Pike and otter cause anglers concern

GREAT Yarmouth match angler Dave Docwra braved wind and rain on the blustery banks of the River Thurne last week and was well on the way to chalking up a worthy victory when nature in the raw intervened to stop him in his tracks to triumph, writes Roy Webster.

Competing in last week’s midweek open event along the prolific Martham river bank, the former Yarmouth national team man had been catching skimmer bream regularly and his prospects of a 30lb net loomed large.

Then the water erupted. A giant pike estimated at least 4ft in length came thrashing to the surface and snatched a near 3lb bream off the hook just inches away from the rim of the landing net.

“What with the dreadful cold, wet weather already lowering my resistance, then the shock of this freshwater equivalent of Jaws zooming up from the deep to steal my fish, it was just too much, and I had to take a half-hour break to recover from the shock,” recalled Docwra, who eventually finished runner-up only 1lb adrift of the winner Tom Boulton.

“I reckon this pike weighed well over 40lb and was possible a record-breaker.”

On hearing of the Docwra incident, Broads pike fishing maestro John Goble, from Caister, said the fish could have been the same record-breaker he caught at 45lb 8oz in 2009.

“Contrary to popular belief, there are still substantial numbers of huge pike in our Broads and rivers, but there is so much natural food available nowadays they are that much more difficult to catch,” explained Goble, who has been raising cash for charity this month.

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“I and my angling friend Tony Myhill, who has probably caught more pike and huge perch than I have from the Broads, were invited by the newly-formed Essex Pike Angling Club to talk about our Broads fishing.

“This was a Charlie Bettell memorial evening and we helped our hosts raise the grand sum of �3,500 for cancer research. Charlie Bettell was a close friend and the most experienced and expert professional angling guide in the Broads, who sadly passed away earlier this year, and our get-together in Essex was a grand way to celebrate his life on the water.”

Pike anglers should be on their guard when otters are in the vicinity. This warning came after Broads angler Nigel Townshend was fishing the River Ant above Ludham when his mackerel bait was snatched by a passing otter that ended up with a hook embedded in its cheek.

The otter managed to free itself and swam off with only a minor wound that would heal quickly.

When contacted, and RSPCA representative said she had never come across such an incident before but offered this advice. “Try and get the otter ashore in a large landing net, cut the line and secure the animal in the mesh, covering it if possible with a car blanket or an overcoat and then transport it to the nearest RSPCA branch or to a vet where the hook will be removed free of charge. During non-working hours telephone our emergency line 0300 1234 999 and we will take it from there.”

Match result. Stalham (Boat lagoon): A Toogood 13-2; D Jones 10-15; D Agass 10-8. Martham (Melton Ponds): S Rouse 48-6; S Jackson 15-6; M Emsley 15-2.

Freshwater fixtures. Marsh Trail lakes Open Saturday, October 30, Lake C. Draw 9am, fish 10am to 4pm, �15 per head all in fee. Optional gold/silver pegs is standing at over �200, for booking or for further details contact David on 07913 115610 or 01502 476219

Freshwater results. Marsh Trail Lakes Open Lake A: 1st Eddie Davidson 51lb 4oz, 2nd Dave Forrester 32lb 12oz, 3rd Frank Ling 26lb 7oz.