Tolley’s chub delight – but big fish are still in hiding

WAVENEY VALLEY: Malcom Tolley caught a good-sized chub weighing in at 6lb 14oz from the bottom end of Stow Fen at Earsham on the free fishing stretch.

A few miles above at the Cherry Tree's Earsham stretch, a couple of similar sized chub were landed last year but the 7lb plus fish known to exist there and near to the bottom of Bungay Common are still to show.

There was not that many brilliant results on the river, and the quay is starting to suffer from having four matches a week and quite a few fish are spending time in the keepnets on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and some Saturdays, besides the pressure of pleasure fishing.

The 30lb-plus bags boom experienced after the ice-over has tailed away, although 10lb is still possible on the pole, but a lot of fish have now shied off this line to feed a bit further out.

There are good quality roach in the river between the bridges, but only a few are inclined to feed with any fervour. The skimmers are more reliable on the feeder to a pair of red maggots.

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Slowness to feed by shoaling fish has seen the humble, spined, cocky ruffe, not so often termed as a pope these days, creeping in to the swim.

With the record of 5oz 4dr listed as coming from a Cumbria stillwater, some chubby 3-4oz ruffe, six to seven inches, caught lately on worm intended for perch and looking most zander-like, are certainly heading that way in the tidal Waveney.

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With the Waveney's water quality now the best for decades, there are several of these mini species such as the loach and gudgeon which are serving as valuable ecological barometers. Those small bottom feeders, and the now well-established fat dace, really thrive on the streamy gravel riffles re-introduced, creating oxygen and current flow.

Clearly echoing the tremendous steps forward the Environment Agency, with hard-working fisheries officer Steve Lane and his out-field workers, have taken in their stewardship of the upper river areas, these developments bode well for the future of the Waveney and it fished its head off for roach and dace at the weekend.

Following a tip from top angling administrator Tony Gibbons of the Norwich and District AA regarding club angling insurance, last year both the 110-strong Fleece AC and Earsham AC changed insurers to local company Mead Sport & Leisure Ltd of Smallburgh.

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