Upton facelift a boost ahead of June 16

Senior citizens who yearn for the good old days fishing from the verdant banks of the River Bure at Upton in important events like the Broads Championship and the Norwich and District League can turn the clock back to those soaring 70s when the new coarse season kicks in just 12 days from now on June 16.

The source of this excitement along the upstream bank from the Upton Dyke mouth has been the massive facelift by the Environment Agency, completed under the direction of Steve Lane, the Norwich-based fisheries specialist of the Anglia Region.

And it's good news for pleasure anglers too, especially the physically handicapped, who will discover a level, wheelchair-friendly pathway along the dyke leading to the river bank, where up to a dozen special flat angling platforms were being installed this spring.

In addition, fishing spaces have been cut out of the reedy margins to boost any match pegging to up to 50 anglers at any one time.

Speaking at the annual Norwich and District Anglers' get-together, Lane, from the Environment Agency, said it was important to improve angling access wherever possible for the benefit of both local and visiting anglers. He agreed there were problems providing car park facilities, but this was not the case at Upton because there was sufficient space for a number of vehicles at the top end of Upton Dyke.

Tony Gibbons, the Norwich and District chairman and consultant, who has been collaborating with the EA on the Upton project, said: 'The EA have put in an immense amount of effort there. Anglers have been provided with all their needs – a car park, a level approach, proper fishing stagings for the disabled and other well-prepared spaces for club fishing.

'Add to that the truly massive shoals of bream and roach and it all adds up to a great new fishing season on the River Bure at Upton, fabulous fishing for us and the angling tourists this summer.'

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That's just a taste of sport to come in the new season. On the River Yare, the first event, the Yare Championship, is to be staged on opening day and tickets are already flying out. Entry £20 (Andy Wilson-Sutter 07990 572729).

On the match lakes, the long-awaited, re-arranged second leg of the Wensum Valley Championship duly went ahead at Lenwade, where Tony Gibbons successfully defended his title with an 8lb 5oz net of small roach that earned him another two penalty points, bringing his total to four to hit the tape with a one-point advantage. Kevin Humphries lifted the silver salver and various tackle items from sponsors Preston Innovations and Nisa Feeders and products donated by Premier Baits for his top catch of 8lb 9oz of mainly skimmers.

Returns were excellent on the match lakes, particularly at Abbey Waters, where Matt Wiles (Attleborough MG) racked up a massive 186lb 1oz winner. Mark Girling topped the Codgers with 131lb 6oz at Barford and Rod Finch won at Mill Farm with 108lb 4oz.

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