Benwick’s a banker for
Your local expert this week is TOM LEGGE
East Anglia regional Where to Fish columnist Tom Legge visits the tranquil
Old River Nene at Benwick, in the
North Cambridgeshire Fens, in search of pike.
SOME of my earliest memories as a kid are the arrival of ‘pike season’. It started on October 1, and in all honesty I regarded it more with dread than excitement.
Dad would arrive home from work the evening before clutching a big, smelly bag of sprats. Early next morning, with frost laying thick on the ground, we’d set forth armed with broomstick-thick cane rods, fat cork bung floats and a lethal
To avoid snagging car upholstery with made-up rods in transit, I cut a slot in the side of plastic camera film cannisters from the pre-digital era. I tuck the treble hooks inside, ease the trace wire into the slot, then snap the canister lid firmly shut. looking gaff to do battle with this fearsome foe. One morning I caught half a dozen pike. The biggest was a six-pounder, but to me, aged around six, they all looked huge and scary.
Match fishing became our main focus in future years, and I was pretty relieved to leave the pike behind.
But what goes around comes around, and for the past 15 winters pike have been a major part of my angling activities.
Of course, there’s no separate pike season these days. Gaffs have thankfully long been outlawed. And global warming has well and truly consigned frosty banks in autumn to the dustbin of history.
Nevertheless, October’s arrival invariably prompts me to dust down the pike kit that’s been sitting in the shed. And by the month’s end I’m raring to get stuck into some action with the toothy critters.
I favour wagglertype pencil floats for deadbaiting on shallow Fen waters, set around a foot overdepth. But for freeroving livebaits I prefer fat, in-line floats set well off bottom, sometimes immediately above the 18 in. wire trace.
■ The Old River Nene at Benwick is normally good for plenty of runs from predators at this time of year, as well as being a popular match fishery.