A very difficult week for anglers

That catchy ditty Baby Its Cold Outside, composed by Frank Loesser in 1944 and recorded by such legendary artists as Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and our own Tom Jones, may not have been penned as a timely advice for anglers to stay home.

Even so, the lyrics could certainly have been applied this past winter and early spring when biting easterlies energised in the arctic circle continued to buffet us relentlessly even though winter was supposed to gave given way to spring following last week's venal equinox.

To report that the quality of fishing has been generally abysmal would be understating the hypothermic conditions anglers suffered in the face of blustering weather whose temperatures barely rose above zero with a wind chill factor up to -5C penetrating the bone marrow of exposed limbs.

As always some fish were caught by pleasure anglers selecting promising swims and by match men drawing on a fish shoal as tightly packed as sardines in a tin, huddled against the worst elements that nature could inflict on them.

Before the weather turned really bitter the Wymondham club visited Colton where Mark Edwards won with 81lb 4oz of carp. Their visit to Fishmere was less rewarding with Andy Rapley scoring with 25lb 4oz.

Mulbarton club lakes treated winner Simon Parker to a catch of 43lb 11oz but the cold had set in at Melton Ponds, where Graham Dashwood won the UG with just 6lbs 8oz of the only carp caught.

At the Willow Open, top rod was Dave Jarvis with 67lb 9oz, while at Colton, Rodney Patrick, who won the Barford midweek with 43lb 2oz, completed the double by winning the Oddchaps at Colton with 59lb 4oz.

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At the Dilham fishery a surprising net of 9lb 2oz red finned rudd was the only entry on the Stalham club card while at Cobble Acre it was roach only for army boy Andy Turner leading the three returns with 16lb 6oz.

Because the stiff breezes, there have been no major freeze overs. On the down side there was no warm layer established in the water column and that's why catches plunged.

Whatever the weather a never-say-die minority will fish on come what may, but with the weather men and women forecasting no changes for the better this side of the weekend prospects are distinctly discouraging.

One venue to visit is the Swangey Lakes fishery where Gorlestons's Shaun Geary winched out eight carp on Friday the best of them four 20s-29lb 2oz.

In this venue there are monumental bream up to 14lb, tench into double figures and pike to the low 30s which may be deferring their spawning activities until the weather breaks.

The Catch 22 fishery at Lyng Eastaugh has produced five carp over 20lb in the past 10 days all commons to 27lb 8oz. For pike anglers there are known specimens to over 30lb with dead bait available on site.

Waveney valley lakes are recommended as a winter venue by carp coach Jim Shelley who assisted his pupil to share a haul of eight monster mirrors in arctic conditions.

Hall Farm Lake, Burgh Castle, is a prolific mixed fishery not far from Breydon Water offering numerous carp over 20lb along with hefty bream and tench.

The Barford fishery is perhaps more noted as a match water but recreational angling is high on their agenda for all popular species.

Gimingham Lakes, given a face-lift and restocked recently, may benefit from the location by the sea where air temperatures stabilise a couple of degree higher than inland. Plenty of quality carp and chunky tench in these waters as well as hefty bream and perch.

In central Norfolk the Woodrising lake at Cranworth is worth a winter visit if only to enjoy the monster perch and tench as well as the double figure carp to over 20lb and sparkling roach.

Finally, many thanks to all the anglers who kindly bothered to wish this octogenarian best wishes for his 80th this month. I hope both of them also make a healthy ripe old age.

• Take a Friend Fishing Week commences on Saturday when holders of a current rod licence are invited to introduce a friend to the sport, with the eqivalent of a free one-day licence available in cut-out voucher form in this week's national angling magazines.

This is an Angling Trust and Angling Trades Association initiative prompting Barford Fisheries to issue one-day permits to their regulars that will include a friend on a buy-one-get-one-free basis.

Barford manager Sarah Thomson advises it it essential to validate the voucher online: www.takeafriendfishing.co.uk – further information from Sarah on 01603 759624.