Barsham gets a big seal of approval

Predation is a big issue in angling but it does not come much bigger than the seal which roved from Boater's Hills at Beccles right upstream into Barsham.

It enjoyed three days swimming and feeding with un-abandoned care having come up with the big tide. Possibly also following up migrating shoals it is about a decade since the last sleek and voracious visitor graced us. It captured several pike between 3-7 lbs and a very nice tench out of the quay, then got quite a penchant for sympathetic anglers sprats but was eventually removed from dry land. Whilst this put the fish off feeding for a while there were some good bags taken at Beccles, not on the flood, top of the water, but more on a strong run down. The quality is improving all the time and some nice pound skimmers begin to show too.

Annoyed anglers attempting to fish the Waveney at Beccles between the quay head and upstream small dyke have found themselves losing the right to fish. Asked by the harbourmaster to vacate spaces now that electric standing points have been positioned for mooring boats it further depletes what was a great fishing location. From 30 pegs they are now down to seven. It's not just local clubs affected, even the popular Norfolk & Suffolk Veterans' section find themselves unable to host their competitions there any more.

It is angling at the bottom of the pile again along one of the best winter free fishing spots on the Waveney.

Sometimes we get a glimpse of the river in a way we never knew it was in spite of the countless hours over half a century we have fished on it.

The drying out of Ellingham Mill, exposing areas untouched for perhaps 300 years to renew the bridge and waterpasses, has exposed tremendous springs that requires three pumps, running 24 hours a day to keep the level down.

There have been no fish losses with almost every fish caringly transferred to below the substantial plastic sheeted dam into more tidal flow.

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There is still great fishing at the majority of well-run commercials both large and small, but alas one or two of those smaller fisheries who have not kept up the predator protection with otter fences received a recent battering again. It is value for money in particular at Topcroft which has settled nicely for the cooler weather.