Ford sadly missed
Broads match anglers drawing for positions for the first round of the Norwich and District (NDAA) league just after dawn on Sunday were in a quiet, sombre mood, following the tragic death of one their favourite event organizers on the bank of the River Yare on Saturday morning.
'The sad loss of Keith Ford was the subject of whispered conversations among competitors who arrived early,' said NDAA chairman and league organizer Tony Gibbons.
'One angler who witnessed this tragedy and assisted in a resuscitation effort was so traumatised by the harrowing experience he felt unable to compete in our league the morning after.
'My members are delighted that Andy Wilson-Sutter has said he will carry on running the magnificent fishery for local and visiting anglers on the River Yare at the Beauchamp Arms which Keith Ford negotiated successfully with the land owners after the Great Yarmouth and Norfolk Anglers' Association became defunct.'
Many tributes for this national angling figure and messages of condolences for his family have appeared on several websites in the past few days for his dedication to the sport was acknowledged everywhere.
After the Air Ambulance had departed, the 80 competitors agreed to cancel the Nisa Feeders league match and donate the entry fees to the bereaved.
'If Andy Sutter and his helpers require further assistance running competitions this season I shall be only too willing to help them,' pledged Gibbons.
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As for Gibbons' own league match, the fishing on the rivers Bure and Thurne venue was of mixed quality with bream dominating and 37 anglers returned double figures.
They were headed by Kevin Payne (Yarmouth Sportsmans) who reeled in 45lb 8oz of bream to 3lb apiece from his swim at the bottom end of the River Thurne.
He tempted them on gozzer maggots baiting a standard feeder rig, fished over a carpet of groundbait, laced with squats.
Glen Hubbard (Daiwa AD Black) fishing the lower section of the River Bure, was individual runner-up with 27lb 2oz of skimmer bream, along with a couple of bonus slabs. Then it was back on the Thurne, where James Parnell (Lathams Fishing) was third with 24lb 15oz.
Team winners of the Yellow Division were Lathams Fishing with 51 section points and the Green victors were Angling Direct Preston with 43.
On the commercial match lakes, fabulous carp catches made treble figures. The Railway Lake open was won by Paul Ashford (Barford Tackle) with 152lb 11oz, then Alan Hilton (Long Stratton) 113lb 8oz and M Craske (North Walsham) 106lb 12oz.
There were two tons at Mill Farm, where weekend winners were W Chapman (Harleston) with 100lb and C Gifford (Lakenheath) with 103lb 4oz. Club results were headed by Oddfellows' members Nat Kopti who weighed in 128lb 8oz at Colton, while Alan Waldron won the Melton Ponds invitation with 126lb.
• Massive carp have been heaved out of the brilliant Taswood Fishery during the latest heatwave.
No less than half a dozen topped the magical 30lb mark – the heaviest a common of 36lb 9oz netted by Geoff Greenaway, of Hempnall.
Norwich regular Alan Bessey bagged 20 fish, the best a common of 36lb, followed by Wymonham's Ben Germaine with another of 34lb 6oz, with Alan Pitcher, of Norwich, and Brian Elwood, of Ipswich, both recording 32lb. Best mirror carp came in at 32lb 8oz for Chris Browne, of Horsford, with specimens in the high 20s for Karl Wright, Norwich, Ash Martin, Newton Flotman, and Mike Plane, of Horsford.
Waveney Valley Lakes produced eight 20lb carp for Blofield's Peter Charles, while Mattishall's catfish king reeled in three more hefty moggies to 37lb.
• The carp you are catching today may well become your dinner tomorrow. That prospect loomed larger than ever following the latest grim forecast that edible seafish species are becoming seriously threatened by non-stop over-fishing and climate change.
And, with number of carp anglers losing their enthusiasm for these sport fish and returning to rivers, supplying supermarket chains with these edible species may turn out to be the commercial cash crop that saves fishery bosses from financial ruin.
'I would certainly be interested in this idea of supplying the food fish market,' commented Mill Farm boss Derek Beales when the idea of breeding carp for the pot on a commercial basis was mooted last year.