A Fenland Fairytale – Pike & Zander Fishing on the Drains

12/02/18 – Following my recent pike sessions on the river Medway, most of which ended in disappointing blanks I decided to have a change of scenery and headed for the famous fen drains in Cambridgeshire. I knew the odds were against me and the fishing would be hard but I was up for the challenge. At least I would have some company and was joined by my brother in-law Jamie who is a keen angler and has recently turned into a specimen hunter targeting a variety of fish.

The plan was to spend two nights and two days fishing focusing on the Zander at night and the Pike during daylight hours. The fen drains consist of miles upon miles of baron man made canal like systems that are pretty much dead straight with no obvious features to fish to. The tactic was to cover as much water as possible and fish each area for twenty minutes before moving on further down river. This way the elusive pike would be easier to find and we just might present a bait within range of a monster.

I contacted a few angling clubs and decided to have a go on the forty foot as this seemed to be fishing quite well but the we wanted to keep all options open and were prepared to move onto the 16 foot drain if we had no success within twenty four hours.

Arriving at the venue we were fortunate top find and area that would allow us to drive along side the river which made covering such a large area of water that little bit easier. It didn’t take long before Jamie managed a small fish of around 5lb and later on in the day I lost scraper double that spat out the hook once it surfaced. things were looking good but little did we know that it would be downhill from here and the rest of the day drew a blank. For the night session we set up on a spot by a bridge which was the only feature we could find in such a baron landscape and changed out rigs and baits to suit Zander fishing. I went with small roach hook baits on size eight single treble and Jamie fished the same set up. The night passed uneventful and we decided to move onto some new water as we felt we had covered a sufficient area and we were not on the fish.

We made our way up to the town and had a good look around before deciding where to fish. Coming across a nice looking section of drain again by a bridge we were interrupted by a man in a car that pulled up and it turned out he was the bailiff. I decided to try and get some information regarding the fishing out of him and we discovered that we were actually fishing the River Nene yesterday and not the drains.The bailiff suggested a place to fish where some good pike were taken from and so we packed up the rods and made our way over to the other section of water about a mile away.

This turned out to be unsuccessful and it started to snow heavily. It was an absolute disaster and the pumps turned on during the night which pushed masses of weed through the drain wiping the rods out. It was a sleepless night with no fish to show for our efforts.

The last day arrived and we had to be off back home by 2pm  and so we decided to do a bit more exploring and fish the forty foot drain further up. Again the we drew a blank and it was coming up to 2pm so we found a small drain of the 16 foot and flicked the rods out for the last cast. Within ten minutes I had a bite but missed it and I decided to persevere for the last ten minutes in the same area whilst Jamie moved up river. Suddenly I heard Jamie call and I ran over to see him playing a fish. “Have you seen it yet mate” I asked to which he replied “yeah its a bit bigger then the last one (which was 5lb)”. Expecting a small double to pop up I prepared the landing net but when she surfaced I was gobsmacked. That’s huge I said as she slid in the net and I turned round to shake Jamie’s hand. It was only when we tried to lift her out I realised the size of her and on the scales she went 22lb. An absolutely massive fish and a new personal best for Jamie from a river to boot. All of that effort and time put into this small campaign finally came to a great conclusion and we both head back to Kent smiling talking about the magnificent capture. It really was the last cast of two days and nights and that’s the beauty of fishing and its unpredictability.

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