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Breaking the ice

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:47 03 July 2010

The debilitating deep freeze that drove most anglers off the water in the past couple of weeks has relented. And with daytime temperatures struggling up those vital few degrees above zero local lakes, ponds and boatyards will be ice-free this weekend, thus kick-starting the new year campaign.

The debilitating deep freeze that drove most anglers off the water in the past couple of weeks has relented. And with daytime temperatures struggling up those vital few degrees above zero local lakes, ponds and boatyards will be ice-free this weekend, thus kick-starting the new year campaign.

After successive days and nights of Siberian weather all coarse fish species should respond and accept baits, especially at the two Burgh Castle fisheries where both carp and silverfish are available, writes Roy Webster.

Match anglers can expect carp action on the Holly Farm Fishery, South Walsham, and all the Barford match lakes are reported open and ready.

For pike anglers the upper reaches of the River Thurne between Candle Dyke and Somerton are favoured, so too is the Trinity group of broads where sport is expected to be brisk for boat anglers after pike using artificial lures and dead-baits.

There has been little angling activity reported from Horsey Mere since the worst of the winter weather set in but now is the time to seek out that special predator lurking in this permit water that once produced the British record pike of 40lbs.

However, anglers should note live-baiting on the Mere is not allowed, but the hotspots for dead-baiting and spinning are the Mill Dyke off the coast road, the entrance to Waxham Cut and perhaps the adjoining Meadow Dyke that runs up from Heigham Sound.

The Sound is one of the top areas in the Thurne Valley for pikeing and it is worth noting that one of the heaviest Broads perch ever recorded scaled 5lb 1½oz caught there by an autumn holidaymaker some 15 years or more ago.

The reason why there are so many pike in the Sound is the colossal bream shoals that are inclined to feed through the winter months, but only after dark if the water is crystal clear.

This also applies to the River Thurne at Martham where 10-pounders are often caught by local rodmen prepared to forego a few hours' sleep.

The Martham Boat Dyke is now ice-free, and towards the end of last year was producing fair nets of skimmer bream, perch and roach. Pike populate the entrance to this dyke with a 20-pounder possible.

Right now pike are in abundance at the top end of the Stalham Cut that ceases at a watery cul-de-sac at Sutton Staithe.

Twenty pound specimens are available along this stretch for boat anglers whose route is via Barton Broad and the River Ant before turning right towards the Stalham Boatyards. Pike fishing in the boat lagoons is for Stalham Club members only but access is available for anglers afloat right up to the entrance to the lagoons.

Little has been heard from South Walsham Broad since a couple of substantial bream catches were reported in the summer. Pike to over 30lbs have been taken from this broad in recent years and the chances of another such specimen are fairly high where the Fleet Dyke that runs up from the River Bure enters the broad.

Local angers who were drawn to brave awful sub-zero conditions at the weekend were not appropriately rewarded.

Stalham Club members cleared their lagoon of almost half an inch of ice in some places before starting their competition, but after five gruelling hours Roger Farmer's 1lb 9oz of small roach took top honours followed by Dennis Pyecroft with 1lb 2oz and then Colin Jonas and Dave Dearman, both with 1lb.

Yarmouth's Browning Pownalls squad men prospered at Barford where Tony Anderson headed the card at the Silverfish open with 13lb 3oz while M Craske headed the Saturday open with 8lb 14oz.

Along the beaches the Norfolk Division of the National Sea League fished at Kelling left reigning champions East Anglia Baits in pole position and favourites to retain their title.

It was a winning catch for their team man Keith Morley, whose 8lb 2oz of whiting and dabs set up the squad for an eight-point victory shared by North Norfolk Lads.

Results - Individuals: K Morley (EA Baits) 8lb 2oz, P Simmons (TCX) 7lb 13oz, T Thomas (NN Lads) 7lb 10oz. Teams on day: EA Baits and North Norfolk Lads both 8 points, TCX and Morston Creek both 12. Leading standings: EA Baits 26, NN Lads 41, TCX 49.

Beach anglers fishing for the pot achieved their best results south of the town with the hotspots at Hopton, Kessingland and lower down around Southwold.


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