Angling focus

Angling by Roy WebsterBROADS pike anglers who fear for their fishing in the River Thurne waters claim they have been sidelined in the Heigham Sounds dredging debate.

Angling by Roy Webster

BROADS pike anglers who fear for their fishing in the River Thurne waters claim they have been sidelined in the Heigham Sounds dredging debate.

And, to add to their consternation, it appears that not all of the contemporaries are signing from their hymn sheet.

In a press release from the Broads Authority, the chairman of the Broads Angling Strategy Group, Mark Casto, is quoted: “We are all rightly concerned about dredging Heigham Sounds but I urge anglers to keep their worries in perspective. People who live and enjoy the Broads must try harder to be tolerant to each other and work together to repair the bridge of trust.”

Well-known Lincolnshire pike angler Neville Fickling, who once held the British pike record with a 41lb 6oz specimen from the Thurne, went further. He said: “We should be doing what is best all round for the ecology and diversity of the Broads rather than for our own interest. Nobody wants to see fish die, but that is just part of the big picture.”

Norwich and District Pike Anglers Club chairman Stephen Roberts, who along with his committee was one of the first anglers to raise the spectre of the fish killer algae Prymnesium being activated by the dredging operation, said he was dismayed that the views of Casto and Fickling did not chime with the anxieties voiced by the great majority of Broads anglers. They fear another fish catastrophe on the scale of the 1969 carnage when millions of fish were wiped out by lethal toxin released by the algal blooms.

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“I think this matter is now fait accompli, the dredging will go ahead regardless of what anglers say. We are not happy with the remarks of Mark Casto and Neville Fickling and we hope to be taking issue with them,” said Roberts.

Dr Dan Hoare, the waterways conservation manager for the Broads Authority has reassured anglers that the dredging scheme has been designed to prevent any negative impact on water quality. Regular water checks will be carried out as well as detailed analysis of any algae.

Plans are also in the pipeline to establish a freshwater fish refuge on the pattern that saved thousands of fish during periodic Prymnesium outbreaks during the early 1970s.

A brand new angling team representing the tackle company Lathams, which owns the centre at Potter Heigham, has achieved astounding success in its first effort at league fishing.

Their team of five, captained by well-known match lake expert Daniel Brydon, carried off top honours in the first round of the Barford series.

Postponed because of the freeze-up, the

all-star line up finally assembled on the Willow, Pleasure and Railways lakes fighting furiously for supremacy. But, by the end, the Lathams squad had successfully beaten off a sustained challenge from the Lewis Anglers' World, who A and B teams filled the next two places.

Lathams performed superbly in every section to finish with eight penalty points, followed by Lewis A on 12 and Lewis B 17.

Individually, there was hardly much more than a small skimmer bream between the

top three.

All were pegged on the Railway, where James Parnell (LAWB) won with 42lb 11oz, then followed Neil Parkinson (Lathams) with 42lb and Sty Bracey (LAWA) with 39ln 20z.Commenting on the first round results, Brydon said: “After a long wait because of the awful weather I was delighted to get this tournament going. Results were patchy but fair and I was especially delighted that my team got off the mark with an excellent performance.

“We have the experience at Barford and, although I realise we are up against some class performers, we shall press on and hope to take this championship which is now reduced to three rounds because of the postponement.”

Results. Burgh Castle open: K Barfield (Lacons) 18lb 2oz, D Grimwood (Sextons) 12lb 4oz, L Arnold (Jolly Boys) 12lb. Stalham AC (Club Lagoon): J Higginson 9lb 8oz, D Egerton 7lb 6oz, J Hehir and D Dearman 6lb 10oz.

Along the beaches sport remained patchy with flat fish species dominating but spring codling to 3lb are expected within casting range in the next 10 days.