West & Fens: Sunday’s downpour was too late

Even Sunday's downpour won't do much to pep the rivers and drains up, as the season heads into the home straight.

Two days watching motionless floats suggested the pike were off elsewhere spawning. One day I got wet, one day I didn't. That was the only difference to speak of.

With just 10 days left on the rivers it's all over bar the shouting. It just feels wrong trying to catch pike while the tip men are catching tench.

It's painfully obvious there are a lot less of them in what were prolific places not so long ago. What's missing are the jacks you used to catch in every other swim.

On one water, just about every other fish that's come out has been a twenty. That might sound impressive, but factor in an average of five or six blanks for every run.

Then look ahead to what happens when a relatively small head of big, ageing fish die off. I bet it's not the only water in this position.

Once or twice on recent trips, the river's come alive at dusk, with silver fish topping after a fly hatch.

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Some of us may be bemoaning the lack of predators, but the number of small fish in parts of the system has to be seen to be believed.

That's what mild winters do – along with lack of rain, meaning lack of fish getting flushed out of the system by harsh flows.

The days are drawing out, it's getting warmer – on and off – and plenty of anglers are already looking ahead to summer.

There were some truly bumper bags at the start of this season. And after a few months' lay off to get spawning out of the way, we might see more of the same.