Kevin Wyatt discusses his highlights of Fenland and Specimen Angling
The Fens are unique with a history and character all of their own to most this is seen as a flat windswept uninspiring place.
This area of England fans out from the Wash across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and West Norfolk and The fenlands contains an area of nearly 1,500 square miles or about 1 million acres. Once an in hospitable swampy wilderness, the Fens has been tamed to leave us today with a network of intricate waterways which most coarse fish inhabit and with the fens being flat offers very little sanctuary from the wind and this strangely gives this place its unique beauty. The history of the Fens is a fascinating story of a landscape and its people, where man and nature have interacted to create the Fens environment of today.It is a story of an amazing transition from the wetland wilderness of old to the people made landscape of today for rich fertile farming land.
I personally first came to the fens to fish back in 1981 and my first thoughts of the place were the same as many who has visited the area that it was just flat!! and i did not return till the nineties , but in time i,ve grown up to really enjoy the place and have had many encounters with its diverse wild life and watching the majestic barn owl at dusk silently working his patch is just of the delights you could see and many more and then there,s the tremedous fishing it offers to the anglers too! Now the fens contain most of the uk fish species to specimen sizes from the pike, zander, carp, bream and tench to just name a few and is also well know for being the birth place of zander back in 1963 when the zander was released into the channel and up to recently it held the Britsh Record, but on June 24th 2007 the record was broken and now is held by James Benfield with a stonking zander of 21lb 5oz beast caught from the river severn.
But the fens also does contain many more specimen fish for the visiting anglers to come and try for and with the carp now getting a foot hold they will soon become a viable option to target as well, also on most waters the silver fish does not get the reconition they rightly deserve and with all the waters now seeming to be bursting with roach ,rudd and bream to specimen sizes these to are welll worth targeting and good size bags regualy get caught every year. I've now had man many years and enjoyed the delights on all the KLAA waters and I've mainly targeted the zander, pike and the carp that inhabit their waters and all the waters are different though and in some area's the drains have steep banks but most often than not you can find more comfatable fishing if you like from the many platforms that have been put on some of the drains by the club. Also most drains vary from either being shallow and others being deep but they also vary in there widths from being nearly able to jump across to over 100 yards wide and also are not as straight as some might first imagine.
They also will offer the angler some challenging conditions from the wind that sweeps relentlessly across this landscape from time to time and with little or no shelter can make some fishing situations uncomfortable, also during wet periods when the drains and rivers become swollen and the drains are run off these too will offer up its own challengers to the visiting angler at first, and many who are reading this will know exacly what I'm talking about, but even with these some times challenging conditions the anglers still fish this unique place year after year for the many species that inhabit them.
My own experiences on the fens over the years have left me with many great memories and some personal goals in fishing that i wanted to achieve and which have left me more eager to return the following year to sample more of the unique wildeness and to catch more specimen zander that reside in there waters like the one above.
But what is it about this fish that drives many anglers to come to the fens in pursuit of such a fish? Well for me its the mystery that surrounds this fish and in the early days of the zander they were cursed upon by many anglers and really did get alot of negative press , but thankfully now they have a good level of protection, also there still is not to much written about the zander and there only three books ever written on them. You will find articles are written in the weeklies from time to time about them and also with the internet you can find articles on them to, but still they are mysterious and they have found there ways into many waterways not being held back by any boundaries , they also don,t seem to adhere to rules and in some way you could say they are anacists of the water. But this fish that is feared by its prey and prized by many is not so fearce out of water regardless of its looks and like the pike great care should be taken when handling them.
Kevin Wyatt 13th Nov 2008