Floods came just in time for angling season

The persistence of the weather gods to rescue our little allotment of planet Earth from the threat of severe summer drought and transforming it into a seeping boggy terrain undoubtedly saved many fresh water fisheries from impending disaster.

The floods came in the nick of time and from the opening day of the new season on June 16 reports of phenomenal catches of native bream, roach and perch from the tidal rivers and broads along with cracking chub and barbel from upper reaches and thumping great carp and tench from lakes, pits and ponds, have filled the angling news pages.

Despite the scaremongering following the outbreak of a minor episode of Prymnesymn Parvum in the Catfield Dyke in April Hickling Broad has been fishing a blinder since day one.

Clare Skinner, chief administrative officer at the Whispering Reed boatyard said she was happy to confirm this with glowing reports of great catches from a succession of tourist anglers and local enthusiasts.

'I was with a party of anglers on Hickling last week and I had bream to 5lbs as well as loads of roach and perch,' she recalled. 'The Hickling trouble was hugely exaggerated and I repeat there were no dead fish discovered in our boatyards or even near by.'

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It was a similar success story on the river Thurne which drains surplus water from the ancient peat diggings of Hickling, Horsey Mere and Martham Broads.

From Martham to the confluence with the river Bure massive Thurne catches of bream, roach and some truly monumental perch have been reported.

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On Sunday the Thurne at Cold Harbour relinquished stunning match returns in the NDAA Summer League, the winner Colin Urry (Dukes) with 38lbs 2ozs of bream from peg 30 on a feeder rig baited with fluro red maggots.

And although Albert Farrow (Wymondham) was runner-up with 35lbs of bream from river Bure peg 24, the next three Karl Gibson (Tackle Shop) with 33lbs 14oz from peg 33, Kevin Paynter (Sportsmans) 32lbs 1oz from 51 and Brian Bygraves (DAIWA AD Blue) 26lbs 14oz from 52, sat on the banks of the river Thurne.

These spectacular returns distilled into team positions left Tackle Shop winning division A with 36 sections points and heading the table with 23 league points. Sportsmans returning a magnificent 40 section points in division B left them with 20 league points just two adrift of PW Angling on 22.

'Next Sunday is the Jason Smith Memorial on the Thurne and I expect another spate of double figure returns,' said Tony Gibbons, the league organiser. 'I would add that our tidal rivers have been in brilliant form and fish stocks are well able to support the full range of fish eating mammals and birds.'

The tidal river Yare where in the Nisa Feeder Series peg number 22 again produced the winner, Paul Hudson (Deben) with a bream net of 40lbs 10oz taken of the standard feeder.

Coming up this weekend is the big two day Keith Ford Memorial Festival, already close to a sell out. Telephone Andy Wilson-Sutter (01502 531776).

It is similar happy story from the commercial fisheries where there were real concerns that primary fish stocks would be seriously threatened by lack of dissolved oxygen in shallow waters during a summer drought.

Fortunately, downpours in May and June topped up rain fall to half the annual average with further precipitations bringing a sense of relief to fishery bosses.

Hill Farm Fishery at Banham has been in great form with weekend winner Stephen Rouse (Martham) netting 122lbs 12oz.

At Cross Drove 104lbs catches fell to Wednesday and Sunday winners Rod Finch (Deben) and Chris Vandervliet (Bait Tech) while other successes were Dave Cooper (Norwich) with 109lbs 9oz from the Willow and Mark Girling top of the Codgers at Barford with 136lbs 4oz.

Other notable club winners were Tony Kitchen (AMG) 101lbs 15oz at West Harling, J Davidson (Net Busters) 116lbs at the Railway and Chris Humphrey (Norwich Disabled) 104lbs at Barford.

On the big fish scene top two fish at Taswood were a 33lbs 2oz mirror carp for Alan Topley of Norwich and Richard Foot of Lowestoft recorded a 32lbs 14oz common.

At Taverham Ian Stockley of Norwich had carp to 20lbs while at Waveney Valley Gary Schofiled of Pulham bagged another 43lb catfish.

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