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Guide to angling hot spots

PUBLISHED: 08:16 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:35 03 July 2010

SO, to the perennial question of this time of year: Where are the most promising spots to fish on the Broads and rivers before the season closes next Friday for the statutory 93-day break?

What with river banks grown over and some fish stocks depleted both by nature and man in recent years, there are no easy answers, writes Roy Webster.

SO, to the perennial question of this time of year: Where are the most promising spots to fish on the Broads and rivers before the season closes next Friday for the statutory 93-day break?

What with river banks grown over and some fish stocks depleted both by nature and man in recent years, there are no easy answers, writes Roy Webster.

However, here is the latest up-to-date bulletin from the more promising venues for the weekend and the remaining days before the shutters come down.

This week the River Thurne towards its confluence with the River Bure was giving up fair catches of bream, and permits to fish this bank are available from Throwers Stores in Ludham.

As reported last week, excellent catches of bream have been reeled from the lower reaches of the tidal River Bure, and on the strength of that the Yarmouth Sportsman's Club have arranged a match at St Benets Abbey for their members tomorrow.

Earlier this week, fierce north-westerly gales roughed up the North Sea, but with low tides no significant quantities of salt water penetrated inland. So the fish that were located at St Benets Abbey, Oby and Upton a week ago are unlikely to have been disturbed.

All winter heavyweight catches of bream have been winched out of the River Thurne at Martham close to the mouth of Candle Dyke. These fish are located there winter and summer, so sport is virtually guaranteed.

On the River Yare the Yarmouth Association stretch between Rockland Dyke and Langley has produced some decent catches on some days, depending on the state of the tides.

This weekend the flood tide changes to ebb in the middle of the day so what may be excellent sessions in the mornings may be quite the reverse in the afternoon…or vice-versa.

On the main Broads, Horsey Mere is now open for unlimited permit fishing until the end of the season. Tickets are available from the farm house, Horsey, before fishing commences or in the case of boat anglers who are not familiar with the area from a warden who patrols the Mere to collect the cash.

Hickling Broad right now is a must for perch anglers. Considerable numbers of these angry bristling stripeys populate the areas around the boatyards, the floating holiday homes and the reedy bays where small fry of other species have been holed up for the winter.

Fishing dinghies may be hired from the Whispering Reeds Boatyard where slipways are also available.

Once afloat anglers can also try their luck in Heigham Sounds, Deep Dyke and Meadow Dyke which are well populated with both perch and bream at this time of the year.

Vague stories being circulated of monster pike being caught from the River Thurne valley waters have not yet been substantiated and may be taken with the usual pinch of salt.

Top sport for pike anglers during the final week is more likely to be discovered on the Trinity Broads where fishing is available from the Eels Foot pub.

Fritton Lake, which is not subject to the close season, is always worth a try, but considering this is a vast 175-acre expanse of water pike fishing is very much hit or miss so this venue is for regulars who know their way around.

One of the least-fished rivers in the Broads is the Ant. However, commercial eel catchers can vouch that quality pike populate this river from the bottom end of Barton Broad right through to Ludham Bridge where quite a length of bank up as far as How Hill is free if not entirely accessible for anglers on foot.

South Walsham is a splendid pike venue but a boat is essential to obtain total access. This also applies to Martham North Broad where Norfolk Wildlife permits are available (details from Richard Starling 01493 393823).

The Martham Angling Club has been informed by the Environment Agency that their pits adjacent to the River Thurne must close for the statutory close season from March 15 to June 15 inclusive.

Club chairman Ian Bradford said his committee was not prepared to argue this issue with the EA and added: “We accept our fishery is located within a designated conservation area of the Broads and that the byelaws are quite explicit, we cannot fish there in the close season.

“As a matter of fact we believe our fishery will benefit from bringing back a close season, for many of our members including myself think we and the fish need the break.

Beach angling has been a complete waste of time in the past seven days but boaters trying their luck up to two miles offshore have dropped on to some decent cod ranging up to 9lb with well-known sea angler Paul Kerry reporting a 35lb monster being taken on a long line off Orford.

Match results. Jolly Boys (Barford): Richard Silverwood 26lb 3oz, Robert Silverwood 24lb 14oz, B Rilings 21lb 2oz.

Stalham (Boatyards): W Beckett 4lb 15oz, W Plummer 3lb 14oz, D Dearman 1lb 8oz.

Stalham (Melton Ponds): D Agass 56lb 4oz, D Paynter 35lb, S Lawrence 32lb 4oz.

Members note that the Stalham AC annual meeting is to be held in the Sutton Harnser PH, March 18, 7.30pm.

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