Vulnerable Norfolk waters get all-clear after big blow

Nar Valley Fisheries recorded its fifth reported 40lb-plus carp of the season. Chris Abbott fished L

Nar Valley Fisheries recorded its fifth reported 40lb-plus carp of the season. Chris Abbott fished Lake Geneva for a 48-hour session and ended up with the catch of a lifetime. Chris, a former site record holder, had fish rolling in front of him and the result was a common of 30lb 12oz, mirrors of 33lb 12oz, 37lb 4oz and the Nar Valley Fisheries record mirror of 45lb 2oz. - Credit: Submitted

The big blow from the Arctic snow plains passed without visible damage to Broads fish stocks populating the vulnerable tidal rivers open to toxic sea surges.

That's the good news from local angling bosses, who patrolled the river banks on Sunday and Monday, and which was then confirmed by the Environment Agency press office who issued another tidal surge alert this week.

Andy Wilson-Sutter declared the River Yare had shown no signs of dead or distressed fish and Tony Gibbons observed that the exposed areas of the River Thurne and Bure were also unaffected.

Wilson-Sutter, who heads angling control of the River Yare between Rockland and Langley said: 'I have not seen or received any reports of trouble from the salt tides this time, but we are not as vulnerable as the northern rivers Bure and Thurne.'

Gibbons, who witnessed fish being caught on Monday from the Thurne, agreed there were no signs of trouble.


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'I visited Martham and Potter Heigham – a couple of anglers were catching fish and I firmly believe we have escaped the trouble this time,' he said.

'But we know there is more to come'.

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Rita Penman, head of the EA press office, added: 'We have received no reports or discovered any fish casualties from last Saturday's extreme weather,' she said.

Even so, the sudden inclement conditions seemed to drive both anglers and fish into a state of temporary truce.

On Saturday, any notion of pole fishing was literally blown away as a cost risk, futile exercise on unprotected venues, where many rod men decided to head for the fireside before the final whistle. Steve Kindlysides, the Deben stalwart, was just one of three who remained at Cobbleacre to win with 44lb 8oz.

At Holly Farm, Jim Randell (Sensas) was top rod with 55lb 2oz and Kevin Clarke (Mulbarton) headed Mill Farm's card with 52lb 6oz.

• The eyes have it, the eyes have it! Unfortunately, this is not a soundbite taken from the Speaker announcing result of a parliament vote to allocate extra funds to protect the Broads from the rising seas, but a mundane means recommended by fish experts helping to separate coarse fish hybrids from the real thing.

When it comes to claiming records or just high praise for a hefty roach, there are many more errors of decoding the physical features of true lineage than any species.

A recent example was a 3lb 8oz fish caught from Oulton Broad, reported as a roach in the national angling magazines. But, as the picture revealed, the fish exhibited a yellow eye instead of the standard bright red iris around the pupil.

Yellow-eyed rudd populate Oulton Broad and, unless Mother Nature has produced an unusual freak, this fish, beyond acceptable doubt, was a roach/rudd hybrid.

In addition, the standard scale count test is no longer regarded as foolproof, since some scientists accept hybrids are able to spawn. This throws into doubt whether a red-eyed fish that appears roach is pedigree and whether the triangular formation of the pelvic and anal fins up to the dorsal is now reliable.

Whether those spectacular roach catches from the non-tidal rivers Wensum, Bure and Yare were really true roach will never be known. Huge rudd also swam freely during the 1970s and there were a number captured in excess of 3lb that may well have joined the roach in an annual spawn-fest.

Now it is recommended that a more conclusive test via DNA is required to remove any inbreeding doubt. Captors of such fish should first notify by phone BRFC secretary Nick Simmonds (01508 820447) or e-mail brfc@anglingtrust.net. After that, half a fish scale with details of capture should be posted to Simmonds, Angling Trust, Eastwood House, Rainbow Street, Leominster, HR6 8FQ.

• A brand new club is being formed in Norwich to attract more youngsters into match fishing as well as hoping to lay on transport for pensioners and disabled people unable to drive to the waterside. Leading this cool initiative is Norwich angler Dale Moore (07471 901860) whose Outkast Angling Club has its HQ at the Heartsease pub.

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