Wensum festival on cards

An exciting angling festival could eventually develop into a new Wensum Valley annual championship staged on the non-tidal river and an adjacent lake complex.

This idea came out of the two-day event at the weekend sponsored by Preston Innovations, Lewis Anglers World, Dynamite Baits and Nisa Feeders.

The competition attracted top match men from all over East of England and beyond for the stay over tournament that featured doubles on Saturday and singles on Sunday along the previously untried Billingford match length.

Heading a chub bonanza with very few roach or dace on show was Bob Wessells (Bait Tech) who reeled four chub to 4lbs 15oz for a total of 16lbs 6oz, boosted by his partner Chris Jakubowski to 16lbs 7oz with one tiny dace. The pair collected �100 in cash prizes along with the WVFA trophy and replica and numerous items of tackle and bait.

Hertfordshire big barbel specialist Keith Speer, who threatens to carry off the National Drennan Cup Award this year, also landed four chub to 4lbs 14oz and his partner Dave Cunnell also contributed 1oz in the 15lbs 5oz runner's-up total. Best local pair were Framingham Earl brothers Trevor and Alan Clarke, the latter also contributing 1oz in the 13lbs 9oz third-placed aggregate.

On day two, well-known Halesworth bait buff Lol Higgins, now a member of the Veterans club, excelled by tempting four chub totalling a winning 15lbs 15oz to carry off the Basil Todd Trophy and replica, �60 in cash as well as sponsor prizes. Runner-up on the day was Jakubowski with 11lbs 9.5 oz.

Match organiser Keith Westgate said he was delighted with the result and agreed the event could lead to a much larger Wensum Valley championship incorporating a lake fishery as well as the river in a two day event.

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'Considering there were so many other matches going on I was happy with the attendance,' he said. 'A number of anglers and their families stayed overnight in the hotel and apart from the fact there were no small fish showing in non-chub areas I am happy to give it another go next year,' he said.

n Lathams Fishing.co.uk are champions of the Barford Winter league.

Their five-man squad of Daniel Brydon, Paul Goldstraw, Vince Cross, Andy Leathers and Richard Martin conserved their vital points lead at the summit by finishing in third spot with 18 penalty points behind the Tuckeroos on 10 and Suffolk Angling Direct Gold on 14.

For relieved team boss Brydon the result was a triumph of hard work, dedication and the will to banish the thoughts of the previous year's failure in the run-in.

'We've pulled it off this time and it was due to consistency from every team member that set us up with a huge margin for error after the first three rounds of the five,' he said.

'We slipped out of the running in the fourth round, but fortunately Tuckeroos did us a favour on Sunday and we finished the series with six points to spare over Suffolk AD Gold runners-up.'

n The King of the Wensum series in the heart of Norwich, where the best six results fromeight rounds along Riverside were taken into account, finished with Steve Borrett (Earlham Silvers) lifting the title with eight penalty points followed by Pete Swan (Earlham Silvers) on nine and David Gooch (NDAA), Robert Hubbard (DIAWA AD) and Wayne Anderson (Anglers World) on 11, but divided by aggregate weights in that order.

During the series prize money from entry fees and the pools totalled �2,164, of which champion Borret pocketed �208 for winning the series on top of other cash awards from the match pools.

On the match lakes, catch of the week fell to Rod Latham, winner of the CMG at Colton with 118lbs 4oz.

n Pike anglers hoping to continue their sport during the river and Broads closed season on the commercial lakes could do worse than visit Swangy Lakes, where three magnificent specimens were tempted on dead baits. Head Bailiff Alan Reynolds netted the best at 28lbs 2oz with others of 27lbs 10oz for Andrew Day of Attleborough and 23lbs 13oz for Andy Woodcroft of Shropham.

Carp also fed at this venue for Steven Jones, Attleborough, rewarded by a mirror at 28lbs 3oz and linear of 22lbs while James Goodwood, Lowestoft netted and common and a mirror in the mid 20s.

n At Nar Valley Fisheries to carp rod of the moment is Phil Lee who has tackled Lake Geneva and in his last two sessions landed nine carp, including seven 20lb plus fish. His best fish was a mirror of 28lb.