Novice angler Jean takes European title

Roy WebsterA Fakenham housewife who took up sea fishing only two years ago has won the ladies section of the European beach angling championship staged along the Yorkshire coast at Bridlington.Roy Webster

A Fakenham housewife who took up sea fishing only two years ago has won the ladies section of the European beach angling championship staged along the Yorkshire coast at Bridlington.

Jean Balls braved biting, windy conditions during the two day event to weigh in two flounders totalling 0.325kg on day one and one flounder scaling 0.385kg on day two - those three fish earning the 57-year-old top tackle prizes consisting of two beach rods and Penn reel, a head light for night fishing and a crystal vase trophy.

'Rather than sit at home alone while my husband Ian went off beach fishing I decided that if I could not beat him I would join him,' she said. 'I became a member of the Fakenham Angling Club and I love it.'

And how did hubby Ian fare at the championship? 'He caught eight whiting and every one of them was undersized so he finished with nothing,' said Jean. 'I believe I was very lucky to catch anything at all. Many failed and actually I had four fish but one of them was undersized. Even so it was one of the best days of my life.'

t Sprowston angler Nick King has recalled the day he caught a 6lb zander on the River Yare.

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King insists he is just an ordinary recreational angler, not out for glory or fame but one who fancies a pike fishing outing on his own local river.

'I have never visited the zander waters in the Fens and until I caught that River Yare specimen the only I had seen was a picture in the angling Press,' he explained. 'I could scarcely believe my eyes when this strange fish slipped into the landing net. It was not the expected pike nor a huge perch but a zander, confirmed by my work buddy, Adrian Tunmore who took the photographs.

'To those who may still be in denial about zander in the Broads I can say this: Unless the fish I put back alive has been caught since and killed it is still swimming in the Yare. At the time I was not aware there was a law against releasing it.'

The belief that a number of zander have made overland journeys to the Broads has been confirmed by respected Norfolk naturalist and EDP nature columist Percy Trett, who said: 'I think I have identified two or three zander in recent years and I do remember one of them was a three-pounder caught by a holiday maker from the River Thurne. These alien fish were turned loose illegally.

Government watchdog Natural England has outlawed zander in England and Wales under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The Environment Agency has also explained that, contrary to popular belief, the Marine and Coastal Access Bill never acquired powers to repeal or modify the 1981 Act, thus zander will remain a banned species until any changes are approved by Parliament.

The legal advice is that no angling club can lawfully force anglers to return these aliens to the water alive.

t There was exciting news from the National Super Cup Knockout Tournament involving local teams.

Norwich Union won a three-way contest on Martham Pits with a score of 13 penalty points, beating their Martham hosts by just two points even though the home side returned top rod Richard Boyce with 42lb 15oz of mostly bream with a bonus carp of 11lb.

Mulbarton won their first round on their home water with a score of 15 points with North Walsham Kingfishers and the Huntsmen both scoring 17.

Top match catch of the week fell to Keith Green who won the Attleborough match group event with 73lb 12oz on the Walnut Farm fishery.

On the carp lakes it was another chilly weekend of poor returns.

The top fish reported was a 30lb mirror for Southwold's Dean Bridges who had two others over 20lb. Brian Thrower, Winterton, bagged a brace of 28-pounders while another regular Barry Martin's best was a 26- pounder.