Signs all point to fabulous opening to Broads season

Bradley Cushing's first rainbow, from Rocklands. Picture: SUBMITTED

Bradley Cushing's first rainbow, from Rocklands. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

June is busting out all over, the water full of jacks and jills, with little tails a-swishing, every lady fish a-wishing that a male would come and grab her by the gills.

As the new coarse fishing season approaches, the theme is set for anglers as they eagerly prepare for the glorious 16th, rummaging through their tackle boxes, compiling the new term shopping list.

Only river and broads anglers can now experience the thrill of this quite unique sense of anticipation since the close season was scrapped on lakes and canals.

And the response from the announcement at the Norwich office of the Environment Agency following an extensive fish survey produced a buzz louder than the swarms of bluebottle flies hatching from the remnant pupae of last winter's maggot baits.

Here is the statement from the EA's fishery's technical specialist Steve Lane:


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'Our fish surveys suggest there are more coarse fish in our Broads and rivers than for many a year.'

Stunning news.

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Considering the awful death toll from North Sea incursions and successive outbreaks of the killer algae, the recovery of fish stocks in affected waters may be considered miraculous.

Now it's all systems go on the rivers Bure, Yare and Thurne, where early bookings for the new season's open events are already nudging 'sold out', with fish literally busting out all over.

The organiser of the June 16 opener on the River Yare, Andy Wilson-Sutter, said numbers were already into three figures.

'I believe we are heading for a record sell-out and with legions of fish seen topping throughout the match length, results could be sensational,' he forecast.

A similar statement came from NDAA match secretary Tony Gibbons: 'I have been discussing the new season's prospects with Steve Lane and I must say the Environment Agency has worked wonders clearing bank accesses to our tidal rivers.

'I just hope local clubs, pleasure anglers and visitors fish these superb rivers to justify the EA's efforts.

'But I have to say I was most concerned that a huge sum of rod licence cash was granted from the EA to the Angling Trust last year with little in that transaction for Broads anglers.'

Meanwhile, the sizable carp in the commercial lakes appear more interested in perpetuating their species and the urge to spawn on many venues has overcome appetite.

Even the residents at Bergh Apton produced just one set of treble figures – 120lb 9oz for Zenith winner Steve Barnes.

At Reepham, Roy Turton won the Aylsham outing with 111lb, while Fakenham's top rod at Buttonhole was Steve English with 127lb 10oz.

Jack Gill (Barford) topped with 139lb 4oz at Mill Farm and Adrian Scarfe won the AMG with 107lb 4oz at Top Lake.

The Mick Howard Memorial event staged by the Wymondham club at Shropham Pits was won by Mark Lamont with 30lb 4oz. A sum of £300 was raised for the Big C charity.

On the specimen carp scene, 11-year-old Jessica Wright was involved in a titanic battle with a 31lb 4oz Taswood mirror. With the help of dad Karl the fish was netted, but she was too breathless with excitement to speak while father appeared consumed by jealousy after being beaten by his clever little daughter.

Other Taswood specimens were commons bagged by Adam Collinson (31lb 10oz), Michael Cuffney (36lb 8oz), Roy Doroba (34lb 12oz), Julian Miller (31lb 8oz), with other specimens falling to Michael Rivett, a common of 35lb 4oz and Peter Howell, a 31lb 4oz mirror.

At Catch 22, the top specimen was a 38lb 4oz mirror and two others at 33lb 2oz for Lee Brown. Tom Sloane had a common of 37lb 4oz, while Daniel Head netted twin commons at 35lb 8oz and 36lb, with similar specimens for Michael Goodwin, Chris Hansell and Mervyn Head.

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