Memorial matches proved kindness of anglers in East Anglia

 Tranquil River Wensum at Drayton bathed in early winter sunshine

Tranquil River Wensum at Drayton bathed in early winter sunshine - Credit:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?

This was the opening line of Robert Burns' Hogmanay poem Auld Lang Syne, set to music in 1788 bidding farewell not only to the old year but also to friends and relatives who had passed on.

From the angling viewpoint this matters as much today as it did then to remember those whose selfless input into our lives lifted the spirit.

Match anglers especially, who may appear as tough as teak, are actually marshmallow beneath their competitive camouflage. And, at the drop of a hat, they will 'take that cup of kindness' and turn out for memorial events to register their respect for former friends and colleagues while raising funds for good causes.

The Jim Boulton and Linda Thompson memorials along the River Wensum during the holiday break were two examples, whose proceeds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance totalled £232.

As reported last week, the first of these fundraisers was subdued by saline road floods but, by last Thursday, the river was running pure and producing the expected catches of roach and perch.

Simon Pointer, from Marham, the winner of the first encounter, maintained form to carry off top honours again with 14lb 1oz, ahead of Steve Borrett (Norwich) and David Gooch (Earlham Silvers) who tied with 12lb 14oz.

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Chief organiser Pete Swan declared both events were successful thanks to car parking supplied by the Red Lion, Fast Fit and Cotswolds.

'Without their kind assistance we could not have staged these memorials at all,' he said.

While on this subject, Norwich and District Anglers lost two stalwarts last year – president David Ritchie and former chairman Stan Alden. Charity events in their name next season are being considered.

On Sunday, the first round of the Barford Winter League was staged on the Pleasure, Railway and Willow lakes. In low temperatures, the carp were tightly shoaled, leading to hit or miss results.

Anglers who certainly hit were title holders Matrix (Warren Martin, Jimmy Brooks, Adam Playford, Nigel Swallow and Rod Finch), who carded three section wins and two others in the top grade to score an overwhelming 11 penalty points, followed by Hot Rods on 22 and Wensum Valley 25.

'We could not have wished to draw better,' admitted Matrix skipper Martin. 'We were among fish and that's why we won.'

Top rod on the day was Dave Jarvis (Suffolk AD) with 70lb 11oz from the Willow, that also presented runner-up Nigel Swallow with 64lb 9oz.

League organiser Daniel Brydon said: 'The sub-zero temperatures left us clearing ice and on top of the wintry weather the carp were driven into tight shoals, leaving areas of water barren.'

Elsewhere on the open match circuit, North Walsham's former international angler, pensioner Jim Randell, decided it was a roach day when hoare frost turned the Cobbleacre grass white. He won with 18lb 12oz of sparkling red fin.

At Mill Farm, Rod Finch (Deben) won with 77lb 12oz and the Barford open produced a close finish between the top four, headed by Suffolk AD's Mick Hanks with 35lb 11oz.

On the Broadland pike scene, there are regular reports of quality fish showing on popular venues with delighted captors sharing their pleasure by sending excellent pictures to EDP angling.

However, while there is no suggestion that these predators suffered physical damage while posing for the camera, there are other reports that anglers have been spotted on our rivers treating their pike at best in a careless fashion.

Unfortunately, the excellent high standards set by the Norwich and District Pike Club are not always followed and any anglers spotting unacceptable, careless or cruel handling of pike are advised to take the numbers of boats or vehicles and report to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.

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