Lack of juniors is the only downside for Norwich and District Angling Association
- Credit: Archant
Angling numbers may be close to free-fall nationally, but it has been a fabulous season for the Norwich and District Anglers Association (NDAA).
Match attendances were up, individual and aggregate catches were up and the numbers of inquiries wishing to join next season's popular events are also mounting.
That was the upbeat report from chairman Tony Gibbons at the annual meeting held at the Norwich Canary Club last week.
However, there remains great concern over the lack of junior anglers coming through. And the data that shows membership remains stable is equally divided between working adults and senior citizens for the first time.
'I can inform members that we have enjoyed exceptional match returns from our venues on the River Bure and Thurne,' emphasised Gibbons, while highlighting some of the more outstanding numbers on the match cards.
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'And providing there are no further natural disasters from sea floods or toxic algae, I believe we can anticipate even better quality catches next term.'
The end of the NDAA season opened with Reg Bryanton winning the Thurne opener with 33lb 12oz, while Robert Hubbard followed on with 39lb 12oz from the River Bure.
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Nearly 100 rods competed in the Broads Championship and were headed by Nick Larkin with 23lb 13oz in an 896lb match aggregate. Kevin Paynter lifted the two-day Broads Festival title with 44lb 9oz and the season's top bag on the Thurne was 48lb 12oz, netted by Richard Cross.
'These results have resonated across the country beyond East Anglia because quality catches can be made from almost any swim,' said the chairman.
'Our competitions are not raffles for a handful of winning pegs and that's why interest in our events has boomed.'
The chairman's report may be considered satisfactory for now, but clearly the longer-term future depends wholly on junior recruitment and, as Gibbons remarked, some serious work lays ahead to maintain membership levels and financial security.
Gibbons has relinquished the chair to Dennis Gilham of the Great Yarmouth Freshwater Association because he requires more time to act as secretary/treasurer and events organiser.
Adult membership is pegged at £20 per annum, boats £6 per pair and day permits at £3.
• Canny match anglers are following a tactical formula to combat adverse effects of high pressure, bright sunlight and crystal clear water conditions.
The mathematical probability of succeeding is this: bright sunlight plus heavy tackle multiplied by careless bank vibrations equals empty nets. By contrast, clear waters plus fine tackle multiplied by stealthy approach equals winning catch.
This policy certainly succeeded in the second round of the Hinderclay league, where the careful contestants who approached the waterside with care scored top section points.
Graham Hall (Ex-Tingers) chalked up top catch with 88lb 12oz. Simon Parker (DAD Red) scaled 76lb 14oz and Steven Jackson (Hinderclay) 59lb 3oz. Teamwise, it was a triumph for Matrix/Wensum Valley with 33 points, followed closely by DAD Suffolk Gold on 29 and then a tie between DAD Black and Deben 60-plus on 27.
Only two points divide the top three – DAD Black on 61 points, Deben 60-plus on 60 points and Matrix/Wensum Valley on 59 points. Organiser Daniel Brydon said: 'With two legs to come it's a real race to the finishing line and just ounces could count, and decide who takes the title.'
Elsewhere the Reepham Fishery again produced three-figure returns. Mike Whitaker (Angling Direct) led with 123lb and Mark Bradford (Wensum Valley) scaled 106lb. At the Barford Open, Adam Major (unattached) scored with 118lb 7oz, while at Cobbleacre, Craig Gladding (Rhino) did the double with 64lb 8oz and 53lb 3oz.
On the club circuit, Chris Knights scaled the veterans' top catch of the year with 85lb 4oz at Topcroft and Ashley Parker won the AMG with 91lb 14oz at Mill Farm.
On the big carp scene, Catch 22 reports the best fish of the year – a 49lb common for Dave Haverson.