Mixed reaction to angling team event

Well-known town match anglers were conspicuous by their absence last weekend at the much-publicised Barford Lakes team event arranged to promote the new Angling Trust.

Well-known town match anglers were conspicuous by their absence last weekend at the much-publicised Barford Lakes team event arranged to promote the new Angling Trust.

The Barford Lakes fishery boss Sarah Thomson, who has repeatedly declared she is most concerned about the decline in the number of people who fish on a regular basis, decided to act. And the result was last Saturday's team challenge with each squad captained by a national match angling celebrity, writes Roy Webster.

However, it appears our own local talent of Browning/Pownalls, Sportsmans and Jollyboys decided to give this event, costing �30, a miss even though �20 would be taken out to cover each angler's annual subscription to the Trust for the current year.

Lee Arnold, who acts as general secretary for both the Sportsmans and the Jollyboys angling clubs, said: “Certainly we were not tempted by Sunday's recruitment drive. We pay our �25 rod licence fees and in return we expect our fisheries and our sport to be administered by the Environment Agency who receive our licence revenues and for the commercial fisheries to keep their own house in order.”

On Saturday there were very few recognisable local names appearing in the match results and the few who did feature included former national team member and present broads championship organiser Tony Gibbons who fished for the winners Fox Match and another former Bloater Jim Randell who turned out for the runners-up SPRO.

Another was former Browning/Pownalls squad man Bob Bradford fishing for the Ultima outfit whose team captain Andy May, individual winner on the day with 154lb 8oz, received little support from the rest of his team, placed fourth.

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Sarah Thomson said she regarded the event as a huge success and added: “During the day we signed up about 80 new members for the Trust and raised awareness of what this new organisation can offer in return for the anglers �20 subscription. The Trust is our only hope of securing the future for our sport and I would urge every angler to join up now.”

However Lee Arnold remains unimpressed. “Frankly, I have absolutely no notion of what the Angling Trust can achieve for the clubs I'm involved with.

“We have a varied selection of commercial lakes to chose from and our local rivers appear in fine shape. On that basis why should we fork out another �20 a year? It is simply not on,” he declared.

Arnold's analysis is supported by Browning/Pownalls founder member Barr Burlton, who commented: “We are perfectly happy with our local facilities and we have not joined the new Trust. Frankly, I cannot see what it can offer that we are not already receiving from the Environment Agency and the commercial fishery bosses,” he said.

Certainly the match returns of local clubs bear this out. On Sunday Sportsmans visited the north Norfolk Metton fishery.

Result: Robert Silverwood 75lb, Karl Hodgins 66lb, Cliff Leonard 38lb. Stalham were at Holly Farm, South Walsham where the top three were Dave Dearman 85lb 4oz, Roy Turton 71lb 12oz, Robin Austrin 69lb 4oz. Browning/Pownalls staged two events last week and at Abbeywaters the card read R Ramsbottom 60lb 8oz, T Anderson 54lb 12oz, F Ling 39lb 12oz and at the Railway it was I Ingram 43lb 14oz, R Patrick 42lb 12oz, D Sparks 38lb 5oz.

And on the big fish waters results continue to be impressive with numerous carp caught from Martham Pits and from the two fisheries at Burgh Castle.