Clear bright water beckoned anglers back to the bank at the weekend.

Clear bright water beckoned anglers back to the bank at the weekend.The last vestiges of ice melted away under the influence of warming air temperatures that rose to double digits.

The anglers were out again, making up for the time lost during the prolonged freeze up.

On many lakes fish proved finicky after the long lay-off as the ice melt percolated to the bottom of still water fisheries where most of the carp had gathered in a state of hibernation.

At the popular Barford lakes catches were satisfactory for local clubs such as Norwich Oddfellows whose winner Dean Mason ended with a creditable 44lbs 6oz followed by Mick Cleere with 33lbs.

The Wymondham club at Barford was a silverfish affair with Tony Gibbons the winner with 28lbs 4oz of skimmer bream followed by Albert Farrow just 4oz off with 28lbs.


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The Attleborough match group at Besthorpe produced 39lbs 8oz for winner A Scarfe, while at the Beccles Quay Colin Davey won the veterans with 27lbs 9oz followed by David Roe with 24lbs 8oz, all bream to 2.5lbs.

On the open match circuit Steve Miller (Huntsmen) headed the midweek open at Burgh Castle with a mixed bag of 54lbs 4oz and at Hill Farm Banham C Chadwick (Wymondham) won with 34lbs 13oz.

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The Railway open was a close fought contest with only ounces separating Vince Cross (Ixworth) with 28lbs 14oz and Tony Feltham (Anglers World) with 28lbs 8oz.

It was a similar story for Marsh Trail where Alec Watson (Stalham) headed the card with 22lbs 10oz then John Collison (Dodds) 22lbs 4oz.

For once the River Wensum failed to come up to scratch, as a raging flood washed small branches, twigs and various other items of detritus through the popular match stretch.

Earlham Silvers members took one look at the conditions and departed without tackling up, but the Dukes members fished, their winner C Urry with a handful of bream totalling 14lbs 1oz.

By contrast the River Thurne was on splendid form for bream specialist brothers Kevin and David Paynter who fished the Martham bank to net dozens of skimmer bream and a number of slabs to over 4lbs.

The Yarmouth duo finished with estimated catches of up to 40lbs taken on a feeder rig with worm and maggot baiting the hooks.

Kevin Paynter said: 'The Thurne seemed barren of fish during the freeze up but the warmer conditions stimulated the fish in to a feeding frenzy and every angler on the bank was catching.'

Carp specialists found the going hard but Waveney Valley produced a number of mirrors and commons over 20lbs with more of the same expected once water temperatures rise further.

On the pike fishing front there is growing anxiety surrounding the welfare of these predatory species.

Chairman of the Norwich and District Pike Club Steve Roberts said: 'We are increasingly concerned by the way our local pike are being handled that could result in unnecessary mortalities.'

His comments followed a confrontation on the banks of the River Wensum where a sizeable pike was tossed carelessly onto the hard concrete path where it struggled and flapped losing vital scales in the process.

It is reported that other pike anglers remonstrated fiercely with the culprit and the incident was reported on the Environment Agency Hotline.

'We accept that pike angling beginners can panic when they hook a fish. Our advice is to seek advice on the Pike Anglers Club website or contact us,' said Roberts.

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