Keith Ford memorial event a major success
If Keith Ford happened to be gazing down from some celestial resting place on his memorial event staged on the River Yare, he would have observed fabulous catches of fish that may be best described as a matchman's heaven on earth.
This was an annual two-day charity competition raising funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, attended by caring anglers who had motored long distances to enjoy the most spectacular match action of the season so far on this renowned stretch of tidal water.
Top rod at the end of this bream and roach extravaganza was Essex angler Steve Clarke with a superb first day bream haul of 79lb 12oz, which was topped up with another 21lb on day two for a runaway 100lb 12oz aggregate that earned him the magnificent Ford trophy and cash winnings of around £300.
On day one this well-known Maver Image rodman at fancied peg 22 pinned his faith on the standard feeder rig, casting worm bait towards the far bank on a brisk flood tide. This produced quality bream to over five pounds as well as numerous skimmers and though catch rates often fall away following the tide change, the outgoing ebb retained its colour and produced fish until the final whistle. Andy Wilson-Sutter, who successfully achieved a seamless responsibility administering this natural fishery that Keith Ford literally rescued for anglers before his untimely and tragic loss, was runner up with 58lb 4oz.
Third man home was the newly promoted England international Lee Kerry, son of Norwich former international surf casting champion and beach angler supreme Paul Kerry.
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The Barnsley Black match ace produced an aggregate of 56lb 6oz thanks to a sparkling second day roach catch of 31lb 10oz from peg 53.
At the Division Two National Championship, won by Devizes on the Great Ouse, the Norfolk Select squad finished 12th and Suffolk County 16th among the 33 teams.
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On the local match lakes Thetford teenager Natasha Rudd struck a blow for youngsters as well as the distaff side by winning the Mill Farm Thursday Open with 100lb 8oz.
Heaviest club catch of the week was at Barford, where Codger Tim Wright bagged 159lb 5oz of carp.
On the specimen carp waters, another youngster to succeed was Jaydon Stone, who landed his PB common of 27lb from Swangey. The Gorleston 13-year-old tempted his monster on a popped up garlic boillie and it fought for 30 minutes.
Fish in the twenties fell to regulars Nick Gayet, Tony Pointer, Barry Hubbard and Tony Dunn. At Taswood best of the week was a 31lb common carp for Suffolk's Steve Rose with twenties for Matt Arthurton, Steve Aldous, Mark Hall, Kevin Smith and Charles McLean.
As forecast at the start of the season, huge chub were expected from the non-tidal River Bure and the best so far has come in at 6lb 15oz for Cromer specialist Gareth Goldson.