Biffin’s Bridge men have an appetite for match success
- Credit: Archant
When the wind is in the east, the fish bite least.
Do not believe a word of it. For whoever coined that threadbare phrase was way off the beaten track of common knowledge of fish behaviour.
That fundamental fact was emphasised at the weekend when lake carp and river silver fish fed with ravenous abandon, despite face-numbing easterlies driving into East Anglia from the Siberian wastelands.
There are no special fish-friendly, aquatic weather screens that can indicate barometric isobars, wind direction or temperature.
Whether fish feed depends entirely on a natural urge to remedy that empty feeling which higher lifeforms like ourselves recognise as appetite.
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A keen appetite for the fray was certainly the key element for match men who had the stomach to compete in the final round of the Barford Winter League.
And, true to form, the star Norwich outfit Biffin's Bridge (Lee Carver, Glen and Dean Mason, Gary Kiddell and Paul Yeoman) joyfully claimed the 2015 title ahead of outgoing champions Matrix.
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Matrix, who had not enjoyed the best of draws according to team boss Warren Martin, ended the tournament on a high note with a 20 penalty points victory.
It was not sufficient to vibrate the solid foundations of Biffin's Bridge, whose joint runners-up spot on the day with 22 points with Barford Tackle was enough to lift the title with a series score of 139 and Matrix trailing on 150.
The new champions clinched victory when Dean Mason recorded the day's heaviest catch – 88lb 20oz from Willow peg eight.
Dave Jarvis (Suffolk AD) was runner-up with 70lb 15oz from Railway 40, followed by Andy Leathers (Wensum Valley Tackle) with 67lb 6oz from Railway 60.
Jubilant winning team captain Carver, who also competed under the Angling Direct banner, said: 'A fantastic final round produced some great catches of carp across the fishery, the best of the series.
'Our team members caught fish in every round and that kept us in front. We completed the first round with only four anglers when Alan Hilton broke his wrist, but finished fourth. Dean Mason volunteered to fill his place and he earns my special thanks for assisting in the triumph for Norwich anglers.'
That view was endorsed by league organiser Daniel Brydon, who said: 'I congratulate Biffin's Bridge, who apart from the first round, did not score another blank.
'However, there are other Norwich teams, such as Bowthorpe, who entered the league for the first time and they settled in well.'
If the Barford Fishery provided a grandstand finish it is even more difficult to find superlatives to describe the spectacular results returned in the Last Chance Open Event on the River Yare, following such a grueller seven days earlier.
But this was March 14, the final day of the river term when the fish decided to join in a fabulous finish to mark the end of a magnificent season throughout Broadland.
This match stretch below the Beauchamp Arms produced a miserly top catch of 2lb 4oz previously – but what a turnabout.
On Saturday, 20 of the brave diehards weighed in double-figure nets of bream and roach, headed by Deben's Paul Abbott with a mixed bag of 25lb 10oz from peg 61.
Runner-up Will Freeman, the Preston Innovations star who is no stranger to success on this venue, scored with an all-roach net of 21lb from peg 77, followed by the RAF's Simon Pointer, with 15lb 15oz, from 82, Kevin Howlett (Shrublands) with 15lb 10oz from 121 and fishery boss Andy Wilson-Sutter, with 15lb 5oz, from 146, plus an ineligible 2lb sea trout.
Wilson-Sutter said: 'It was like fishing a different river from the previous week when conditions were all against us.
'But following Saturday's result, I now have 40 names already on the list for the June 16 opener.'
Elsewhere on the match lakes, Simon Parker (Angling Direct) headed the card at Mill Farm with 114lb 2oz.