Angler Bob Wessells tames the gales with bream net of 43lb

by Roy Webster
Friday, November 30, 2012
2:54 PM

In the unlikely event of a rain soaked waterside karaoke singalong at the weekend, the favourite refrains definitely would not have been ‘When It Rains It Rains Pennies From Heaven’ nor ‘Let it Blow, Let it Blow’.

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On Sunday a more appropriate theme song would have been Harold Arlen’s 1933 composition Stormy Weather, for that just about summed up the awful buffeting endured by the bravest anglers who fished on undeterred by the most inclement conditions Mother Nature could cast at them.

These diehards suffered gale forces gusts up to 60mps driving horizontal torrents that an angling brolly could scarcely cope with without some form of natural growth acting as a windbreak.

“It wasn’t nice out there,” declared Norwich angler Tony Gibbons, who with typical understatement had ventured out to compete at Hinderclay.

This event was won by Bob Wessells with a commendable bream net of 43lb caught from rough water with the gale roaring over his left shoulder.

Club anglers wisely gave the deep water of the River Wensum a wide berth, but the Zenith fished the yacht station at Riverside where three anglers remaining at their pegs were headed by Tony Daniels, with a mixed bag of 5lb 13oz.

Another relentless downpour on Sunday night pushed the upper reaches of the River Wensum bank high and yesterday the flood plains were glistening by excess water that spilled over the banks.

However, once the flood recedes more superb chub like the 6lb 10oz beauty landed by Cromer expert Gareth Goldson, may be expected.

On the main Broads putting out in a flimsy rowboat was especially hazardous and most anglers may have wisely decided the better prospect was to remain in touch with the Canaries’ progress at Everton to earn a vital point, or tune in to the coverage of what was optimistically billed as the match of the day between upheaved Chelsea and a stuttering Manchester City that ended up a sterile bore draw.

Always there comes a handful of intrepid rodmen who bravely fish on in conditions that would deter St Peter.

One of those was Rhonan Newman, a carp enthusiast from Norwich, who tempted his personal best mirror carp from Taswood scaling 31lb 8oz and added a common of 21lb 4oz.

At Taverham, the River Wensum has become unfishable but a 24lb 8oz common carp was caught from the lake by Norwich regular James Imhope.

At Mill Farm, Sunday’s open event was a non-starter because not one angler turned up, but they went ahead on Monday when Ken Bird of Banham won with a respectable carp catch of 65lb 8oz. The top club man was Roger Taylor, the Codgers winner at Willow with 62lb 4oz.

Meanwhile, beach anglers are advised to avoid the shingle at Cley, Salthouse, Kelling and Weybourne at the weekend when 29 teams of five will be competing in the two-day National Sea League final.

• According to a report from a conference hosted by the International Otter Fund, the BBC has offered to screen an otter special in one of its future Springwatch series where representatives of the Predator Action Group (PAG) will be invited to join the debate and put their case for controlling otter numbers, otherwise known as culling.

However, if news and pictures of catches of our indigenous fish species up and down the country and from our own free Broads and rivers are any guide, then there appears to be an equitable balance despite half a dozen different fish predators of fur and feather. There is a general suspicion that supporters of an otter cull have vested interest in commercial fisheries or are private owners and angling clubs who have not yet managed to fund otter fencing.

Those who have grasped the importance of non-angling opinion, including television and radio angling presenter Keith Arthur, share this huge worry that angling cannot emerge from a Springwatch programme without non-angling majority viewer support if the PAG cannot accept that fish were not put on this planet solely for the gratuitous pleasure of rod and line fishermen.

An angler who does not believe this is a treading on eggshells strategy should study the finer points of the badger culling debacle and be prepared to be targeted by wildlife vigilante groups and face the possible closure to angling on nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest governed by the Wildlife and Countryside Acts.

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