West & Fens Fishing: Ashley hits jackpot with huge pike

Ashley Brown with his 31lb 8oz pike.

Ashley Brown with his 31lb 8oz pike. - Credit: Archant

An angler who avoids the herd and does his own thing has landed what may well be the biggest pike of the season from the Norfolk side of the Fens.

Ashley Brown walks miles along the rivers and drains with just a lure rod, a landing net and a few bits and pieces in a rucksack.

His mobile approach paid dividends when this 31lb 8oz brute sank its teeth into a rubber eel and gave him an almighty scrap on an undisclosed water.

He thought it was a jack from the delicate hit, as the lure came up the marginal shelf. But he soon revised his estimates upwards as the fish turned tail and bow-waved off on the first of a series of arm-wrenching runs. Lynn-based Brown has specialised in this travel-light style of lure fishing for the last few seasons. He prefers to get on his toes and look for the fish, rather than sitting there waiting for them to find his baits.

Comparing results when we've bumped into each other here and there, it's obvious he's caught a lot more fish than those of us who stick with baits through the winter.

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It's not just a jack bashing method either, with a procession of big fish falling to soft lures over the last couple of seasons, topped by two 28lb samples from different waters before the big fish got more than it bargained for on Sunday. Brown's weapon of choice is a light 6ft jig rod, a fixed-spool reel loaded with braid and a selection of shads, grubs and other rubbers to ring the changes at the sharp end.

Needless to say, an angler with just this set-up to carry along with a rucker and net is going to be a lot more mobile than one parked behind three or four bait rods, with all the stuff that goes with them.

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After a couple of seasons when the fish have often deserted their time-honoured winter quarters, it's obvious which approach is going to pay off when it comes to locating them.

There were one or two low-twenties out from a couple of other waters including the Ouse and Cut-Off Channel in the dying days of the season.

The main river was almost deserted, empty banks telling their own story on Sunday. Just about everywhere else was devoid of anglers too. The season's obviously not dead yet, with today and tomorrow to look forward to – if, like me, you're going to give it one last pop for old time's sake.

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