Bass swim back into contention

Angling by Roy WebsterDISAPPOINTED beach anglers who had given up hope of a bass boom this spring are suddenly full of good cheer. They are catching again.

Angling by Roy Webster

DISAPPOINTED beach anglers who had given up hope of a bass boom this spring are suddenly full of good cheer. They are catching again.

Not huge specimens by any means, but a fair number in the 4lb to 6lb range and many

more hovering on the 40cm mark, just eligible for the pan.

Beaches between Caister and Sheringham appear to be the favoured hot spots, with one angler reportedly taking a large number of sizeable fish, which he sold off locally for a princely three-figure sum.

This practice of fishing for financial reward rather than for fun is frowned upon by the great majority of recreation beach anglers. But, since there is no fish protection legislation governing the number of bass an angler may retain providing they exceed the statutory size limit, it is a free for all.

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And, even if angling quotas were introduced, who would enforce them? That is why the fisheries ministers abandoned this idea last year.

Catching bass for family and friends is why many beach anglers invest time and money on bait and travelling to the shoreline, and this public right has been enjoyed for centuries.

However, whether deliberately setting out to land a barrow full of bass for sale to the local catering trade actually fulfils the unwritten voluntary conservation policy of societies in favour of bass protection is a matter of conscience for the individual, even though there prevails a more enlightened attitude towards fish conservation in the 21st century.

John Lambert, who runs a specialised sea fishing tackle and bait counter in his Avenue Angling shop just off the Yarmouth Road, Beccles, is himself a bass angler.

“Many of my customers return almost every bass they catch alive, just taking home one fish for the family table. A lot of them are up in

arms over a report that one angler took away nearly 40 bass, selling them to the restaurant trade,” he said.

“There are a fair number of bass about right now, especially off north Norfolk beaches. These fish are feeding on peeler crab and I expect them to be gone by the middle of June.”

On the freshwater scene, carp anglers have been bagging up with impressive specimens.

One of the heaviest reported at the weekend was a 31lb 2oz common winched out of Taswood by Gorleston regular Liam Tucker.

Filby's Peter Drewry netted a 28lb 4oz common from Swangey while at Hall Farm, Burgh Castle, Frank Rose, of Cobholm, banked 22 carp to 16lb 6oz, Glen O'Rourke, Yarmouth, had half a dozen to 18lb 9oz and another town rod, Alan Luxton, chalked up 18 fish to 13lb 8oz.

Match results. Tackle X Change Sea League (Bollards Quay): P Tovell (Gorleston) 3lb, M Gooch (Lowestoft) 2lb 4oz, T Thomas (Holt) 1lb 6oz.

Sportsmans (Reepham Fishery): K Hodgins 74lb 4oz, R Silverwood 71 2oz, M Colman 39lb 15oz.

Freshwater fixtures. Marsh Trail lakes open Saturday, May 15, Lake C. Draw 9am, fish 10am to 4pm, �15 per head all in fee, optional gold/silver/bronze peg standing over �230.

For booking and details contact David on 01502 476219 or 07913 115610.