Doubts over River Yare Championship

A bumper bank holiday brought bulging keep nets on all the match lakes. But unfortunately the tidal rivers have begun to build up to some of the highest flood levels predicted for more than 20 years, and they failed to come up to expectations in the River Yare Championship.

A bumper bank holiday brought bulging keep nets on all the match lakes. But unfortunately the tidal rivers have begun to build up to some of the highest flood levels predicted for more than 20 years, and they failed to come up to expectations in the River Yare Championship.

This once blue riband event of the Broads attracted just 51 entrants along the Beauchamp Arms match stretch, and a steady build-up of crystal clear water swollen by millions of gallons pumped off the flood plains following a week of almost unrelenting rainfall caused a sharp downturn in sport.

Browning Hotrod Will Freeman claimed what may well be the last championship on this river, with a catch of 18 skimmer bream totalling 27lb.

Match organiser Keith Ford said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the lowest turn-out ever recorded in this event, which once attracted 350 tournament anglers from East Anglia, the Midlands and the South during the 1970s and 1980s.


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“Quite honestly, the lack of interest by local anglers is very disappointing and most of those fishing on Saturday were the same faces who compete in the Feedermaster series,” said Ford.

“Attendances at the championship have fallen drastically in the past 10 years or so, to the point where it is simply not worth continuing.

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“Personally, I do not believe there will be a River Yare Championship next year, unless someone else takes it on.”

Updating the Nisa Feedermaster series, Ford said sponsor Nick Larkin is leading with 274lb 3oz, with Robert Hubbard (DAD) hot on his heels with 240lb 13oz. There are five more rounds.

There was no joy at all for Norfolk's representatives, Jim Randell and Andy Purdy, in the Maver pairs final staged on the Larford Lakes in Warwickshire.

Purdy never recovered from losing a near 20lb carp that broke his pole and towed the top section around the lake until another enterprising competitor cast over the line retrieved the length of carbon fibre and surreptitiously popped the fish into his keep net.

“I was just glad to get my tackle back, so there was no protest from me about another angler bagging my fish,” said Purdy.

On the local open circuit, Randell won the Tuesday event at Barford yet again, with 189lb 8oz. Top catch at Colton fell to S Bracey of Suffolk with 143lb 12oz, while Norwich rod Terry Smith won at Mill Farm with 138lb 8oz.

Melton Ponds produced giant carp catches for club anglers, with David Wadsworth heaving out the venue's year's best at 204lb 10oz to head the Norwich Busmen card. Barry Rilings was Stalham's winner with 183lb 4oz, and other notable returns of the week included Mike Covell, winner of the CMG at Willow with 154lb 6oz.

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