Visitor hauls out a Broads monster

A holiday angler fishing on the River Thurne has bagged the Broads' heaviest pike of the season.

Pete Burgess, from the Devon coastal town of Brixham, was staying with two other anglers in riverside accommodation downstream of Martham Ferry, where he tempted his monster, scaling 37lb on a roach offered on Paternoster tackle.

The 60-year-old log fire installer left a photograph of his specimen at the Eel's Foot Inn at Ormesby which almost certainly confirmed the length of the fish from fork to tail was almost 50 inches, which puts the weight on the Mona scale at 36-39lb.

Unfortunately, the proud captor presented his fish to the lens displaying only its back, resulting in a skinny image of a narrow body with no visible belly.

Other anglers on the river confirmed the weight and that two other pike of 28lb and 27lb fell to the trio of visitors in the same week.

Mike Brown, who stages open events on the Martham Thurne, said he was not surprised that hefty pike had been caught there.

'Quite a number of match anglers have had bream and roach stolen off their hooks by some of these monsters and smaller ones that are all through the river,' he said.

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The heaviest pike ever taken from the Thurne waters scaled 45lb 8oz for Caister-on-Sea specialist John Goble in March, 2009.

Another of 42lb 8oz fell to visitor Craig Humphries from Hickling Broad the following season.

These recent catches from the River Thurne catchment area and a large number of single-figure pike falling to spinners and lures suggest that anglers' complaints that there is a famine of predators in these waters is due for no other reason than they are unable to catch them.

For the record, there have been at least 25 prime predators exceeding 30lb from this prolific water, all taken during the post-Prymnesium years.

• On the carp waters, an unusually stunning autumn catch of 14 golden-hued crucian carp were reeled out of the Chapel Road Lake at Roughton by former top county darts player Billy Dixon of Sheringham.

The fish, averaging 2lb, fell to float-fished pellet.

At Taswood, members made the most of the dying days of their season – the fishery closes at the end of the month until next season – and Hempnall's Geoff Greenaway bagged four mirrors and one common between 20lb and 27lb 10oz in one session, while Steve Cudden, of Saxlingham, and Kevin Smith of Lingwood recorded fish in the low 20s.

On the match lakes, returns fell below par with the best result achieved by Oddfellows winner Paul Gardiner, who took 109lb 2oz at Barford.