Norfolk boy ‘hooked’ on fishing after winning contest with broken arm

Thoman Gell, 12, the best overall angler, caught over 22lb of fish. Photo: Sarah Thomson

Thoman Gell, 12, the best overall angler, caught over 22lb of fish. Photo: Sarah Thomson - Credit: Archant

When 12-year-old Thomas Gell broke his arm, he thought his dream of landing first place at an angling competition was the one that got away.

Thomas taking part in the angling final at Barford Lakes. Photo: Matthew Potter

Thomas taking part in the angling final at Barford Lakes. Photo: Matthew Potter - Credit: Archant

But the Wayland Academy pupil pulled off a stunning upset when he won the Norfolk Summer School Games angling final - using just one hand.

Thomas broke his right arm competing in the high jump at school, on Monday, June 12. The following day he took part in the angling qualifiers, held at Barford Lakes - and won.

He later took part in the final day of the games on Friday, June 23, fishing for the Breckland School Sport Partnership (SSP) A Team.

After an impressive catch of 22lb one oz of fish, Thomas, who is in Year Eight, won the title of individual best angler, while his team achieved second place.

The teams at the Norfolk Summer School Games, at Barford Lakes. Photo: Matthew Potter

The teams at the Norfolk Summer School Games, at Barford Lakes. Photo: Matthew Potter - Credit: Archant


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Thomas, who had only ever fished twice before, said: 'I wasn't very into it before, but now I've seen what fishing's like, I'm hooked.'

He added that he had his grandad on hand at the event, to 'unhook the fish for me,' but that 'everything else I did myself.'

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'Sarah and Duncan [from Barford Lakes] really helped me out', he said, while his mum added that her son was 'glowing with praise' for the Barford Lakes team after the event.

Sarah Thomson, who works at Barford Tackle, kitted Thomas out with a whip fishing pole, enabling him to fish without the use of his right hand. This type of rod doesn't have a reel, making it ideal for juniors and beginner anglers, and enabled left-handed Thomas to participate in the games.

The winning team at the Norfolk Summer School Games, at Barford Lakes. Photo: Matthew Potter

The winning team at the Norfolk Summer School Games, at Barford Lakes. Photo: Matthew Potter - Credit: Archant

Thomas estimated that he caught between 25 and 30 silver fish, in addition to three carp.

The West Norfolk A team placed first in the angling final, and was composed of Luke Boughen, Jacob Clarke and Thomas Wagg, who collectively landed 33lb one oz. The Breckland B Team was made up of Silas Nile, and Jimmy Rowland, who came 4th and 3rd in section respectively, alongside Thomas Gell who took 1st place. The team landed 31lb one oz and scored eight penalties, compared to the winning team's six.

Over 40 secondary school pupils fished in the final from all over Norfolk, all aiming to be crowned Norfolk School Games Angling Winners 2017.

The angling final is part of the Norfolk Summer School Games: the largest school sport event ever to be held in Norfolk.

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