There is a way to beat big freeze

WAVENEY VALLEY: With even big waters like Broome Pits now frozen over, there has been more limitation on finding a place to chuck in and chance it.

More than anything else, the age old river crafts have come to the fore. That slightly off-river place where sufficient flow from an eddy keeps ice away from the ending of a cut-off dyke has been the top choice.

Within inches of the bank, these spots often contain the later spawned one-inch fry and provoke a feeding frenzy for chub and perch in their cold-weather diet.

At the Falcon Dykes in Bungay, set behind the Maltings Flats, just a few crucial yards provided some sport. While the roach were on the small side and the chublets frustratingly small the dace were most acceptable.

This free fishing spot has had good pike prowling too and a heavy feeder slung out into the edge of the reasonably coloured flow has always been likely to take one of the 8lb bream which frequently move out of the main flow and upstream.

The Cherry Tree's Wainford Maltings has been full of turbulence but here too the more protected areas have given up a few fish and with bites at a premium, a pound roach has been a really welcome catch.

Three anglers were turned away for not having a membership card or a day ticket purchased in advance as these are not available on the bank.

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Even more irritating for them was to see the club angler who took over the vacated swim take with his first chuck a fine roach of 1lb 10oz sitting on the bed of casters provided free of charge. Best catch of the week from one of the points, on the feeder, has been seven bream between 5lb and 7lb on lobworm.

Harleston, Wortwell and District AC have some of not only the best, but least fished, river swims arguably on the entire stretch of the Waveney, where these days not even one fixture appears on their match card.

Behind the Ocean Pit and upstream of Mendham Bridge have begun to emerge as the next top chub waters, with a 7lb fish reported from each of those venues in the autumn and larger specimens suspected.

Potential leviathans of the species are vastly underrated on the Waveney. Certainly they exist in out-of-the-way swims often involving half a mile or more walk to reach around Homersfield, Earsham and Needham on club's waters.

Worth a mention too is Diss and District AC's paradise settings around Monk's Hall at Syleham. More resilient to cold water and colour, the chub is a worthy Waveney winter quarry, fishing 6lb maxima straight through on the reel, and a big bait on a number six hook, under current conditions. For this species the wonderful Waveney can easily challenge the upper Wensum's dominance, although a barbel would be a rarity indeed. However, last year's 7lb specimen, caught by an otter and positively identified well away from the water on a Bungay Golf Course putting hole green, shows that this wonderful river can throw up fantastic surprises.