Carp men’s October-fest

October 2011 will go down in Norfolk angling history as a most prolific period, producing the county's heaviest mirror and common carp specimens.

The monster mirror, scaling 52lbs, was heaved out of the well-known Great Witchingham Charity Lakes at Lenwade by syndicate member Richie Lofthouse.

The Essex angling consultant, whose previous best came in at 46lb 4oz, fished the prolific Lenwade water on 25 occasions before he hooked and winched out the monster female known as Babyface that viewed a chunk of floating breadcrust as irresistible.

He told Angling Times: 'I had been feeding her with cubes of bread and she must have eaten 100 of them that weekend.

'Once I felt she was feeding confidently I carefully positioned my hook bait and she took it almost immediately.

'I lost this fish when the hook pulled out a month ago and I'm absolutely delighted to have landed her.'

Babyface was previously caught, scaling 50lb 12oz, by well-known carper Mike Whittingstall in 2007 and again last March at 51lbs for Norfolk syndicate member Ian Dowe.

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And to complete the local success, Airfield Lakes near Dickleburgh produced the county's top common carp last week, scaling 48lb 8oz.

Top rod to claim this venue and personal best specimen was Joe Morgan from Colchester who spent several days and nights stalking the monster before it was caught and safely netted and returned none the worse for its experience.

Airfield fishery boss Richard Wilby said he was blown away by the perfect quality of the Spitfire Lake specimen.

'The picture speaks 1,000 words and I am absolutely delighted for my mate Joe,' he said.

Elsewhere, top fish at Waveney Valley was a 32lb linear carp for regular Phil Jacobs, while at Taswood mirrors and commons in the low 20s fell to Kevin Smith of Lingwood, Julian Miller and Stuart Hutchinson of Norwich.

On the open match circuit 83-year-old Keith Fickling of Wymondham won the midweek with 19lb 11oz of small bream, while Tony Gibbons of the NDAA headed the Saturday card with 18lb 12oz of roach.

Top bag on the lakes fell to Fakenham's Peter Ashton with 113lb 4oz from the Decoy.

• Two anglers who were among no more than half a dozen match men in the early post-war years notable for revolutionising the sport with monofilament fine lines, tiny hooks and small fly larvae baits, passed away last week, well into their 80s.

Frank Wright, a founder of the Norwich and District AA and a life member was one of the few, as was Peter Collins, the first secretary of the Wroxham and District Angling Club, who helped launch the first Norfolk Broads Championship in the 1960s, attended by 650 anglers from far and wide.

Both men fished for Great Yarmouth and Norwich in national championships along with other pioneers Li Livard and Cyril Stibbons.

Cyril Wigg, a living octogenarian who has served the NDAA as match secretary, general secretary and now treasurer, said: 'These were anglers of the old school of match fishing.

'It was the real deal for natural rivers. Since then there have been vast changes, not always for the better.'