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Those commonly-known about have come from the Old Bedford and the neighbouring Delph.

The Bedford was tipped by many to do a big fish, because it seems to have very few pike left in some stretches.

Neither water is easy, not least because with limited access you've got a walk on your hands before you start. Curiously, one of the the last big fish to come from the Bedford – by big I mean over 25lbs – was caught six or eight years ago in the car park by Welney Village Hall.

This was a few weeks after a fish kill, which had decimated that particular stretch.

No-one bothered with the Bedford, but a visitor who'd arranged to meet his mates for a day on the Delph was blissfully unaware of this.

So when his mates were late, he dropped a rod out in the car park like you do – and heaved out a 28lbs brute.

When things are slow around there, there's another trick you can try. Pop in the Lamb and Flag and toast the Colonel's Pike – the monster in a glass case in the bar.

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