Personal best haul makes it a Happy New Year for Norfolk angler Jaden, 13

The impressive 22.5lb pike caught by Jaden Fairbrother at his favourite fishery, Martham Pits.

The impressive 22.5lb pike caught by Jaden Fairbrother at his favourite fishery, Martham Pits. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

A dedicated teenage sports enthusiast celebrated the new year by heaving out a spectacular 22lb 8oz pike from his favourite Broadland fishery.

Jaden Fairbrother of Martham has been fishing since he was aged three and is 0a regular in the village junior soccer and cricket teams. This is the formidable record of the 13-year-old all rounder, who bagged his personal best predator from the placid waters of Martham Pits near his home.

Speaking of his Yuletide success, the Flegg High School pupil, who turns 14 next month, said: 'I was pike fishing with my dad at Martham Pits and tempted this big one on a roach bait.

'It fought furiously to escape for about two minutes, then it gave up and was easily landed in the net. My ambition now is to bag a 30 pounder.'

The young angler's dad, Ian, who went home home second best on the day with a specimen in the mid teens, added: 'I have been taking my lad fishing for more than 10 years as well as encouraging him to play field sports.

'Youngsters need active encouragement to participate in sports, but obviously considerable numbers are not receiving it. I am immensely proud of my boy's achievements at the waterside and on the sports fields.

'And as for the pike caught from the pits in recent years, none of them are refugees from the problems in the River Thurne.'

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Martham Pits are ancient flooded brickworks, located by the River Thurne. The fishery is run by the village club. It is stocked with all suitable stillwater species, the waiting list to join is closed but day tickets are issued from April to October to benefit visitors to the Broads.

Martham members pioneered otter fencing in 2009, providing their own labour erecting purchased materials for a total cost of just over £2,000.

Elsewhere, with winter weather and floods confined to the north, the quality of fishing on local waters has been above average with a smorgasbord of varying results.

On the River Wensum upstream of Foundry Bridge, the Zenith club match was won by James Thurston with 23lb 9oz of quality bream, while by contrast towards Carrow Bridge, Robert Hubbard weighed top catch of 12lb 2oz of tiny roach at the Linda Thomson Memorial on Boxing Day.

Sunday's sixth round of the Angling Direct League provided winner David Gooch with 14lb 11oz of similar fish and a makeweight perch.

On the lakes Dennis Goodwin (Kingfishers) completed a fine double at Cobble Acre with 25lb 8oz and 83lb 5oz and Simon Easy (Stan Jay) lifted the final old year event at Cross Drove with 49lb 8oz. At Hinderclay, Tony Anderson saw in the new year with 28lb 8oz of silver fish and Monday's top catch at Mill Farm was 45lb 8oz for Neil Paske (Dereham).

On the club scene Steve Brown dominated Dereham's event with 55lb 10oz at Wicklewood and Wymondham's winner on the Willow was Dave Jarvis with 55lbs.

Pike anglers have also benefited from high water temperatures. One angler returning from Filby Broad reported to boat proprietor Richard Barnes that he had received more than 40 runs from pike and netted more than 30 of them to double figures.

Horsey Mere and Hickling Broad were also more promising with a 20 pounder reported from Deep Dyke. However, according to Norwich top deadbait specialist Nick Beardmore, the broads hotspot is the River Bure between Wroxham and Horning, offering the best chances of a 30 between now and the end of the season.

The specimen carp lakes have remained at peak form during the holiday break. At Catch 22, Paul Burley saw out the old year with 10 hefty carp, headed by a common of 33lbs and a mirror of 30lbs.

Taswood regulars bagged 17 carp over 20lbs, the two best taken by Shaun Ramsbottam with a 31lb 12oz mirror and Julian Miller a 31lb 10oz common.

Peering into the crystal ball, the first round of the Nisa Feeder 'early bird' winter league commences on Saturday at 10am, draw 8.30am.

The flood tide will run until noon and the ebb until the final whistle. With no overnight frost this week, catches containing quality roach are forecast by matchman Kevin Paynter who netted specimens to 1lbs 8oz this week,