Top anglers expected

Norfolk's blue riband of freshwater match fishing, the Broads Championship, is expected to attract some of the top rods from East Anglia and the South tomorrow, swelling numbers to around the 100 mark.

Norfolk's blue riband of freshwater match fishing, the Broads Championship, is expected to attract some of the top rods from East Anglia and the South tomorrow, swelling numbers to around the 100 mark.

However, that line-up will fall far short of the 650 turnout during the early 1960s but it will still indicate a welcome upturn from those meagre gatherings of around 50 to 60 locals since the latter years of the last century following the emergence in popularity of easy-to-fish commercial lakes, writes Roy Webster.

But with anglers feeling the pinch from the world's economic downturn and cash-strapped for recreation, many match anglers are turning to value for money tournaments of which the Broads Championship is a notable example.

A ticket costs only £5 with optional pools on the day. And according to organiser Tony Gibbons this is the main reason why more and more anglers are turning to the rivers. The matches are cheap and reliable.

“There has been a considerable interest in this year's Championship following some great catches in our leagues this summer. I expect the highest turnout for some years.”

The 9am draw is held in the Ludham King's Arms when breakfast will be served from 8am.

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Fishing will be from 10.30am to 3.30pm and any angler who has not yet booked a place should try now on 01603 400973 in the hope there are a few pegs unsold.

So what are the prospects? In the past two weeks the condition of the rivers Bure and Thurne match lengths have definitely favoured roach anglers.

Last weekend the Yarmouth Sportsmans outing to the river Bure was won by Dave Docwra, now back on the banks following serious but successful surgery to score with 17lb 2oz of roach to 6oz.

Lower down a couple of match returns over 20lb were noted, while on the river Thurne the Martham club winner Paul Sparks had 10lb of roach.

Better catches than this are expected lower down the Thurne opposite the entrance to the Thurne Lion Dyke suggesting that the advice for the angler keen to become Broads Champion 2008 is to study the river conditions before the first whistle.

If arriving at the riverside the water is sufficiently clear to see clearly a sinking maggot to a depth of 3ft, it is likely to be a roach day.

On the other hand any cloudiness of the water from suspended silt will favour the bream angler. Thus the new Broads Champion will be the rod man, or indeed woman, who makes the correct tactical decision.

Match results: Sportsmans (river Bure, St Benets): D Docwra 17lb 2oz, D Grimwood 16lb 14oz, L Arnold 12lb 9oz. Lacons (Railway Lake): J De'ath 69lb 12oz, P Nicholls 33lb 3oz, K Barfield 19lb 9oz. Martham (river Thurne): P Sparks 10lb, K Chaplin 6lb 10oz, P Beck 4lb 8oz. Stalham (Metton): P Warren 42lb 12oz, L Reeve 41lb 11oz, D Agass 30lb 14oz.

Quality carp featured on many commercial lakes. Caister expert Darren Stamp netted a trio of mirrors and commons around the 25lb mark from Taswood and Brian Thrower of Winterton reeled in a 23lb common carp at Waveney Valley.