Lost bream costs angler dear

Roy Webster’s Angling

The prolific Norfolk fishery, the River Thurne, once famed nationwide as an angling competition venue before commercial lakes sprang up all over the county, reproduced its form of the 1970s to stage a spectacular Mean Sport and Leisure Broads Championship last Saturday.

A total of 21 anglers weighed in more than 20lb each and the 2007 champion Mark Pollard, of Bedfordshire, claimed the title once again for an exceptional record of coming runner-up in 2006 and third in 2008.

This time, the 47-year-old management executive in the fishing tackle and bait trade returned a mixed bag of roach and bream totalling 41lb 7oz from a fancied swim on the Martham bank.

An 11th-hour change to the venue had brought in the Cold Harbour stretch to make this year’s championship an all-Thurne competition.

“The water in the River Bure was crystal clear on Friday afternoon and I took a snap decision to leave it out, and it paid off,” explained match organiser Tony Gibbons.

Pollard, fishing under the Foxmatch/Dynamite Baits banner, was happy with peg number 77 below the Martham Cess boatyard.

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“I was told this was a decent draw, but had no clue of the correct tactics, for this river had not been put under serious match angling pressure in recent years,” he explained.

“I tossed a fair bit of bait well across the river in case the bream were among the reeds over there and started fishing with the pole at 10m, baiting with a single red maggot, while feeding in hemp and caster continuously buried in little balls of groundbait.

“I caught a roach first cast and several more before I flung the feeder rig to the far side to test the water for bream. I caught more roach and I then made the vital decision to stay on the pole float rig for the remainder of the match, even though a few small bream were being netted around me.”

Pollard failed to realise that his nearest challenger was only five pegs away, concealed between moored boats at peg 82, and catching.

He was Shakespeare angler Dave McCall, composing his own personal drama among the roach and small bream to end up with 40lb 8oz, just 1lb short of riches and glory.

“I hadn’t a clue the match had developed into such a close-run thing,” declared the new champion, who pocketed �300 as well as receiving the Cyril Wigg Perpetual Trophy, the Mead Memento and a week’s free holiday insurance for his family from the main sponsors as well.

“I think my best fish, a 2lb bream, tipped the balance in my favour, I could not have performed any better with the fish in front of me and I regard the Norfolk Broads rivers as unrivalled by any other match venue in the country,” he concluded.

That view was echoed by Wolverhampton’s runner-up McCall, who pocketed �240. “I’ve had a great time here and will be back for more,” he promised.

First local rodman in the main frame was Wymondham’s veteran Albert Farrow, who won �180 for his third-placed 38lb 9oz from peg 62, while Mick Brown, a retired policeman from Ludham, was fourth with 37lb 6oz from peg 67, where he will remember forever the loss of a 5lb bream at the net that would have won him the title.

A total of �1,420 was paid out in prize money and about �300 was raised for charity by the raffle.

Results. Broads Championship: M Pollard (Dynamite/Fox) 41lb 7oz, D McCall (Shakespeare) 40lb 8oz, A Farrow (Wymondham AC) 38lb 9oz, M Brown (Stalham AC) 37lb 6oz, L Klimczuk (Notts) 34lb 1oz.

Stalham AC (Boatyard lagoons): M Challen 15lb 2oz, D Agass 13lb 4oz, J Hehir 8lb 7oz.

Along the beaches, whiting are numerous along with the few small codling with one report, unconfirmed, if an 18-pounder caught at Gorleston.

Gorleston Tackle Open: Fished on South Beach, Great Yarmouth on Sunday 10am-3pm.

This was the first in a series of five matches open to anyone with a x100 peg limit. The match was a complete success and sold out with a week to go.

Anglers from all over the county competed on a windy Sunday morning to catch mainly whiting, but plenty of them. Top rod was Mark Sharman from Lowestoft.

Results: 1 Mark Sharman 5lb 15oz �300 prize money, 2 Robert Tuck 5lb 13oz �200, 3 John Lacey 5lb 4oz �125, 4 Anthony Lewis 5lb 3oz �75.

Section winners: A: M Sharman, J Lacey, A Lewis. B: R Tuck, M Ellis, G Medlar. C: J Rosati, S Saul, D Read. D: W Perring, K Barnard, M Rodgers.

Next match is in January 2011.

Sea League: Fished Monday evening on Pakefield Beach: 1 G Medlar 6lb 2oz, 2 C Legget 6lb 1�oz, 3 C Whitelock 4lb 6oz. All dabs and whiting.

Next match is Great Yarmouth South Beach.