West & Fens Fishing: Scene is set for a wonderful time on the river bank

There's no getting away from it. It's a glorious time to be out by the river. The water's clear after a wet summer in which neither algal bloom or azolla – the other dreaded 'a' word – gained a foothold.

That means a rare insight into what goes on beneath the surface. For when the sun shines on some of the drains and rivers, you can see the bottom half way across.

This never used to fill me with confidence either, but if you stand still for a minute or two and shade your eyes, it's amazing what you sometimes see.

The solitary pike I caught on a drain the other day was out-numbered getting on for 10 to one by the number which followed the lure.

Some just lazily ambled after it, turning away in disinterest after taking a closer look.


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A smaller fish appeared in a gap in the cabbages and flared its gills in a threat display – as if warning an intruder off its territory.

One or two took aim and missed, a big fish that failed to connect left barely a ripple on the surface.

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I wonder how often that happens when you can't see six feet down into the water and you never even realise.

The one which did visit the bank, a snappy three-pounder, hit the lure in an explosion of water and duck weed, almost under the rod.

Two places where you can't see the bottom half way across at the moment are the Ouse and Middle Level Drain.

Roach around the half pound bracket are showing downstream of Modney Bridge, as well as bream and tench. Both seeds and maggot are working, with the fishing better early and late, the bites tending to dry up around mid-day.

There have been some good nets, including one guess-timated at over 50lbs. The bigger bream seem to have moved off elsewhere – my guess is Denver Basin looking how coloured the water was when I took a fleeting look the other day.

But not everyone likes filling in a swim with groundbait and waiting for the slabs to turn up and those who like their roach fishing are having a field day at the moment.

The lower Middle Level is also going well, with St Germans to Lord's Bridge producing skimmers and roach. Fish in both waters seem to want the bait hard on the deck at the moment.

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