Double delight for Daiwa Angling Direct member Robert Hubbard

The Wensum Angling Festival was a winner all round the anglers helped swell the charity event coffe

The Wensum Angling Festival was a winner all round the anglers helped swell the charity event coffers to £566 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, with more money to be added to an impressive pot once bucket collections are added. - Credit: Archant

All season Robert Hubbard, like his fictitious aging namesake, had visited a cupboard seemingly bone bare of some of the better peg numbers that would have granted him a top-five finish.

'I went weeks and weeks pulling duff pegs in the River Yare tournaments and I began to think I wasn't fishing right,' he recalled.

But at the weekend, the 56-year-old sales representative's luck changed dramatically and he took on the role of Little Jack Horner, sticking in finger and thumb twice to draw plum pegs to complete a magnificent winning double on the rivers Thurne and Wensum.

His Thurne swim on the bank once known as The Lions, had not featured in the first two rounds of the Norwich Teams of Three League. But it came good in Saturday's round three, relinquishing a magnificent winning bream and roach catch totalling 45lb 6oz for the former Broads champion.

He then followed up with the top catch of 11lbs of tiddler Wensum roach in the Angling Direct Sunday League, staged along Riverside.

Expressing intense relief by the turn of events, the Daiwa Angling Direct squad man described his wonder weekend as 'more than welcome'.

'I won the Broads Championship on the Thurne a few years back and it's always been my favourite river venue,' he said.

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'I netted a total of 205 fish, consisting of skimmer bream and roach, the best over the one-pound mark.

'My method was the short pole or whip, baiting the float rig with caster or worm and caught fish at the rate of 40 per hour.'

Runner-up was triple Broads champion Lee Klimczuk, whose section-winning 31lb 11oz helped keep Maver Image in pole position in the table.

On the day it was an all-round nine penalty points performance from Suffolk AD Gold that lifted them to second spot on weight aggregate.

League organiser Tony Gibbons, who reported an active seal in the match length, revealed that Saturday's catches brought the three match aggregate to 2,899lbs.

That is a record match average of more than 21lb per angler and all the more astonishing since it was set up just days after a salt water surge wiped out an estimated 30,000 Broads fish.

This information takes us to the Broads Angling Strategy Group's urgent request to the authorities to install a tidal barrage to protect the freshwater habitat. Their plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

The Broadland River Catchment Plan, which the authors at the Broads Authority describe as a vision for Broadland rivers until 2027, slips in this statement: 'Managing flood risk from main rivers and the sea is the responsibility of the Environment Agency.'

The EA plan states: 'It may no longer be value for money continuing current levels of defence. This policy will be applied where levels of risk to people and property is low to moderate. Resources can be used where there are more people at higher risk.'

This takes us back to the recent EA analysis that the legacy of thousands of fish repeatedly wiped out by the toxic saline does not result in a permanent decline.

Thus any angler prepared to bet the broads will be protected by a tidal barrage within the next 20 years should be seeking odds of at least 1,000-1.

Meanwhile, on the lakes, it was a Halloween weekend. Canny anglers able to trick their quarry treated themselves to winning catches, not least Paul Manthorpe, who won the Veterans at Bergh Apton with 199lb 15oz and Jim Randell who was top of the Oddfellows at Barford with 110lb 9oz. Gavin Cairns was top Codger with 107lb 4oz at Barford and the Mill Farm winner was Kevin Clarke, with 109lb 4oz.

On the big fish scene, Tom List ended October at Catch 22 with a 32lb 12oz mirror and Taswood's best was a 34lb common for Michael Dixon, with loads of others in the 20s.

• Following the EDP request to the Environment Agency for rod licence information, here are the details of permits issued in the Anglia East division during the half year ended September 30 (previous full year in brackets).

One day: 21,206 (27,733). Disabled: 2,472 (2,514). Eight day: 3,291 (3,986). Full adult: 41,119 (43,555). Junior: 5,344 (6,341). Senior: 12,805 (12,217).

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