Paynter welcomes in Spring with big haul to take Early Bird series
- Credit: Archant
River temperatures had reached 9C, gentle south westerlies were rippling the water and caressing the petals of extra early daffodils, moorhens were mating in the margins and pigeons were carrying nesting materials overhead.
This was Saturday, the day of reckoning when the gloom and doom-mongers' belief that the winter salt tides had wreaked havoc with coarse fish stocks would be tested.
The answer was emphatic. Spring was here. And popular reaches of the Broads tidal rivers produced an end-of-season fish fest.
Broads bream king Kevin Paynter (PWA) won the final round of the Yarmouth Early Bird series with a staggering River Yare bream haul of 53lb 4oz from the fancied peg 61.
The catch boosted his overall total to a series-winning 62lbs, ahead of Karl Redgrave (PWA) with 51lb 15oz and Mick Mirgaux (Deben) 33lb 14oz.
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Paynter, at the end of his five-hour session, said: 'These winter catches confirm these fish remain in the rivers and will feed until either salt water drives them out temporarily or plunging temperatures shut them down.
'I had bream up to four pounds on Saturday, all caught on legered worm.'
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The Pete Swan Memorial along the prolific River Wensum at Riverside on Sunday was a huge success for a caring sell- out field and raised £385 for EA Air Ambulance.
David Gooch (Earlham Silvers) scored a winning 23lb 7oz, followed by a tie between Wayne Anderson and Kevin Humphreys (both Angling Direct) with 22lb 8oz, then came David Richardson (Daiwa AD) with 20lb 7oz.
Match organiser Shaun James said he was delighted with local support and added: 'Everyone involved in local angling had a huge respect for Pete Swan.
'His loss to our sport is great and credit to the anglers who turned up on Sunday to pay their respects.
'The fish obliged too to make it a satisfactory tribute to a wonderful guy.'
It was not only the rivers that benefited from the Mediterranean climate.
Norfolk angler Steve Bullock heaved out 26 quality carp and two bream from Barford Lakes during a five hour-session.