Fish-fest in Wensum Valley League – but Mother Nature halts hopes on Yare

Competitors at Reepham Lakes line up for the camera.

Competitors at Reepham Lakes line up for the camera. - Credit: Archant

Reepham Lakes provided a fabulous fish-fest for competitors in the Wensum Valley League – but there was a disappointing postponement of the first round of the Early Bird series on the tidal River Yare.

Such are the contrasting vagaries of winter match fishing when Mother Nature intervenes as a major player.

At Reepham all three lakes featured the leading anglers; Glen Mason with 91lb 1oz from Long Lake, peg 34 scored the perfect one penalty point and helped hoist Cillit Bang to a 10-point victory.

'It was not a fancied area, but even though the water was crystal clear, I caught carp to 10lb on float-fished maggot no further out than four metres,' he said.

Cillit team boss Lee Carver, who is known to inform the angling press of his progress during these events, said: 'They were grinning and taking the mick out of me before the start, but they are not laughing now.

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'We have an 11-point lead over our nearest challengers, Angling Direct Black, and with three rounds to come this league is ours to lose.

'Glen Mason fished a blinder and we have no intention of allowing this important new angling title to slip from our grasp'.

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Simon Parker (Angling Direct Black) was runner-up on the Lily Lake section with 84lb 2oz from peg 4 and Ian Ingram (Reepham) was third with 86lb 4oz from peg 18 on the Main Lake. Matrix/Wensum Valley were runners-up with 11pp, then came a 12pp three-way tie headed by Angling Direct Black with an aggregate of 175lbs.

Organiser Daniel Brydon of Wensum Valley agreed this round had been the fairest so far.

'Each lake produced a section winner in comparatively mild conditions, but I have to concede that Cillit Bang would take some beating, even though there are three rounds to come,' he said.

The top reaches of the tidal rivers remained untroubled by salt water penetration and the fourth round of the Angling Direct King of the Wensum Series was won by Glen Hubbard (Angling Direct) with a hefty haul of 38lb 11oz of bream, while Dave Richardson (Suffolk AD) weighed in a super roach net of 21lb 1oz for second spot.

Bream also fed for Lol Higgins, winner of the Norfolk and Suffolk Veterans on the Beccles River Waveney with 50lb 3oz.

The first serious sea storm surge of winter that went out with old year was followed by another threatening episode that came in with the new last week.

Combined with a river temperature below 4C, the hopeless conditions demanded the first round of the 2017 Early Bird Series on the river Yare be postponed by organiser Andy Wilson-Sutter.

According to reports, this second invasion of the North Sea into river coarse fisheries was held in by a tidal block caused by a north westerly gale off Scotland.

River Yare levels, visibly higher than the December penetration, overtopped some banks and swept through the dyke into nearby Rockland Broad.

'Under the circumstances, even though no dead fish had been seen, we had to postpone the match rather than force some anglers into a 200m wild goose chase,' said Wilson-Sutter.

'After four of us fished for a couple of hours without catching, this proved to be the right decision.'

Along the North Norfolk beaches, the local sea league produced cracking whiting.

The winner was Andy Gallacher, whose catch of 11lb 3oz got Norwich Avenue Angling off the mark while his team-mates Richard Jacobs with 10lb 7oz and Gary Medler 9lb 11oz helped the squad to a winning four penalty points to head the table with an almost unbeatable 26pp.

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