Broads safe from closure

Broads Authority officials have scotched persistent rumours that the famous Trinity Broads at Ormesby, Rollesby and Filby are to be closed to angling and sailing while restoration work goes ahead.

Broads Authority officials have scotched persistent rumours that the famous Trinity Broads at Ormesby, Rollesby and Filby are to be closed to angling and sailing while restoration work goes ahead.

The story that fuelled these unsubstantiated fears appeared to have its sources within the Broads Angling Strategy Group, writes Roy Webster.

However, the Broads Authority conservation team leader Dan Hoare completely dismissed these whispers as uninformed scaremongering whose seeds were first sown by an off-the-cuff remark that mud-pumping work to remove phosphate-enriched silt from these broads was not only desirable but absolutely necessary if these picturesque broads were to return to their former glory when multi coloured lily beds thrived, attracting nature lovers and anglers alike to the wildlife paradise.

But with greater demands on available cash there will be no funding available now or in the foreseeable future for any large-scale exercise to assist Mother Nature to repair man's pollution damage.

Mr Hoare explained further: “The only work we are immediately planning involves mud-pumping the eastern arm of Sportsmans Broad, and this small area will be closed until the operation is completed. I can reassure people who run the fishing dinghy hire fleets and the sailing craft that there are no proposals that could close them down or ban fishing on these waters.

“I would like to think that funding could become available to continue our efforts to improve water quality, but right now we have only sufficient cash for the supplementary mud dredging on the Sportsmans Broad. I can assure all concerned that there are no plans to start work on the Eels Foot Broad or on Rollesby and Filby that would stop angling or sailing.”

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Anglers may remember that the Sportsmans Broad was given an almost completely overhaul some years ago, and this has resulted in important aquatic plants thriving again with fish stocks rising to the point where anglers this autumn have been catching large numbers of quality pike.

There are also giant perch, bream and tench lurking in these waters and anglers may seek them out in fishing dinghies available for hire from Kingfisher Boats off the A149 (01493 748724), the Eels Foot Hotel (01493 730342) or contacting the Filby Restaurant concerning any vacancies in their boat syndicate (01493 368142).

Meanwhile worrying news comes from the upper river Thurne that the annual slaughter of quality pike due to careless handling and inappropriate barbarous snap tackle hooks, appears to have begun.

Last week a corpse of a pike estimated at well over 20lb was discovered in the river above Martham, and a closer inspection by anglers suggested this superb fish had swallowed a set of baited treble hooks and had not recovered from the deep throat surgery after being returned to the water.

Jardine snap tackle consists of two or three sets of treble hooks strung along a wire trace and were originally invented for use on baited liggers (now unlawful) to catch pike for the fish markets or for home consumption.

Caring pike anglers now fish with a single or a double hook on the end of the trace thus avoiding deep hooking and unnecessary deaths of their quarry.

Other species feeding in the Thurne are bream and roach, at least they were until this week's frosty nights. But the weather forecast is favourable for weekend sport so bream can be expected from the stretch below the Martham boatyard with the fish likely to feed voraciously towards sundown.

On the match scene, hopes of the Yarmouth Brownalls sponsored teams of lifting the Barford Winter League championship appear to have been largely washed away in last Sunday's downpour.

The best local effort came from Pownalls Boys who were fifth in this third round and that is their position in the league table five points off leaders Carp Vader.

The outstanding catch for this penultimate round was made by well known Norfolk match ace Warren Martin who, fishing for Unreliables, heaved out a massive record catch of 363lb 13oz from the Barford Pleasure Lake.

League standings: Carp Vader 23, Unreliables 21, DAD 20, Barford 19, Pownalls Boys 18.

Along the beaches legions of whiting and a few quality codling have produced excellent sport and Monday night's Sam Hook League at Hopton was won by Martham's Gary Medler with 15lb 11oz including a cod of 6lb, with Tony Thomas (Sheringham) second with 12lb 9oz and Keith Morley (Kessingland) third with 11lb 3oz.

The Martham Freshwater Club result at Melton Ponds was: K Chaplin 74lb 5oz, D Boyce 37lb 4oz, G Boast 32lb 14oz.