With the Angling Trust Winter League final creeping ever closer, more and more anglers from across the country are heading over to the fenland drains and Decoy Lakes with the intention of gaining as much knowledge and information as they can before the big day.
Unfortunately last weekend did them no favours at all.
Many had to contend with snow on their way over to the East of England and when they arrived two big overnight frosts put paid to any hopes of decent results on either venue.
The big March Open on the Old Nene at March which is scheduled to hold at least two sections of the final was patchy to say the least and I think that is being kind.
The majority of the leading weights all came from the bottom end at the BMX track and around Wigston Bridge.
St Ives rod Will Freeman took first place with a very respectable 16lb 11oz net of roach. For most of the match he kept the fish coming on bread punch but a final last 90 minutes fishing hempseed across to a boat sealed the deal for him to give him a hard earned win.
Pushing him all the way close by was runner-up Adrian McTiffin. He travelled hundreds of miles to fish and thankfully a good draw saw him weigh in over 150 fish all taken on pinkie over groundbait for 15lb 1oz.
Third was Midlander Ray Duram with 14lb 4oz, followed by Andy Johnson, representing the RAF, with a level 12lb.
Those anglers who opted to fish Decoy Lakes on Tuesday and at the weekend also found fish hard to come by.
Although the leading weights were very good there were quite a few anglers struggling for bites right around the fishery.
In the Tuesday Open it was fishery manager John Smalley who took first place with 76lb 3oz. He drew the hot peg 24 and fished a maggot feeder across to the island at the start of the match then came in to a halfway line which saw him take carp to double figures for the rest of the day.
Second was Mick Langley on 63lb 15oz, then came Richard King with 54lb 1oz.
The Saturday Open was fished across Six Islands and Horseshoe and in bitterly cold conditions I might add.
Matchwinner Billy Smalley drew peg two on the Six Islands pool and fished and fed sweetcorn all day to top a strong field with 76lb 9oz.
Richard Bond took the runner-up spot on 66lb 10oz, then it was Steve Price third with 42lb 8oz.
TONY EVANS WINTER LEAGUE
You would think by Sunday, sport would have settled down and the carp would want to feed, but no, if anything it got worse.
All the big guns were out in the Tony Evans Winter League match fished on the Beastie and Horseshoe pools.
All the leading weights came from Beastie with those drawn on Horseshoe really struggling.
In first place off peg 25 was rising star Tom Edwards with 79lb 11oz.
He caught at 16 metres on the pole using 4ml expander pellet and also took a few on a maggot feeder.
The consistent Richard Bond came in second with 67lb 10oz off peg nine and match organiser Tony Evans on peg 30 came in third with 66lb 11oz.
COCK INN AC
Even the usually consistent Four Island Pool at Decoy was rock hard for most of the day on Sunday for the Cock Inn club fishing their individual winter league.
Some anglers blanked completely, while others had to wait over three hours for their first fish.
The eventual winner was Steve Smith.
He took the honours with 44lb 8oz from peg seven, mainly f1s and a couple of mirror carp, which all fell to red maggot fished on a short pole line.
Runner-up from peg four was Brian Faulkner with 31lb 6oz and Paul Faulkner finished in third place with 22lb 2oz.