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Fish will get back on the feed as weather warms up

06:32 15 February 2017

James Hubbard 12lb 2oz caught from Beccles. Picture: SAM HONEYWOOD

James Hubbard 12lb 2oz caught from Beccles. Picture: SAM HONEYWOOD

Archant

Milder climes might encourage a few more anglers to return to the banks and get the fish back on the feed.

Rivers and drains have largely been in the doldrums in recent weeks, with little apart from smaller silver fish showing on the Ouse. Is it all down to the ups and downs of the weather of late – or is it the lack of people out there fishing?

With just a month left of the season, it won’t be long until the early spawners start moving to their breeding grounds. Perch and pike spawn first, so their fry are big enough to eat the young of other species like roach and bream by the time they get round to spawning.

Clever stuff, Mother Nature. But it also makes both vulnerable to swings in the weather, especially fluctuating water levels and harsh run-offs.

When I used to live and breathe pike fishing, I often pondered the sometimes sharp swings in the quality of it in the Fens.

A mild end to the winter would sometimes see pike spawning before March 14. But heavy rain and heavy flow in its aftermath could also see fry washed away. The odds against a newly-hatched pike growing from an egg to a twenty pounder are almost astronomical.

Perhaps in the years when the odds are stacked against them not enough survive to make it.

A good spawning year means lots of jacks to wade through for a few seasons but there are a lot more of them around to potentially reach the hallowed weight.

Then again, a counter argument says when there are fewer of them about, there’s less competition for food, so those that survive can grow bigger faster.

Whatever you think, one thing that’s undisputed is they’re now at their heaviest, with spawn adding up to 20pc to the body weight of a mature female as their ovaries take on water.

That explains why the biggest fish are usually caught around the back-end of the season, when the Fat Lady’s warming up her vocal chords.

Fish are still having it on the stillwaters, with bream to 5lbs and chub obliging on the Shepherd’s Lake at Snettisham, along with a few roach and carp.

Springside has also been throwing up a few carp on milder days.

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