For once the sun was shining as we; Madison, Isaac, Nephew Ollie and I left home for another night in Fenland. The A14 has many advantages for a travelling angler but the amount of freight traffic going to and from Felixstowe can be a nightmare. Particularly when a truck one hundred yard in front of my car, blows a tyre and sends rubber flying towards us. Luckily we came through unscathed and the rest of the journey was uneventful until we reached Cambridgeshire. Here we were stuck behind a procession of horseboxes, apparently there was a polo match going on somewhere. I find it amazing that people play polo here in East Anglia, I thought it was exclusively the sport of the upper crust and such people surely live in big houses down south? I certainly hope these people are a lot better at controlling their horses than the dirty great big horse boxes they were driving, they may be rich but they don’t own the bloody road!
After that the afternoon went without a hitch! The kids started catching small fish on the whip almost immediately while I busied myself setting up the tent and getting things ready for the evening. When I had everything ready I set up a feeder rod to target the Bream. I threw out a few kilos of pellets hoping to stop a shoal if they moved through and kept topping the swim out with the feeder. Nothing much happened on this rod but I wasn’t bothered. Ollie was busy filling the keep net so I would have a lot of bait to choose from later. Madison & Isaac were busy playing “Star Wars” in the field, perhaps it was a bad idea to let Isaac bring his toy ‘Light Sabre’ with him. Oh well, the sun was shining, the temperature was comfortable and there was no one around for them to disturb. It made a nice change not having to worry about what weather was on its way, all in all a thoroughly nice afternoon.
Dale arrived in the late afternoon and began setting up a rod for Bream and another for Zander. Meanwhile I fried ‘Vegetarians nightmare” for our evening meal once again. We were treated to another spectacular sunset with colours in the sky ranging from light blue to deep red, time to put a couple of rods out for the Zander! As usual I fished just the two rods, sticking to the methods that had been successful previously; a ledgered livebait with a bait popper cast upstream and a Paternostered live cast slightly downstream. Both baits were cast into the middle of the river, hopefully avoiding the worst of the weed. I did have to reposition the paternoster a couple of times, to avoid the weekend admirals trying their best to disturb us and break the world water speed record.
We had all filled our bellies but unfortunately the fish weren’t doing the same. We had stopped using the whip when the light faded, sometimes a Zander or two can be caught as the light level fades but not tonight and the Bream weren’t showing either. The kids settled down and as night descended we watched a dazzling array of stars come out. We spied a Fox on the flood bank opposite once again, bats pipping and whizzing past accompanied by a soundtrack from a couple of Tawny Owls somewhere to the east.
The sky grew darker, the stars grew brighter and the kids became tired and settled down into the tent. It was a beautiful night, Dale and I uncorked a bottle of wine, chilled out, put the world to rights and generally had a bloody good laugh. Just as I was beginning to feel concerned about the lack of fish, Dale’s Zander rod was away. Despite getting it tangled around my Bream rod and getting in an almighty balls up, we managed to net it. A nice fish of around five pounds and with Dale getting more confident with handling fish, he held it up for the camera with a Cheshire cat grin. Ollie emerged from the tent to witness the fish but his young cousins were well and truly zonked, the combination of fresh air and exercise had them snoring. A nice fish, toasted with another mug of wine!
The night began to grow cold and a mist began to form, once again it was a real pleasure to be out in a wild part of the English countryside. Just after midnight my upstream ledgered bait started to move purposely up the river. I pulled into a decent weight, the rod stayed bent,, obviously a decent sized fish. It proved to be the night of the tangles as Dale managed to get the landing net wrapped around my other rod. Slight panic but soon fixed and a good sized Zander was in the net and soon unhooked and in a weigh sling. At eight and a half pounds it was my best Zed of the season, and it looked bigger in the photos. These came out well, spoilt only by a few pieces of vegetation stuck to the fish’s head. I’m sure the fishing police would be offended by this but better a quick photo and back in the river than waste time picking the weed off.
By the time all was sorted and settled, the temperature seemed to have dipped considerably and the mist was becoming a fog. We toasted our fish, the night, the craic and soon it was the wee small hours and the vino was gone. We crashed in our respective bivvies for the remains of the night.
The rest of the night was uneventful and both my baits were untouched and still kicking when I checked them at first light. It was still foggy and generally I don’t think these are good conditions for fish of any kind. For once the kids didn’t wake early so I took the opportunity to doze for another hour or two. Soon they were awake and demanding breakfast so it was time to break out the frying pan again for another sausage and bacon special. As the sun got higher the fog burnt away, the temperature rose and it was another pleasant day. After breakfast Chris appeared on his mountain bike for a laugh and a chat, as usual he was excellent company.
I packed the gear away slowly as the kids continued to fish a little/play a little/fish a little. At one point Ollie had four different species in four casts; Rudd, Bream, Perch and then a Bleak. Add that to the Roach, Dace and Zander we had caught and that is seven different species. I took some time to point out the species and show him how to recognise them. There are downsides to fishing with kids though. The whip got severely tangled so I had to rig it up again from scratch. One cast later and it was knackered again and I had to repeat the performance. By this time there were signs that some Bream had actually moved into the area with bubbles and the odd fish rolling. Unfortunately we were virtually out of bait but I thought we were still in with a chance. Sure enough the feeder rod trundled off and I handed the rod to Ollie who expertly steered a nice fish of about three pounds into the net.
A nice way to finish what will probably be our last night time adventure in fenland for this summer. September is now upon us and in a couple of weeks I’ll be raring to fish for the Pike. We haven’t had much summer weather this year but we’ve managed some enjoyable, memorable fishing none the less. Part of me is looking forward to next summer already but before that…Pike!