Personal bests galore on the Great Ouse

THE Great Ouse underlined again this week why it is a specimen hunter’s winter paradise by providing two anglers with new personal bests.

Seasoned all-rounder Jamie Cartwright had suffered a run of blanks on a little-fished club stretch of the Midlands river so far this winter, but put that firmly behind him by banking a new pb perch of 4lb 9oz.

It was the only fish of a bitterly cold day and fell to a link-legered lobworm, presented over a bed of broken worms and maggot close to a marginal snag.

“An hour or so before I had the fish, I missed a decent bite and thought maybe that was my chance gone for the day. Then I started getting a few tentative plucks, so I span the reel handle once to move the bait along the bottom – it worked a treat because the tip then sailed round. Playing it was a hairy experience because I could see the fish was very lightly hooked by a tiny flap of skin on the outside of its mouth!” said Jamie, who is a member of the Northampton Specimen Group.

The perch upped his previous best by 6oz and was beaten with the help of a 6lb reel line, straight through to a size 6 wide gape hook.

Another angler celebrating a successful trip to the Ouse was Jason Mash, who smashed his chub pb out of sight when he slipped his net under a 7lb 8oz fish from a stretch near Bedford.

After banking a fish of 5lb 6oz on lobworms early on in his day trip, the 48-year-old switched to the highly unconventional offering of a small section of sprat before dark and a couple of hours later was admiring his prize in the folds of his net.

“The stretch has low numbers of chub – you certainly couldn’t put together a net of them - but the ones that are present all seem to be pretty big!” said Jason, from Luton, who used 6lb line straight through to a size 4 hook, with a small lead free running and held in place by a couple of float stops.