by Roy Webster
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Norfolk’s top woman match angler struck a mighty blow for the distaff side of the sport on Sunday.
It happened in the first round of the Barford winter league for teams of five, where Jeanette Halliday blew her male opposition out of the water at peg 17 with an all-conquering Joan of Arc performance on the Barford Pleasure Lake, lit up at the end by the reflection from crimson male faces.
This relentless manageress of the Beccles branch of the Angling Direct tackle retail company, who cut her competitive teeth with the Norwich Viking Whalers, heaved out carp to 12lb apiece to score an overwhelming, scale-crunching 83lb 4oz.
And just to add testimony to her domination with the rod and reel, she baited up with crisp kernels of sweetcorn to beat the Barford men into submission.
One of the beaten was the league organiser Daniel Brydon, who bravely admitted he had been soundly thrashed by this relentless “lady of the lake”.
“Jeanette Halliday is recognised as a match angler on level terms with the best of us,” he accepted.
“To be honest we were incapable of keeping up with her prowess or the quality of the fish she kept netting. Hers was a superb performance.”
And Jeanette’s own verdict? “Obviously I am pretty delighted, but of course I benefited from drawing one of the top swims full of carp.
“As far as I was concerned, it was a nice day’s fishing and no, the fish I caught were not all males!
“My first catch was small stockie carp after about half an hour. I had a few more, then cast further into the lake and hooked a beauty of 12lbs and never looked back, only glancing sideways to watch some of the boys trying to keep up.”
Keep up? No chance. For come the final whistle there was not a single catch on the Pleasure Lake much more than half of the winner’s haul, and the next five on the card were actually fishing on the Railway Lake where Tim Nash of Hotrods bagged the best at 65lb 11oz.
Team winners were Barford Tackle with 15 penalty points, with Daiwa AD Blue runners-up on 18.
The remaining four rounds of the tournament are January 20, February 3 and 17 and March 3.
Meanwhile the hectic action on the River Wensum at Riverside continued, with more quality catches showing up at the Linda Thompson Memorial Open on New Year’s Day.
Will Freeman (Browning Hotrods) hit the tape first with 27 bream and a few roach scaling 53lb 7oz at the bridge peg 17, all taken on red maggot. Fishing from an adjacent peg, Glen Hubbard (Daiwa AD) shared the massive shoal of slabs to end with 47lb 9oz, then followed Nick Larkin (Nisa Feeders) with 28lb 7oz from the yacht station and David Roe (Daiwa AD) was next with 27lb 5oz from the same section.
And to illustrate how the fish were fairly spread throughout, Wayne Anderson (Daiwa AD) lifted out 24lb 5oz from the Coalyard and Shaun James (Dukes) bagged 22lb from the fire hydrant swim.
Organiser Tony Gibbons said: “Although bream were the vital species, quality roach appeared too and around 1,000 of them were weighed in.”
Steve Borrett headed the Sunday card with 17lb 3oz, then Pete Swan with 16lb 15oz and Wayne Anderson, 16lb 10oz. All three are Daiwa AD squadmen.
Elsewhere on the match lakes, Pete Walthew (Myhills) was the best at Mill Farm with 52lb 6oz, Paul Ashford (Barford ) won the Barford Saturday with 79lb 1oz and Rod Finch headed the Cobble Acre midweek with 41lb.
On the carp lakes, rising temperatures improved sport.
At Swangey, fish of the week was a 31lb linear for Ben Morgan of East Harling. James Goffin of Great Yarmouth netted a 25lb common and his 11-year-old son Dylan bagged his best tench at 5lb 8oz.
Other successes were Stuart Howes, of Wymondham, and John Wright, of Norwich, with specimens to the mid 20s. At Waveney Valley, Brian Thrower, of Great Yarmouth, reported a 26lb common and Lowestoft’s Andy Bryanton had four in the low to mid 20s.
• The angler with the famous little green rod and an ancient reel is no more. Pensioner Gordon Dixon of Aylsham, who set up a stunning match record on the North Walsham Kingfisher club lake of 222lb at the age of 72 in 2009 with gear he purchased for less than a fiver in 1969, passed away just before Christmas aged 75.
Apart from catching scores of giant carp and tench as well as a massive 5lb plus eel from Filby Broad, Gordon also burnt the midnight oil as a formidable poker player long before the game took off on TV or internet.
Although on occasions he took wads of cash off us, we delighted in his company and, this 80-year-old will miss him immensely and hopes to meet him again over the green baize in another place to even the score.
Commenting on the amazing record catch, North Walsham Kingfisher match secretary Liam Baker said: “Despite his health problems Gordon fished three times a week. Some of his tackle was older than some of us. He was unbelievable.”