Net returns from Yare

Seventy-nine anglers at the end of a competition staged on a Norfolk water weighed in a staggering aggregate of 1,775lbs of fish last Saturday.

Obviously, yet another giant carp catch heaved out of a commercial match lake, you might think.

You would be wrong. For these fantastic numbers amount to a brilliant reflection of the unrivalled form on Norfolk's tidal river Yare where in the latest round of the Nisa Feeder League quality bream and roach produced a stunning match average of more than 23lbs per rod.

It is no exaggeration to portray these results as testimony that no other natural waterway in the UK at present can hope to equal the marvellous biodiversity of our Norfolk Broads, where coarse fish, otters, cormorants, herons, bitterns, king fishers, grebes and even the alien mink appear to co-exist in perfect harmony in a balanced habitat.

Top catch of the day, consisting of 35 bream totalling 51lbs 10oz, was reeled in by Eddie Hall (Yarmouth) from peg 22 on the famous Beauchamp Arms match length on a standard feeder rig baited with worm.

Runner-up Tony Anderson (Diawa Ad Suffolk) netted 49lbs 12oz of similar fish from peg 107 followed by Paul Abbott (Breakaways) with 44lb 15oz from peg 23, then Simon Elliott (Harleston) 44lbs 10oz, peg 119 and Lol Higgins (Suffolk) 42lbs 8oz, peg 129.

These returns indicate the substantial bream shoals were not confined to a couple of hot spots, but were spread out at intervals along the whole match venue interspersed with quality roach of which Maver Ace Chris Vandervliet lifted out a sparkling net of 31lbs and came nowhere.

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'There was a split tide, but the water was nicely coloured and the fish fed for the duration of the five-hour contest,' said organiser Andy Wilson-Sutter. 'More than half the field, some 42 anglers, returned catches over the 20lbs mark and a match average of 23lbs of silver fish per man is fantastic fishing by any standard.'

Sunday's Norwich and District league second round on the rivers Bure and Thurne could not quite match the previous day's bonanza on the Broads southern river. However, with half the field making double figures, returns were more than satisfactory and fair.

Peg number 1 on the Bure at St Benet's Abbey was the hotspot for Gary Kiddell (Sensas Big Hits) who won with 28lbs 14oz of roach taken on hemp seed and tares fished on pole.

The Thurne came good for the next three in the frame, Kevin Humphrey (Diawa AD Blue) scaling 24lbs 12oz from the bottom end of Cold Harbour where Jack Mills (Preston AD) was third with 23lbs 3oz followed by Mark Haverson (Diawa Ad Gold) with 23lbs 5oz.

Team winners on the day in the yellow division were Diawa AD Gold with 50 points and the green division Bob's Boys with 45 points.

League yellow leaders are Lathams Fishing with 15 points while Preston AD head the green with 14 points.

'The tide was a bit tricky on the river Bure and catches of bream were down. However, the river Thurne responded well so the competition was very fair,' said organiser Tony Gibbons.

On the match lakes a record was established at Bergh Apton where the veterans' winner Roy Chapmen winched out a massive carp haul of 195lbs 14oz. The Norfolk pensioner's fish ranged to 10lbs apiece, filled four keep nets and were tempted on bread flake and pellet, and was rated his personal best of a distinguished match fishing career.

At Mill Farm the top catch midweek fell to Norwich's Simon Denmark with 126lbs 12oz while Paul Ashford (Barford Tackle) won on the Railway with 126lbs 12oz.

Among the club matches A Winterton headed the City Works card at Colton with 113lbs 2oz and Ray Kent of Oddfellows netted 101lbs in the Monday match at Mill Farm.

Blicking Lake, which re-opened this month after a long winter and spring layoff, has produced phenomenal hauls of bream from almost every position along the margins of this ancient Norfolk estate fishery owned by the National Trust.

Voluntary bailiff Glyn Sutton said anglers were catching up to 50 massive bream per session during daylight hours – night fishing is not allowed.

'Blickling is very popular, not only for the fantastic fishing here but also because permits are pegged at �5 for adults and �3 for juniors, allowing two rods each. I would also stress that keep nets are not allowed in the interest of fish conservation,' said Sutton.

On the carp lakes one young angler who enjoyed two sessions on Hall Farm Lake, Burgh Castle suffered from aching arms last week.

He was 14-year-old Macauley Chapman, pictured above, from Bradwell who altogether heaved out 63 carp, his heaviest a common scaling 17lbs 4oz. 'I estimate I had about 200lbs of fish in each session, some of them taking dog biscuit bait off the top while others accepted boilies fished near the bottom,' said the Lynne Grove school pupil.

At Taswood, Matthew Walker of Norwich and Matthew Ireland of Brundall both recorded common carp of 32lbs (different fish) and topped up with other specimens in the 20.