Youngsters prove Blickling Lake is alive – and kicking

The Codgers line up for their charity match. Picture: SUBMITTED

The Codgers line up for their charity match. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

'Blickling Lake? Waste of time fishing for a scale busting fish there – the otters have had them,' writes Roy Webster.

That was the latest lament from disappointed dabblers who blame just about anything for their own shortcomings after failing to lure the fish of their dreams.

But the latest capture of two magnificent specimens from this National Trust treasure suggests the critics are wrong again.

On the opening day on this picturesque 20-acre, man-made beauty spot, two mind boggling carp were heaved out, one each for two young anglers visiting Blickling for the first time.

They were James and Harry, whose day permits resulted in outstanding examples of the species, scaling 33lb 6oz and 41lb 7oz.

Lake bailiff Glyn Sutton, who during his 82 years knows more about Blickling than most, witnessed the heaviest fish – the magnificently-scaled, 40-pound plus common.

'I think these two specimens prove Blickling Lake is still worth a visit,' he said.

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'Unfortunately, not as many anglers come here nowadays for the bumper bream and roach, not to mention our monster perch.'

Blickling is one of the oldest estate lakes in the county. Day permits to fish are issued on the bank, season tickets at the main office. Further details 01263 738030.

On the matter of dead or damaged fish on the banks, fishery experts suggest that the numerous mink populating North Norfolk, rather than the still thinly scattered resurgent otters, are the culprits.

While on the subject of mink, the annual newsletter from the Norfolk Mink Project reports that a total of 99 of these aliens were trapped last year.

Now a request has gone out to anglers to report any tell-tale signs spotted after a visit from these black ferret-like carnivores, especially along the non-tidal rivers Wensum and Bure, where numbers indicate an increase over the previous year.

Contact for the Bure and Yare is Stephan Mace 07920 522054; the Wensum, Nar and Wissey is Paul Gambling 07950 555279; Waveney and Little Ouse is Penny Hemphil 01473 890089; North Norfolk is Rory Hart 07950 555279.

Of the other big fish waters, Taswood was a star performer for Dan Smith with common carp of 36lb 4oz and 33lb, Paul Howells a common of 31lb 8oz, Tony McKail with a common of 33lb and Steve Aldous with a common, also of 33lb.

At Catch 22 Mr Lakey, weighed in a mirror of 34lb 6oz and a 33lb 6oz common, while the best at Swangey was a near 30lb mirror for Luke O'Callaghan.

Best chub reported from the River Wensum was a 5lb 8oz specimen from Taverham Mill, tempted by bailiff Rich Keeble on a dry fly.

On the newly-opened rivers catch returns were satisfactory if not sensational.

The first round of the Nisa Feeder League was won by Brian Gooch (Angling Direct) with 19lb 8oz of bream from peg 97.

Runner-up Brian Weavers (Sportsmans) had 17lb 9oz from 146 and Will Freeman (Preston Innovations) 17lb 9oz from 114.

The trial visit to the River Ant was revealing until the boats came through, the winner Norwich angler Kevin Fuller with 24lb 6oz of bream.

Match catches on the commercials were again spectacular. Warren Martin netted 40 carp to top Barford's Saturday card with 206lb 14oz, then Paul Gardiner with 151lb 12oz.

Charity fundraising was the aim of Codgers for Prostate Cancer Research.

A total of 26 caring anglers, all over 65 and vulnerable, raised a sum of £225.

By a remarkable coincidence, the winning trophy was lifted by its donor John Thomson with a catch of 79lb on the Railway.

Organiser Terry Lear, runner-up on the day with 66lb 12oz, said: 'Our members are of an age when this problem could arise and they all chipped in, while Barford's manager Sarah Thomson boosted the total by a splendid contribution to make the day worthwhile.'

Other winners were Mick Alexander with 134lb 4oz at Mill Farm and Colin Reynolds with 138lb 4oz at Bridge Farm.

n On a more serious note, the news that two otters were drowned in unlicensed fyke nets has generated great concern among anglers and eel fishermen alike.

The location of this barbaric, wicked offence can be revealed only as 'one of Norfolk's non-tidal rivers' while investigations continue. Question is: Were the nets deliberately set to catch otters and crayfish accidently, or vice versa? Or were they planted to trap bait fish?

North Norfolk's Ron Westgate is a veteran commercial eel fisherman. He said he was devastated to read the news of this wildlife tragedy in the EDP. 'We employ tagged fyke nets and over the years many have been stolen, so quite wrongly we could be getting the blame for this,' he feared.