Time to take advantage of catching warm winter tale

North Walsham veteran Jim Randell took this striking 8lb koi carp from Cobbleacre Lakes. Picture: Cr

North Walsham veteran Jim Randell took this striking 8lb koi carp from Cobbleacre Lakes. Picture: Craig Gladding - Credit: Archant

Message for freshwater anglers: make the most of the remaining days of 2015.

According to the weather men, the only connection with a wintery yuletide this year is likely to be Bing Crosby's rendition of White Christmas.

Then it could turn bitter in the New Year, possibly as cold as 1963, which enabled drivers of Morris Minors to emulate Ice Road Truckers along the River Bure between Wroxham and Caister-on-Sea.

Or maybe not. But why wait?

Tackle up and get out there now and enjoy the 20-day forecast, which includes the Christmas break with daytime temperatures in double figures and overnight frost unlikely to form ice in the garden birdbath, let alone rivers and lakes.

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Thus, global warming will have produced yet another warm year record, persuading coarse fish to feed freely and put on weight well in advance of their spawning period.

On rivers and lakes last week, spectacular returns were recorded by match and pleasure anglers alike.

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At Bergh Apton, the veterans' top four all weighed in three-figure nets, headed by former Broads champion David Roe with a staggering 152lb 9oz.

The Barford midweek was lifted by Norwich rod David Cooper with 123lb 15oz, while Warren Martin (Barford) with 94lb 9oz and Daniel Brydon (Wensum Valley) with 13lb 10oz joined forces to win the silver and gold with a perfect two penalty points from an aggregate of 108lb 3oz.

Suffolk Angling Direct's Carl Gibson and Barford's Paul Gardiner also scored 2pp (aggregate 86lb 3oz) then Barford's David and Chris Cooper 4pp (68lb 2oz).

At Cobbleacre, spectacular fish of the week was a highly-variegated, koi carp scaling 8lb for North Walsham veteran Jim Randell.

On the River Wensum, roach and perch featured in the fourth round of the Angling Direct League along Riverside, where the two holiday events – memorials for Jim Boulton and Linda Thomson – on Boxing Day and New Years Day will be popular (entry Angling Direct Tackle Shop).

Winner on the day was Pete Swan with 18lb 4oz, then Glen Hubbard with 15lb 2oz and David Gooch with 14lb 6oz.

And the good news for pike anglers according to Swan? There seemed a hungry predator in every swim. For piking, boat angling is favoured along this tidal Wensum venue which joins the River Yare at Trowse.

On the River Thurne, night anglers have reported monster bream from an area opposite Candle Dyke, the heaviest around the six-pound mark.

Unfortunately, pike populations have yet to recover here from the ravages of toxic algae and sea surge.

Anglers with boat access to the River Bure at Acle report catches of both bream and roach when the river is saline free.

Upstream at Horning and Wroxham, pike fishing has begun in earnest, with excellent prospects expected by the Wroxham Angling Centre.

Similar opportunities exist on the River Ant at Wayford, Stalham and Irstead, likewise on the upper reaches of the tidal rivers Yare and Waveney.

Because of rationed free bank access on the non tidals, pike fishing is limited, but recommended by the Norwich-based Nick Beardmore (The Bard of the Broads) who pre-baits his swims with sprats.

Roach on the non-tidal Wensum are also achieving a welcome upsurge, according to Roger Gibbons, formerly a member of the beat-all Yarmouth dream team of the 1970s, along with Dave Docwra, Keith Hyde and yours truly, who achieved a stunning aggregate of nearly 150lbs of roach to fill the top four places at the annual Holkham Lake Championship, while achieving similar success on all local and Fenland rivers.

Gibbons now concentrates on his fly fishing, but still manages a float session on the Swanton Morley stretch where he has caught roach throughout the season.

On the specialist carp waters, catches are well up on last year, with the best at Taswood last week a 36lb 1oz ghostie for Paul Cossey, with others in the low 30s for Jack Colman, Steve Aldous and Steve Cudden, benefiting from cheap winter permits ranging from £5 on the coarse lakes to £10 for the carp.

At Catch 22, sport was brisk with four 30s recorded among at least another 20 scaling more than 20lb.

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