Norwich dominate Suffolk’s summer angling league

Suffolk's summer angling league is already dominated by Norwich-based hot rods.

After just two rounds, the competition appears to have developed into a business family affair, with Daiwa Angling Direct Black setting the pace on three league penalty points, with their Red select just one off on four points.

Bait Tech, with a score of seven, are challenging the city slickers, followed by former challengers Deben, on nine points.

Stu Payne, winner of the second leg with 78lb 15oz, boosted his red team into top spot on the day, with 18 section penalty points, but despite a sterling effort by Tony Anderson, runner up with 69lb 7oz, last season's champions DAD Gold are struggling to make the top four.

R Watson and J Odey, third and fourth respectively with 63lb 2oz and 60lb 10oz, attempted to lift Bait Tech, but finished tied with Deben select, both on 23 points behind DAD Black on 21.

Sunday's efforts depended entirely on anglers' ability to pick their way through shoals of spawning carp more intent on completing their reproduction processes than display an appetite for anglers' offerings in the Hinderclay lakes.

'It's that time of the year when we are frustrated watching massive shoals of carp going about their most serious business of maintaining their species,' said league organiser Mick Hanks, who expects the fishing to be back to normal by round three in a fortnight's time.

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Spawning activity did not deter Barford's in-form matchman Ray King, who weighed in 101lb 4oz on the Willow Lake and 119lb 12oz at Barford to take his run of ton winners to four on the trot.

Other notable match successes were Maver's Gary Miller with 121lb 4oz at Cross Drove, while the best at club level was the Veterans' Paul Manthorpe with 188lb 1oz at Bergh Apton.

On the big carp scenes, Norfolk's second biggest, a common of 50lb 4oz, was heaved out of Airfield Lakes near Dickleburgh by Coventry's Gary Lewis.

The county's heaviest remains at 52lb, caught from the Great Witchingham charity lakes by Richie Lofthouse from Essex last year. The Airfield specimen that fell to a boilie in the Spitfire pool is a fast grower and expected to become a Norfolk record.

• The popular Layfield Lakes fishery at Lenwade has again produced monster carp.

Regular permit holder Mike Whittingstall, over a four-day session, heaved out 18 carp, the best a mirror of 31lb 7oz and a common of 30lb 2oz, as well as 14 tench to 9lb 8oz.

Other local successes were Chris Pye with a 31lb 5oz mirror and Keith Williams with half a dozen specimens in the 20s, while Martin Excell and Lee Wilson between them banked 19 carp, eight of them exceeding 20lb.

At the Taswood fishery Kevin Smith benefited with a 30lb 4oz common and a whole crop of ghost carp into the high 20s were shared by Norwich regulars Julian Miller, Karl Wright, Adam Richmond, Jimmy Duce, Roger Johnson, Matthew Island and Vince Greenaway of Hempnall.

• There are but 15 days left until the glorious 16th. Perhaps not so gloriously anticipated as the first day of the new coarse season after a 93-day break since the abolition of the closed season on stillwaters.

Even so, it remains an exciting prospect for anglers who still revere the pleasures of catching wild bream, roach, tench and indeed hefty carp from their favourite broad or river.

This week should inspire hives of activity among match anglers preparing tackle and not least breeding sufficient gozzer maggots to last them through opening week.

For the uninitiated, gozzers are the super tenderised larvae of the common European bluebottle fly (Calliphora erythrocephala) which has stubbornly resisted all the efforts of commercial maggot breeders to induce it to multiply in captivity while its lesser cousin Calliphora vomitoria, given suitable nourishment and stable temperature, will live happily in sheds procreating offspring by the million.

So since ambitious match anglers cannot purchase gozzers over the counter, they have one alternative – breed their own.

This is not a straightforward exercise in harnessing nature. Fresh road kill such as pheasant, pigeon or rabbit is the ideal food medium and the secret is to ensure the fly eggs are deposited on the fresh carrion by the desired female fly and not by some vagrant greenbottle (Lucius sericata) whose larvae are called pinkies by anglers because of their translucent salmon hue.

This is the procedure: place the carrion on newspaper in a cardboard box slitted at the top and away from sunlight, best hidden away at the back of a gloomy garage or among thick shrubbery.

Inspect next day for those cream fly eggs and if present wrap the lot in the paper and allow nature to take its course.

Top quality gozzers will have matured within a few days.

Separate the bait from the remaining food source by tipping into an eighth-inch mesh sieve over a bait tray and the grubs will wriggle through into clean sawdust or bran.

It has been proven that bream can't resist them and if coloured bait is required, a pinch of the appropriate dye should be added on day four.