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Good news for anglers

PUBLISHED: 08:31 22 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 July 2010

LOCAL freshwater anglers hoping for bumper catches from the River Bure before their coarse season ends on March 14 can take heart.

For the popular stretches of this prolific fishery from St Benets Abbey to Acle, which was seriously polluted by sea water penetration in November, now contain substantial shoals of bream, writes Roy Webster.

LOCAL freshwater anglers hoping for bumper catches from the River Bure before their coarse season ends on March 14 can take heart.

For the popular stretches of this prolific fishery from St Benets Abbey to Acle, which was seriously polluted by sea water penetration in November, now contain substantial shoals of bream, writes Roy Webster.

This was discovered during last week's cold snap when anglers armed with electronic fish finders located numbers of these slap-sided beauties in a number of well-chosen areas.

One well-known Norfolk lake boss, Derek Beales from Great Ellingham, enjoyed a change of scenery and he was just one of the intrepid rod men who loaded the fishing tackle into the dinghies and made for the deep water of the Bure.

“We saw images of fish on the equipment from the bottom of the River Thurne and into the Bure towards Acle. In places the river was black with fish,” recalls Beales.

“We caught bream to over 8lb apiece during the flood tide but there were no roach and no small bream. For some reason the monsters went off feed quite suddenly when the tide changed to ebb when we didn't receive another bite.”

Other anglers who tried their luck towards Acle Bridge also reported bream catches, so true to form these fish have returned to their usual late winter quarters as the days lengthen and the sun shines brighter in the sky.

This is encouraging news for river match anglers and plans are already in the pipeline to organise at least one open event at St Benets Abbey with at least one club also revising their end-of-season schedule to book a match on the Bure.

Tony Gibbons, the chief organiser of all the major River Bure tournaments said he would be announcing a date for an end-of-season competition at St Benets Abbey.

He added: “We have received the news we have been waiting for and I'm delighted anglers are again making contact with the huge River Bure bream.

“We still do not know for sure the full affects of the salt water pollution but there is some evidence that the quality bream like those anglers are catching now managed to escape the toxic saline.”

Gorleston Jolly Boy secretary Lee Arnold was also upbeat on hearing the fish had returned to one of the club's favourite venues. “I'd hoped we could fix a date for an end-of-season club match on the river, now I can go ahead,” he declared.

So, as suspected, some of the more delicate skimmer bream have probably succumbed to the sea water and washed into the North Sea. But just how many of the future perished will not be known until next summer's match returns.

While on the subject of salt water surges damaging the fresh water habitat, it will have escaped anglers' notice that the old scheme to install a tidal water barrage at Great Yarmouth has been de-cobwebbed and dusted for further consideration.

Broads freshwater anglers have always supported this proposal which if carried through in the 1970's, would have saved millions of tidal river coarse fish of all species from an untimely demise.

Since then sea levels have risen by several inches on average due to global warming.And rather more alarmingly climate scientists' forecasts that further melting of snow and ice in Polar regions - plus thermal expansion of the oceans - will increase North Sea levels to a critical stage where before the end of the century unprotected lowlands along the East Coast could become permanently inundated by the sea, as they were during the Roman occupation in the first millennium.

This week the Yarmouth Borough Council announced its shoreline management plan (SMP) would extend to include Hopton and Scratby.

However, the Environment Agency's SMP for the vulnerable coastal strip from Sea Palling to Winterton is still unclear because of that dreaded phrase “managed retreat” and its full implication keep cropping up.

Further north the North Norfolk District Council plans to spend around £200,000 defending some of its villages under a revised SMP, but that paltry sum will almost certainly need to be supplemented if the whole of the north Norfolk coastline is to be sea-proofed to the point where the northern Broads from the North Walsham Canal to Horsey Mere and the River Thurne are to be rendered safe from heightening storm surges.

While a proposed hydro-electric generation scheme from a tidal barrage in the Yarmouth Haven may well prove an attractive proposition for the Greens, sceptical anglers may well view the resurrection of the plan and the huge cost of yet another expensive feasibility study, as a waste of tax and ratepayers' hard-earned cash for what may be an exercise of bolting the front door when mother nature is busy lifting the hinges off the rear entrance.

In the meantime immediate prospects for freshwater anglers this weekend are rated excellent, for already temperatures are relenting from the bitter Siberian chill that froze over some lakes and ponds last weekend.

Beach angling is grim right now with hardly a cod of any size reported from local beaches in the past seven days. A good north-westerly breeze could turn sport around, but some of the experts reckon the spring run of codling is likely to be a non-starter.

Match results. Barford Saturday Open: R Bradford (Yarmouth Pownalls) 90lb 5oz, B Burlton (Yarmouth Pownalls) 74lb 6oz, D Sparks (Yarmouth Pownalls) 12lb 5oz.

National Super Cup first round (Barford): Mulbarton 13 penalty points, Wymondham 14, Martham B 24. (Mulbarton qualify for round two)

Jolly Boys (Barford): A Varley 46lb 10oz, M Bunn 40lb 15oz, R Silverwood 29lb 8oz.

Diary Date: Tonight (Friday): Lacons annual meeting, Arches PH, 7.30pm. New members welcome.

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