Hubbard takes title with impressive haul of roach

A city match angler sitting on top of the local form book carried off the Norwich and District Individual Angling Championship on Sunday.

Norwich-based Robert Hubbard added yet another scalp to his over-crowded belt with a magnificent catch of 194 River Bure roach totaling 40lb 6oz, much to the delight of the NDAA chairman Tony Gibbons, who is staging the prestigious Norfolk Broads Championship on the Rivers Bure and Thurne this Saturday.

Commenting on last Sunday's result on the St Benet's Abbey match length, Gibbons said: 'The event produced an average of more than 20lb per angler and by any standards that is quality fishing. I hope to have a field close to 100 rods in the Broads Championship and some competitors are travelling from as far afield as Leeds to enjoy what we hope is a top-quality event if the weather is kind to us.'

Hubbard, who along with his brother Glenn fishes under the Daiwa Angling Direct banner, drew peg two behind the ancient abbey ruins and caught fish throughout the five hours despite fears (unfounded) that a saltwater incursion would be forced into the Broads rivers by a high spring tide. His successful strategy was offering red maggot on the long pole, keeping the fish interested by liberal offerings of casters buried in small balls of cereal groundbait.

Runner-up was Nick Larkin (Nisa Feeders) with a mixed bag of 34lb 11oz, followed by John Platten (Nisa Feeders) with an all roach catch of 32lb 15oz.

The final round of the Nisa Feeder League series on the tidal River Yare produced a grandstand finish.

Crack Hopton angler Brian Gooch, who was trailing third on match morning, came up on the rails to overtake pace-setters Nick Larkin and Robert Hubbard during a dramatic run in.

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Gooch (Daiwa Angling Direct Suffolk) easily closed a 6lb deficit and romped home at peg 78 with a magnificent mixed catch of 72lb that included half a dozen bream over 5lb, the remainder smaller skimmers and roach.

On a day when water levels rose up river, the conditions were ideal for bream and quality roach and John Platten (Nisa Feeders) scaled 51lb 5oz to come second, with Reg Bryanton (Deben) third with 45lb 7oz. Gooch finished champion with a runaway eight-match aggregate of 285lb 15oz, Larkin was runner-up with 252lb 15oz, followed by Hubbard with 249lb 8oz.

Commenting on his stunning championship performance, the 56-year-old caretaker, who pocketed �330 in winnings, said: 'The big attraction of this series was not so much the prize money but the quality of the fishing on the tidal River Yare. There are no rivers in the country that can match ours in the Norfolk Broads area and that is why this tournament is so popular.'

He added: 'There was pretty huge flood tide on Saturday but the fish fed throughout and I caught mine on a feeder rig baited with worm and maggot. I regard this as one of my better performances because, at heart, I am a river match man.'

The semi-final of the Angling Times/Shimano Norfolk County League went ahead at Barford and those qualifying for the grand finals staged on Barston Lakes and Packington Somers Fishery on Sunday, October 17 are: Gary Kiddell 77lb 15oz; Jim Randell 67lb 13oz; Warren Martin 66lb 7oz; Steve Crowe 60lb 5oz; Lewis Murawski 48lb 12oz; reserve Daniel Brydon 47lb 5oz.

In the final the Norfolk quintet will fish as a team in appropriate sections with further details of arrangements to be sent them by the Angling Times.

On the club match lakes, the heaviest catch of the week fell to Oddfellow's winner Dennis Goodwin with 109lb 4oz at Barford. On the same venue, Andy Forest was the winning Codger with 105lb, Chris Humphrey headed the Disabled card with 104lb 10oz at Colton and, on the same water, Paul Edwards scored a winner with 101lb 10oz with Wymondham.

On the specimen lakes, carp of the week was a splendid 35lb 12oz common heaved out of the Taswood Fishery by Norwich regular Nigel Dade. Other specimens in the 20s were recorded by locals Oliver Robinson, Darren palmer, Kevin and Adam Smith and Barry Harmer.

Dominic Parr of Norwich reeled in a 29lb mirror carp from the Lyng Kingfisher Lake and the only fish over 20lb reported from Taverham Lake fell to city rod Jamie Seaman.

On the main Broads, pike anglers appeared more numerous than their quarry, and while these predators are benefiting from a wide choice of natural prey fish, sport in unlikely to pick up until a cold snap sends the shoals of roach and bream migrating to their winter quarters in the boatyards and dykes.