Barford loses big match
Barford Lakes have been removed from the list of the 16 qualifying venues for the 2011 Fish-O'Mania knock-out extravaganza, leaving local anglers fuming and accusing the promoters of delivering a back-handed blow to the popular boss of the Norfolk fishery Sarah Thomson.
Barford pulled out of the 2010 tournament because of a sudden outbreak of the Khv virus that led to some of the lakes being closed while the deadly contagion was being dealt with under the guidance of Cefas and the Environment Agency.
Barford's match record holder Warren Martin of Dereham said: 'Sarah Thomson has worked superbly supporting this competition and the organising Angling Trust. She has organised promotion events to try and boost membership for the trust and Barford was one of the inaugural venues for the tournament.
'I have applied for a ticket every year, but no more, and I'm not alone among Norfolk anglers taking this stance.
'I do not imagine the promoter Barry Hearn of Matchroom Sport will lose any sleep over this because applications to compete are always over subscribed.'
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There has been no specific explanation why Barford, the only East Anglian water, has been overlooked. The competition organiser Mick Turner told Angling Times: 'The sad fact is there are no venues of sufficient size to host such events and the Midlands could host all 16 (qualifiers) there.'
Thomson, who may rightly feel hard done by after promoting the interests of the Angling Trust at every opportunity, said: 'We were disappointed we were not asked to hold a qualifier, not just for us as a business, but also for anglers who will now have to travel to compete.
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'Our decision to cancel this year was not taken lightly. We felt we would not be able to deliver value for the anglers and the standard of fishing a match of this importance requires. It is a shame that after working all the years we have worked hard we have not been awarded a qualifier next year.'
Online entry for the tournament is from 9am, January 17 to 4pm, February 7. The cost �25 to members of the Angling Trust only.
• Frozen solid in a massive whiteout with the tree tops decorated in Christmas card scenery – for anglers it was mission impossible on every Broad, most rivers, major boatyards and even on lakes where mechanical aerators were losing the battle against temperatures plunging up to 17 degrees below zero.
Midweek events went ahead before the vice of the stingiest December weather on record clamped down. But by the weekend many events were called off, leaving the River Wensum in Norwich the only natural waterway fit for purpose.
Water is the only liquid to expand on reaching freezing point and this physical property is the insulator that protects the fish stocks from freezing to death.
The climate has now reached a point were continuous disturbance of the water with paddle action could result in the formation of ice crystals from the bottom up rather than visa versa when temperatures become uniformly zero centigrade which represents a serious threat to all aquatic life below the surface.
• The River Wensum pairs event produced roach catches on Saturday, headed by Pete Swan of Earlham Silvers with 8lb 7oz. He and Wayne Anderson were the top two with 11lb 8oz.
At the Barford Saturday open, only three anglers weighed in, Steve Kindleysides of East Harling the winner with 22lb 7oz. It was equally grim there on Sunday when Shaun Greatbatch of Hinderclay was top rod with 22lb 6oz.