John Platten takes advantage of heatwave to take victory on River Yare
- Credit: Archant
They were having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave. It was not so surprising, the fish were arising, and feeding all day.
Not quite the lyrics of Irving Berlin's 1933 hit, but still music to the ears of match anglers, hearing the sounds of bream splashing into keep nets breaking the simmering stillness along the tidal River Yare.
This was the opening day extravaganza and, boy, did this stretch of river between Rockland and Langley live up to its name as one of Britain's best!
Heading the sell-out field was Suffolk Nisa Waveney veteran John Platten with a great bream catch of exactly 45lb from the peg whose hot spot number is engraved in every anglers' mind – 147.
It sent the retired highway technician on the road to success over runner-up Karl Redgrave (Suffolk AD), who ended just short with 44lb 9oz from peg 21 ahead of Bob Cheeseman (Essex AD) with 38lb from 19 and Mal Runacres (Deben), 35lb 8oz from 146.
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The 68-year-old winner who pocketed £300 said: 'I baited the feeder with both worm and maggot but worm tempted bootlace eels.
'I caught most of my bream up to 4lb from coloured water on the flood. After 40 years of match fishing this is the biggest event I have ever won.'
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By contrast, competitors at Saturday's Yare Nisa Feeder League were greeted by clear water and harder fishing.
Suffolk's Chris Kelly, 27, won this opening round with 27lb 8oz from peg 70, mostly bream. Next were Chris Hunt (Boland GB) 19lb 8oz at 147 then league sponsor Nick Larkin (Nisa Feeders) 143 and Dave Reeve (Preston Innovations) 25 who tied with 14lb 4oz.
For organiser Wilson-Sutter this was an excellent start to his new season.
'Considering the high water temperatures the result was far better than expected and the prospects this season are brilliant,' he said.
NDAA secretary Tony Gibbons reported excellent catches with bream to 7lb from the rivers Bure at St Benets and Thurne at Cold Harbour while on Hickling Broad quality bream were netted by boaters from Whispering Reeds boat yard.
It was similar from Horsey Mere.
Records tumble on commercial lakes
Match anglers on the commercial lakes refused to be overshadowed by the new season's river catches by bringing massive three-figure nets of carp to the scales.
At Bridge Farm, Litcham, Ed Morrow (Bridge farm) scaled a new record of 243lb 12oz, while at Barford Oddfellows' Paul Gardiner netted 175lb 3oz.
At the same venue, Simon Smith (Wensum Valley) won with 143lb 6oz, at Mill Farm Simon Parker (Angling Direct) was top with 148lb 8oz and at Wicklewood, Barry Chilvers led with 142lb.
At club level, Mark Girling set a new Codgers record with 326lb 12oz at Bergh Apton, 20-year-old youngest Codger Craig Rackham completed a brilliant double with 180lb 13oz and 145lb 3oz at Bartle's Lodge where Ian Bailey set a new Dukes record with 200lb 5oz while Chris Forder scored with 103lb 15oz on Mulbarton's match lake.
Holt's West Norfolk Challenge on the Great Ouse Estuary saw Grimsby's Paul Danholm win with 7lb 14oz, then Lincoln's Dave Barr 6lb 14oz and Grimsby's George Smith 6lb 3oz.