Plenty of action on tidal stretches

The success of the East Anglian Piscatorials on Norfolk's lower tidal rivers may persuade more anglers to visit the waters leading into the brackish estuaries.

For several seasons these Norfolk-based pioneering piscadors have been staging their events on the tidal river Yare as far down as Hardley Marshes between Cantley and Reedham as well as casting into the nearby little River Chet that joins the Yare at Hardley Cross.

Until the Cantley sugar factory successfully got to grips with the annual river pollution problem during the beet campaign, water quality and angling results in the area left much to be desired in autumn and winter.

And with untreated sewage entering the river higher up during times of flash floods, recruitment of coarse fish species was seriously diminished until holding tank capacity was stepped up at the Whitlingham works.

Since then fish stocks have recovered to phenominal high levels from Trowse down to Reedham and beyond.

EAPS secretary Alan Crabb, who lives within walking distance of the river at Rockland St Marys, will testify to the huge potential of the lower tidals while listing his latest club catches at Hardley, where Sunday's winner Paul Abbott hoisted 39lbs of bream on to the scales, with other catches over 20lbs on the card.

'Of course there are times when the lower river can be patchy due to the unfavourable state of the tides, but in recent years the quality of fishing for bream and roach at Hardley has improved no end and there are some cracking roach in the River Chet too,' he said.

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Fishing is also available on the opposite bank at Cantley, where a right of way exists along a public footpath. Fishing access to the water is free below the mean high water mark thanks to King John's Magna Carta of 1215 that granted his subjects the right to fish from beach and bank of the tidals.

The lower river Bure is another tidal venue containing exceptional fish stocks from Acle bridge down to the outskirts of Caister. Access points are the former Stracey Arms pub off the Acle Straight and on the opposite banks at Stokesby, Runham and Mautby.

However, Spring tides associated with brisk north-westerly winds often send a surge of salt water in to these rivers. But if the winds come from a southerly quarter, visiting these tidals which, you might have thought, contained only flounders and eels, could tap you into a rich vein of sport with roach and bream.

Meanwhile, the famous Beauchamp Arms match length of the river Yare produced another stunning round of the Nisa Feeder Series with the top three all members of the crack Norwich Daiwa Angling Direct squad.

Top honours fell to feeder king Robert Hubbard with 53lbs 15oz of bream taken from peg number 98 on worm and maggot. Runner-up Mark Pollard was just ounces adrift with 53lbs 10oz of similar fish from peg 120, followed by Mick Bartrum with 34lbs 15oz from 118.

On the match lakes, West Norfolk's Cross Drove fishery was at peak form. Jim Barrowman (Dynamite) won the midweek with 123lbs, but Dave Pearce (Wisbech) bettered that on Sunday with 136lbs 15oz.

On the club scene the Old Codgers kept in the picture with three-figure winners, the latest Chris Nicholson with 113lbs 6oz from the Railway while at Abbey Waters Matt Wiles headed the Attleborough Group card also with 113lbs 6oz.

Spare a sympathetic thought for Division Two national championship winner Darren Hutchinson who scored a maximum section points for his 10.580kgs of bream and roach from the Basingstoke canal.

A splendid start for his Leeds team Urban Moor. Alas the other nine members of the squad could muster only a paltry 70 points and the team finished bottom with 127 points.

The champions were Oakwood Angling with 360 while our own Eastern match group were a creditable 13th with 281.

n A venue record common carp has been winched out of Taswood's Broadwing lake. The angler to secure his personal best of 38lbs 2oz was Julian Miller of Norwich who tempted the monster on his special boilie mix.

'There no doubt this fish will make 40lbs by the time we open our new season in the spring,' predicted bailiff Kevin Smith.

Other anglers reporting quality fish to over 30lbs at Taswood were Norwich regulars William Skinner, Sebastian Dickinson, Mark Chapman and Geoff Greenaway of Hempnell and Mark Buckingham of Bungay.

At the all-round quality Wood Rising fishery that can boast a huge variety of species, Fakenham's Paul Greave reeled a quartet of common carp ranging from 21lbs 2oz to 28lbs 3oz lured on pop-up boilies.

Another Fakenham rod, Tony Gregg, had quality roach to 1lbs 12oz on maggot and perch to over 2lbs were also caught on lob worm.

At Waveney Valley, season permit holder John Hand landed the 33lbs 12oz common carp known as Pop Eye while the best at Taverham lake was a 20lbs 2oz common for local Ian Stockley.