Mixed year for anglers

Angling by Roy Webster

Like the curate’s egg, angling in fresh water and in the sea during 2010 was good in parts.

Without doubt, the fish of the year was the 42lb 8oz pike caught by visitor Chris Humphrey from Hickling Broad, the second biggest from Norfolk waters, beaten only by the 45lb 8oz monster winched out by Caister’s John Goble just one year earlier.

Envious anglers who had never seen, let alone caught, a 40-pounder cast doubt on the provenance of this specimen. But Goble, who knows more about Broads pike than most, gave it the thumbs-up, as did the photographic analysts.

This winter, the Thurne waters have not relinquished a 40-pounder – unless someone has managed to keep it a secret.

The best authenticated predator came in at just over 30lb from the Thurne at Potter Heigham with at least a couple of 20s from Martham and a number in the teens from Horsey Mere and the Trinity Broads at Filby and Rollesby.

Historic match catches were recorded from the Great Yarmouth stretch of the River Yare at the Beauchamp Arms with one exceptional bag of more than 50lb of roach weighed in.

Most Read

The league on this venue was won by Norfolk angler Ryan Gooch with an eight-match aggregate of 285lb 15oz.

The Norfolk Broads Championship on the River Thurne came up with a 41lb 7oz bream catch for the 2010 champion Mark Pollard of Bedford. And the former Yarmouth national team captain Tom Boulton lifted the two-day angling festival on the rivers Bure and Yare with an unblemished points score of 18.

Until the temperatures plunged towards zero, the two Burgh Castle fisheries proved the happy hunting grounds for individuals and clubs.

The Hall Farm lakes produced a number of quality carp to over 20lb while Darren Squires’ match fishery never let down the Sportsmans club once.

Throughout the summer and early autumn the Holly Farm Match Fishery at South Walsham boasted a string of 100lb-plus nets of fish and this water was also ideal for beginners.

Along the coast, the decent cod that featured along town beaches between January and March appeared to be all trawled up by the autumn when it became apparent that this winter would present a cod famine with few fish above the 36cm statutory size limit.

All beach competitors depended upon flat fish like dabs and flounders and the odd school bass for their sport while individual anglers hoping to fill the family freezer with those tasty cod fillets will be hard-pressed for at least one year to fill the space awaiting the succulent seafood.

Meanwhile, prospects for sport on both freshwater and the sea during the early days of 2011 are not rated highly.

And what with the weather, falling rod licence sales and painful cuts in public spending, the tackle and some tackle and bait shops will be hard pressed to survive.