Wheelie boat is a welcome addition

Disabled anglers can now go afloat on the Broads with the launch of a new wheelie boat.

The boat has a roll-on, roll-off bow ramp and level deck, providing wheelchair users with easy access.

The vessel, based on the River Yare, was launched by a partnership between the Agency and the Norwich and District Pike Club.

Club members are donating time, tackle and bait to take out those who may not normally have the opportunity to fish from a boat.

During the close season the boat will also be used for other trips on the broads, including bird watching and general interest in the waterways.

EA fisheries officer Tom Howard said: 'Being able to work with the Norwich and District Pike Club in this project is brilliant. It has taken a lot of hard work from both parties, but I think this will prove very worthwhile.

'Providing angling for all on the Broads is a key priority for us and being involved in a partnership project which creates boat fishing opportunities on the Broads is superb.

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'Our work towards bank fishing has really stepped up in recent years but creating an opportunity to be afloat will give anglers a unique edge when targeting Broadland species, especially pike.'

Anyone who is interested in booking a trip in the boat should contact Jon Currie on 07776 221959 or Stephen Roberts on 07928 394476.

Meanwhile, anglers can now fish an extra stretch of the Cut Off Channel around Downham Market.

When the Environment Agency surveyed the stretch around Stoke Ferry waterworks, they found many fish, including large bream and pike, shoaled-up in the area.

This had been an open secret for years, with one or two anglers braving the fishing ban until those 'guesting' the stretch began to find themselves hauled up in front of the beak.

King's Lynn AA and the EA have now worked to open up 2kms of Cut off Channel banks around the waterworks, improving access to the banks and replacing signage to show where angling is allowed.

When work on the river bank is completed later this year there will be 60 new pegs on the north bank of the river and the 'dead arm' extending upstream to the Wissey syphon.

Lynn AA has signed a new five-year lease on the fishery. Secretary Ashley Brown said: 'We appreciate times are changing so as part of the agreement we have agreed to help carry out some of the work and take on the enforcement of the section, saving the EA much-needed resources.

'Combining this project with the platform installations on the Little Ouse and swim creation on the Relief Channel has opened up and improved access to more than 150 pegs, which is a great result for the club and local anglers.'