Team UKMA Profile Gordy Howes

Tue 28 October 14


I started my fishing about 35 years ago with my father on the Great Ouse at St Ives near Cambridge. The good ole Winfield rod and reel kit from the local Woolworths were the early weapons, and I soon found myself catching perch (my first ever fish) roach, rudd, gudgeon bleak and ruffe. We’re very lucky in this area to have a multitude of lakes and river habitats to fish and as I grew my dad started taking me to the local gravel pits to fish for tench. The St Ives Complex is still renowned for its tench, but back in the 70’s and early 80’s a 5 pounder was considered a big fish, in recent years its thrown up tench to 12+ and bream to 18+. We fished predominately for tench but were also happy catching anything which came along. Bream and decent rudd also made up some of our bags. As the season changed and the tench stopped biting, we would spend the winters chasing the pike which lived both in the lakes and the river, if the lakes were frozen we’d move onto the river. If the river was flooded we’d be scuppered. Our general approach was a mobile one, a rod each, a bag of sprats from the fishmonger in town, a landing net, but no unhooking mat because they hadn’t been invented! The method used was the good ole sink and draw, casting the deadbait out and retrieving it erratically to simulate a dying fish. When it was time for a coffee we would either let the bait sink and we would watch the line for signs of movement, or alternatively a gazette bung and spiral weight were put on the line and we’d watch the float.

As time passed and I became more independent the pike fishing methods progressed also. Bigger static deadbaits were used. Drifter float fished livebaits, drop offs and optonic bite alarms meant a more sedentary approch. This was also the time when a few mates were starting to drive, which meant we could go further afield and fish lakes for other species. St Ives wasn’t known for its carp population as It is now, so we spent most weekends at the wimblington complex near Chatteris fishing for carp. Being able to travel also enabled us fish for pike further afield, and allot of our time was spent between the Amey Anglers Lakes at St Ives and various Fen drains. It was around this time my love affair with zander also began.

When I left school I was very fortunate to get a job working for Amey Anglers as an Assistant Fishery Manager. During the following 2 years I helped manage the Lakes at St Ives, Fen Drayton, Earith, wimblington and Thrapston Lagoon. Our work included bailiffing, fish rearing and stocking, fish rescues, swim building, brush and tree clearance. It was during this time I met the fisheries team from the then Anglian Water Authority, later to become the Environment Agency. After my 2 year period with ARC I secured a job as a fisheries officer with Anglian Water and remained there through its transitions for the next 20 years. My next fishy job brought me full circle back to the Lakes at St Ives when I took over the running of them in 2008. I left the EA to concentrate on the Fishery and I also bought a boat so I could fully utilise my skills at boat handling, fishing and my knowledge of the Fenland waterways in the form of a guiding service ‘Waterland Fishing’ generally fishing for predators, I have helped many anglers catch personal best zander and pike from the Fens, the River Severn, The Gt Ouse and local reservoirs, and am also the only guide to have a customer win the weekly Drennan Cup award with a Personal Best Zander of 16lb+ As a guiding service, I am sponsored by FOX international, who provide the boat with all the tackle and lures you could ever need, in addition to sponsoring me as a carp angler in my own right, a very fortunate position to be in.

During the past few years the lure fishing approach has become a serious addition to my pike fishing armoury as a few years ago we started fishing the big trout reservoirs with great success, both locally and further afield, with Grafham, Rutland, Chew and Blithfield being my main targets. My own personal best pike 25-10 came from Blithfield reservoir, on a trolled crank bait. I have yet to break the magical 30lb barrier, but I don’t consider that being through a lack of skill, but a lack of luck! However I do believe it’s just a matter of time before I’m in the 30’s club, or possibly one of my clients will get there first!


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UK Specialist Angler