East Anglia may be noted for the quality of its commercial-water fishing, but there’s plenty for the river angler to get their teeth into as well.
Take the beautiful River Nene, Castor Backwater five miles from the city of Peterborough. This day-ticket offshoot from the River Nene has rightly been gaining a reputation for the quality of its barbel fishing, but there’s much more to Castor Backwater than barbel.
Meandering a couple of miles from a weir at the top end, the backwater has all the features the roving angler would want.
There are fast gravelly runs, where earlier in the season barbel could be seen spawning (fishing was banned on this stretch then), slower areas on the inside of bends, and abundant weed and reeds. It all makes for the perfect location for angler after a specimen river fish. Apart from those barbel – several fish into double figures have been taken over the past few seasons – there are lots of chub with most fish over 3lb.
In addition, a surprising number of carp have been seen during the past month, including some large koi which were probably released from garden ponds, and there are rumours of big perch as well.
The normal roving tactics all work; for a big-fish approach, try anchoring a boilie or two on the bottom with a 2oz lead between weedbeds. Luncheon meat and pellets is other favourite offerings, and far less selective. You’ll get chub, barbel and maybe even a surprise bream or two on this.
A lighter approach with a link leger works well for the chub, while anglers can enjoy good sport on maggots with small fish from those swims that can be fished with a float.
Whatever you do, though, travel light; Caster Backwater is a fishery that rewards a travelling approach.
When barbel fishing, introduce a few broken-up boilies to the swim, to complement t your hookbaits.
Venue fact file
Location: Castor Backwater, Station Road, Ailsworth, Peterborough, Cambs, PE8 4DE
Prices: £5 a day, Peterborough DAA
Contact: Club secretary Andy Jackson, tel: 01778 346698
Rules: Specimen anglers must carry an unhooking mat and substantial landing net.