Relief all around Norfolk as salt tide maintains healthy distance

Barry Tierney with an excellent brown trout caught from Rocklands Mere.

Barry Tierney with an excellent brown trout caught from Rocklands Mere. - Credit: Archant

The sibilant sounds of huge sighs of relief, muffled only by Monday's Carrow Road victory celebration, reverberated across the Broads this week when anglers learned that a fish-threatening salt tide had failed to inflict serious damage to their high-value match venues.

What first appeared as yet another fish sentence of death earned a reprieve when the sudden surge in the North Sea failed to become established across our inland waterways.

The absence of a violent north westerly wind proved the saviour and, in our most popular freshwater tidals, only odd dead fish trapped in brackish water dykes were discovered.

On the River Yare, match manager Andy Wilson-Sutter reported serious erosion along the banks between Rockland and Langley.

He explained: 'There were no dead fish but, during the fastest ebb tide I have ever witnessed, a fair amount of river bank was washed away and needs repair before the next competition on Saturday.

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'Before Christmas, anglers were contacting quality roach here, but there is no indication these fish were caught up in a sudden penetration of salt water.'

In the little River Chet, which joins the Yare at Hardley Cross, near Reedham, saline water was recorded, but underwater camera work by the ever-active Environment Agency's Steve Lane revealed no fish mortalities.

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NDAA secretary Tony Gibbons completed a detailed tour of the rivers Bure and Thurne.

'I visited Potter Heigham, Cold Harbour, Womack and St Benets Abbey. There were no casualties,' he said.

Further evidence that rivers failed to reach lethal saline levels was supported by highest tide measurement at Potter Heigham – only 1.29m between December 19 and 31 – compared with the more deadly previous incursions of up to 1.46m which have flooded adjacent roads and Lathams general store during 'spring' tides.

• On the River Wensum, the Linda Thompson Memorial staged along Riverside by Shaun James was won by David Gooch (Dukes) with 9lb 13oz of small roach, while raising £70 for cancer research.

The Fur and Feather fundraiser at the Reepham Fishery for the East Anglian Children's Hospice returned a splendid total of £280.

Fishery boss Rick Broadway ran away with top honours with 152lb 13oz, then Brian Bygrave (NDAA) 98lb 10oz and Stu Elmar (Wensum Valley) 93lb 12oz.

Organiser Daniel Brydon said: 'I thank Rick and Ellie Broadway for their support and the anglers who turned out on this very cold morning.'

At Wicklewood, Sharon Swallow (Guru) beat the men with 41lb 15oz, Shaun Greatbatch (Matchfloats) won at Bridge Farm with 66lb 2oz, while along the beaches, Chris Spall (Saxmundham) completed the double with 529cm fish length at Holt's Rocket House event at Salthouse and 3lb 10oz at the new year open contest at Kelling where Diss and Felixstowe fished a tie with 12 penalty points.

• Veteran Norwich angler David Harmer states he is most worried about the condition of the River Wensum that runs by the Norfolk County Council recycling centre at Swanton road.

For many years he had caught pike, perch, bream, roach and tench there. Now, he says, the towpath dyke contains a smelly orange sludge and the only access to the limited bank space is littered with beer cans and other man-made rubbish, with the remainder inaccessible.

If any anglers can offer Mr Harmer helpful assistance, they can reach him by email at – in the meantime, he has been advised to inform the Environment Agency, the Broads Angling Strategy Group and the riverbank owner of his concerns.

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