A piker's pike angler - Denis Moules with a recent capture
Denis Moules is our special guest as we re-launch the region at the Wm Burt Club, West Winch, on October 26. Here's a taste of what you can expect when Digger hits the oche.
"My late father took me fishing from the age of five," he said. "We fished on most of the Fenland drains around Walton Highway where I was born. Dad’s favourite places were the Middle Level, Relief Channel
and Morton’s Leam. When I was old enough dad took me pike fishing at Morton’s Leam.
"We would spin with Colorado spoons using a large centre pin reel and tank aerial rod. We caught nothing but a seed was sown. As I grew up I was allowed to cycle to the Middle Level and my younger brother
Roger tagged along. We caught lots of pike but thankfully none were big as mother used them for
"I went to boarding school at Holt Hall in 1963 and whilst there read regularly of Dennis Pye’s
Broadland captures and this made a big impact on me. There was a copy of Dennis’s book “The Way
I Fish” in the Library and I read it to death.
"As I grew up I played football and cricket for my village and other clubs and pike fishing dropped
down my list a bit. I eventually joined the Police Force and moved to Cambridge in 1968. I continued
to pike fish when possible and when a severe knee injury curtailed my football I began to pike fish
"The Fens were on fire and I visited places where my father had taken me years before. My first 20
came from the Relief Channel just south of Downham Bridge and a few days later I caught one of 24
lbs. from the Old West. The Fenland drains are up and down but one of the most important things I
have learned is that the good swims will return to life eventually
"I basically taught myself to pike fish but learned a lot from Ray Webb and Barrie Rickard’s
book “Fishing for Big Pike”. I got to know Barrie and he informed me he with others was forming the
PAC. I have been a member from day one eventually becoming Regional Organiser for Cambridge
and then Liaison Officer for East Anglia.
"I usually fished with my own pals but got to know all the stars of the 1970’s. Bob Church and John
Mc Angus became good friends and on occasions I fished with them. Bill Chillingworth was always
one step ahead of most but had his own select band of friends.
"Over the years I have fished most of Fenlands waters. I now have 104 pike over 20 lbs. topped by
one of 31 lbs. 8 Oz’s. At present I am catching some very good pike from one or two drains. The Fens
are never producing big pike from every drain, so it pays to have good knowledge of several.
"I am often asked if the pike fishing is as good as it was in the 1970s. This is a hard one to answer but
the answer is yes, but you have to work hard and have a lot of good information or long experience
to reach the heights of the 1970s
"I have written two books – “The Fenland Thirties – A History of Fenland Pike” and “Fenland Pike”
with Mark Barrett. Both have been outstanding successes and very popular in piking circles
"I am a great believer in putting something back into the sport and represent the PAC on the Lower
Great Ouse and Fenland Fisheries Consultative. Here we make representations to the EA about the
Fenland Drains and highlight what we think is wrong.
"Recently a new by - pass pump has been constructed at Welmore Sluice on the Delph to rapidly
remove flood water from the Ouse washes. This should prevent future pollutions on this drain. Also,
the John Rennie sluice at Denver has been de - silted which should help the Relief Channel return to
its former glory. These projects were undertaken as a result of my representations to LGOFFC.
"At present I am working closely with Ashley Brown of Kings Lynn AA and PAC to highlight long
underlying problems with the Old Bedford. This has suffered badly as a fishery in recent years
(EA surveys confirm this). Local Angling Trust officials are also actively involved. As the man
said: “Nothing escapes the eye of a lone pike fisherman”!
"My talk and digital presentation is titled “A life with Fenland Pike” - my pike fishing from day one. I
will also be selling signed copies of my book."
Denis will be our special guest at the Wm Burt Club, West Winch, on Wednesday, October 26 (7.30pm). All are welcome - you don't have to be a PAC member to attend.