Biffin’s Bridge chief is not giving up on championship

Michael Spinks caught a pb pike on Saturday morning while fishing on the river Ant in Norfolk.The fi

Michael Spinks caught a pb pike on Saturday morning while fishing on the river Ant in Norfolk.The fish took live bait bream on the float. - Credit: Archant

At long last there is a whiteness along the waterside that is not hoare frost.

Carpets of snowdrops are signalling that spring is just around the corner. And with a bit of luck those late snow storms that once blanketed the Broads as we approach the March vernal equinox, will fall as rain.

The chilling north easterlies that blunted the appetites of fish earlier this year gave way last week to a more comfortable climate of frost free nights and sunny days.

In the fourth round of the Barford Winter League, the fish responded, producing a stunning top catch of 106lb 5oz for Stu Elmar (Pools Fodder), his best specimen from Railway peg 40 a 10lb mirror carp.

Elmar, who tempted his quarry on a variety of baits offered both on pole and feeder rigs, shared his fish shoal with Stu Bracey (Browning Hotrods) at Railway 41, where his feeder tactic produced a runners–up catch of 76lb 15oz.

And to confirm the Railway Lake is the top draw venue, Vince Cross (Wensum Valley Tackle) was third with 70lb 8oz from peg 1.

Next was Glen Mason (Biffin's Bridge) with 58lb 1oz from Pleasure Lake 27, followed by Richard Bond (Browning Hotrods) with 55lb 14oz from the Willow.

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The important section winners were Elmar, Cross, Mason, Bond and Major (18lb 5oz).

Distilling these positional numbers into a team result on the day, the list reads: Browning Hotrods 15pp; Pools Fodder 24; Biffin's Bridge 25; Wensum Valley Tackle and Barford Tackle both 27.

Thus the leading contenders after four rounds are Biffin's Bridge 87, Matrix 105, Browning 111, Wensum Valley Tackle 113; Pools Fodder 114.

Lee Carver, team boss of Biffin's Bridge, said his men had performed superbly to come third on the day from a below average draw.

'Glen Mason won his section and the rest of us put some fish on the scales to finish only nine points adrift of winners Hotrods,' said Carver.

'Ours is the only team without a single blank in the four rounds so far and unlike the champions Matrix, who were bottom team on Sunday, this devotion to make every small fish count is why we are going to win this tournament.'

Winning the tournament has been the prime objective of Hainford matchman Colin Urry. He achieved it in some style on Sunday, chalking up his ninth section victory in 10 starts in the competitive line–up in the Angling Direct River Wensum League along Riverside.

Urry, a 51-year-old transport manager, who attempted to decelerate his championship success as 'a lucky break', fooled nobody. His was a hugely skilful performance.

For the past 12 months or so this paper's match pages have analysed the rivers' potential and suggested a change of tactic to attract winter perch could gain a distinct advantage on river and boatyard venues.

Pressed on this subject, the new king of the Wensum admitted that perch he caught up to 2lb 5oz had made the difference in several rounds of the tournament.

'I pole fished for roach well out into the river, but also went for perch close in, often no more than a foot from the river wall,' he commented.

'I could not have won this title without those perch.'

Thus the analysis that perch could become an important match species was confirmed, not only on the Wensum this winter, but also in Rockland Dyke, where the EAPS have staged their winter events.

And it's also worth remembering that when rivers become crystal clear in summer, these hefty stripeys could feature significantly at the all-important weigh in.

On the subject of river results, the Norfolk and Suffolk Veterans recorded phenomenal catches of roach and bream on the River Waveney at Beccles.

Tony Gibbons won the Tuesday contest with a mixed bag of 46lb 6oz, while Mike Whittaker headed the Thursday card with an all bream net of 43lb 4oz.

'Dredging work going on upstream coloured up the water, inducing these fish to feed,' explained match organiser Joe Beckham when discussing the fixtures.

Looking ahead the popular Wensum Valley two day freshwater championship is fixed for March 7 and 8 – day one pairs, day two individual.

Further information from Tony Gibbons on 01603 400973 for an event that promises quality catches of chub, roach and dace.

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