What a start to bew coarse fishing season

Swangey Lakes biggest catch of the week, a 33lb 4oz mirror caught by Darren Turner from Gorleston.

Swangey Lakes biggest catch of the week, a 33lb 4oz mirror caught by Darren Turner from Gorleston. - Credit: Archant

After what may be described as a 93 day pregnant pause, patient piscators broke the waters to give birth to a new coarse fishing season on our rivers and broads on Sunday.

And boy, what a baby!

For in addition to massive chub in the River Wensum, opening day winning weights on the match scene exceeded the 20lbs, most notably on the tidals.

A splendid catch of 40lbs 9ozs earned Royston rod Doug Botley the River Yare Championship, the prize money £215.00.

And despite the sad Jonahs of the moaning match fraternity forecasting that on going flood defence work would seriously interfere with the pegging arrangements, quite the opposite was the case.

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Instead high praise was lavished upon the Environment Agency and the contractors who pulled out all the stops to put the final touches on new flood banks, laying turf and netting and grading the slopes safely down to the water's edge.

Match organiser Andy Wilson-Sutter was visibly relieved.

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'I cannot over emphasise how impressed the anglers were by the work that has been almost completed along our match stretch. When finished there will be space available for 120 anglers with path ways levelled and accessible to senior citizens and disabled,' he commented.

'I think we are in for a great season of high quality competition during the Nisa Feeder League that commences next Saturday with 90 bookings already.'

The new River Yare champion, a 57 year old construction industry contract manager who fishes under the Daiwa Angling Direct banner, insisted that Norfolk's tidal rivers were by far the top natural match venues in the country.

'I'm honoured that I have chalked up my first river championship up here, I love this place.

'It's a round trip of more than 160 miles but I don't grudge the cost. Some complain about the boats but they do not affect me and there are times they improve fishing,' he declared.

And the successful method that accounted for bream to over 4lbs apiece? 'There was not a lot of tidal movement at peg 125, I put on a light feeder rig baited with worm and took most of my fish on the flood in the second half,' he recalled.

In the adjacent peg 124 Nigel Knights (Daiwa AD) was runner up with 28lbs 12oz and third spot fell to John Platten (Nisa Feeders) with 23lbs 11oz from peg 23.

On the River Thurne at Martham, Liam Brown headed the Earlham Silvers card with 31lbs 13oz of bream while on the lower Yare at Hardley the EAPS club match was won by S Watts with 22lbs 2oz.

On the river Bure at St Benets, Derek Higgs netted 8lbs 13oz of small skimmers to win the Bakers Arms outing while at Cold Habour on the Thurne the tides were equally slow for the Dukes club with Shaun James and David Gooch tied with 11lbs 8oz of small skimmer and roach.

Next Sunday brings the first round of the NDAA teams of three league at the previous two venues. Draw 5.30am fish 6.45am – 11.45am.

As forecast last week chub were the target on the non tidal rivers, the hot spot Taverham Mill on the Wensum where Poringland permit holder Dennis Howell reeled in an opening day beauty of 6lbs 8oz tempted on halibut pellet.

Head bailiff Simon Wrigglesworth said 'The river has been brilliant. As well as the big one a number of other chub over 5lbs were taken here.'

It was a rather different story on some of the main broads were chill north easterly winds lowered expectations. Not one angling boat was seen on Horsey Mere and catches from the Trinity Broads consisted of a few jack pike and small rudd.

On the lakes carp spawning appears to be haphazard but this did not affect sport at Hinderclay where Russell Ladbrook of Halesworth netted 34 fish totalling 274lbs, while at Hall Farm Burgh Castle, Richard Barnes and 6 year old son Jake from Filby shared a catch of 37 carp estimated at well over 200lbs.

At Swangey Darren Turner of Yarmouth banked his pb mirror at 33lbs 4oz, Ben Addison of Tasburgh bagged a 30lbs 2oz mirror and Brian Swallow of East Harling netted a superb 14lbs bream.

Carp to the mid twenties fell to permit holders Lewis Brighton, Andy Rynn and Ricky Aldous.

At Taswood James Bygrave of Chedgrave netted the carp of the week, a common of 30lbs 8oz and others in the high twenties fell to regulars Kevin Smith, Alan Topley and Adam Newcombe.

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