Angling season back with a bang
It really was the glorious 16th. That was the almost unanimous verdict from keen anglers fishing their favourite natural waterways after patiently enduring the statutory 93-day break.
None were more happy than a magnificent turnout in the first round of the Nisa Feeder League, staged on a sporting tidal River Yare between Rockland and Langley.
Top bag was a mighty haul of bream totalling 85lb 12oz, winched out by an absolutely bewitched Wayne Anderson from peg number 119 at the prolific lower end of the match length.
The Norwich Daiwa Angling Direct ace fished a combination of maggot, caster or worm on a standard feeder rig to tempt around 30 bream up to four pounds apiece to establish an outright victory with more than 20 pounds to spare.
However, Nigel Proctor from Biggleswade, on his first visit to this wonderful Broads match venue, could not even in his wildest dreams believe he would conjure up a catch of around 20 bream to finish runner-up with 60lb 2oz from peg 113.
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It was this fertile downstream section that produced the mainframe catches, with third spot going to Simon Hayley (Suffolk Angling Direct) with 39lb 12oz from peg 111.
Needless to say, this fabulous fishing came on a day when most pundits would have forecast a difficult shift in crystal clear conditions on a mainly ebb tide. But against the form book, all sections were won with at least reasonable catches into the high teens and advancing beyond the magical 30lb mark.
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For jubilant match promoter Andy Wilson-Sutter, the results fully justified his efforts to expand the tournament to cater for 95, an entry still likely to grow beyond the 100 mark as more bank becomes available.
'At first I believed 80 anglers would seem a reasonable entry, but as the days closed in on the new season, the telephone never stopped ringing from anglers who wanted to participate in our league,' he observed. 'I managed to squeeze in everybody, but I know there are more anglers waiting in the wings.'
Meanwhile, the tussle for top top honours in the Suffolk Teams of Five Summer League is gathering heat, and following a fascinatingly close third round at Cross Drove the tournament is back in the mixer.
Deben Select hauled themselves into contention with a 15 section penalty point victory while pace setters DAIWA Angling Direct Blue scored 19 with Red and Gold tied on 23.
Gold's team skipper Tony Anderson was top rod with 59lbs 7oz with Blue's Simon Elliott runner up with 57lbs 12oz followed by Deben's Andy Leathers with 56lbs. Those results left DAIWA AD Red top of the table with 7 league penalty points then DAIWA AD Black with 9 and Deben Select 10 with Bait Tech and DAIWA AD Gold both on 13.
The fourth round is scheduled for the river Yare on July 15 and according to league boss Mick Hanks it may prove a game changer.
'We've just had a great match at Cross Drove where 1,610lbs of fish were weighed in. The next round on the big tidal river will present the usual problem of whether to go for bream or bust or seek vital section points by adopting roach tactics,' he said. Away from the match action pleasure anglers visiting their favourite rivers and broads over the weekend report excellent catches.
On the river Bure at St Benets on Monday Wymondham club veterans Keith Fickling and Albert Farrow contacted shoals of small to medium sized bream a couple of hundred meters downstream of the Abbey ruins. The pair ended their session with a joint catch of around 80lbs with quality fish falling to worm on a feeder rig.
Hefty bream were reported from the top of the river Ant above Weyford Bridge at the confluence of the Dilham canal where local rod Dick Owers and friends reeled slabs to over 6lbs. There were the usual early session regulars on the river Thurne where the appropriately named Cold Harbour was wind swept forcing anglers to fish the feeder for skimmer bream.
On the main Broads Hickling enthusiasts were relieved to discover the huge bream shoals were out there waiting. That is the encouraging report from Whispering Reeds boatyard where the management suggested the public scare mongering during the minor outbreak of Prymnesium was somewhat over the top.
It's a similar happy story from Horsey Mere where boat anglers during the opening hours displayed massive nets of bream witnessed by the warden. On the non tidals quality chub up to the 6lbs mark were caught from the river Wensum at Taverham with similar specimens from the other Lenwade day ticket stretch at Lenwade and from the syndicated banks.
On the carp lakes fish of the week at Taswood was a 32lb common for Micheal Pye of Swaffham with numerous specimens in the 20's for Norwich regulars Alan Topley and Julian Miller and for Kevin Smith of Lingwood, Dave Caldwell of Fakenham and Richard Fearn of Lowestoft. While the top at Taverham lake was a 25lbs 4oz common for bailiff Alan Gray.