Tackle shop owners in upbeat mood

Upbeat Broads fishing tackle dealers insist their takings are not suffering a serious downturn because of economic stagnation.

And they are blaming sections of the media gloom-mongers for stirring up anxieties among traders.

Glenn Hubbard, manager of Norfolk's biggest angling centre Angling Direct, said he accepted unemployment was rising, but people out of a job were going fishing more often in order to forget their troubles, while others still in work were still buying fishing tackle and bait for their weekend trips to the waterside.

'Providing we do not suffer a bitter pre-Christmas winter like last year, we are expecting an influx of buyers of day-to-day items and Christmas presents for family and friends,' he forecast optimistically.

'I think parts of the media are responsible for much of this doom and gloom and I suspect the last thing people will give up is their weekend sport.'

That analysis is backed up by continuing full grounds in the Barclays Premier League, with Carrow Road filled almost to capacity at every home game.

John Lambert, the boss of two independent tackle shops in Norwich and Beccles said business remained brisk, especially with sea fishing accessories and bait.

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'I think too many in the trade are crying wolf. Both my tackle shops are selling vouchers to people to give away as Christmas presents, but I agree another bitter winter would result in serious consequences.'

At Great Yarmouth tackle shop Pownalls and Sons, whose annual open event attracted a splendid turnout of 50 rods along the North Beach on Sunday, the mood was optimistic. A total of 150lb of whiting and dabs was weighed in, the winner local ace John Lacey, who pocketed a princely �200 for his 9lb 13oz.

Organiser Nathan Payne said sea anglers were still keen and he expected buoyant sales leading up to Christmas, especially if cod moved inshore.