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Rivers set for return to 60s boom years

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:41 01 July 2010

Roy Webster

The Norfolk Broads free tidal rivers seem set to bring a return of those halcyon bumper years of the 1960s and 1970s. That is the view of Norwich and District Anglers chairman Tony Gibbons, who has revealed that club match bookings on the NDAA controlled banks are the highest for some seasons.

The Norfolk Broads free tidal rivers seem set to bring a return of those halcyon bumper years of the 1960s and 1970s.

That is the view of Norwich and District Anglers chairman Tony Gibbons, who has revealed that club match bookings on the NDAA controlled banks are the highest for some seasons.

Gibbons was speaking at a special get-together of his officers and committee, representatives of the local fishing tackle trade and the angling media.

He painted a very rosy picture for the future that depicted local and visiting anglers filling their nets with quality bream and roach.

"I would love to see the volume of anglers on the tidal rivers reach the levels of 30 to 40 years ago," he declared. "Following the excellent efforts of the Broads Authority and the Environment Agency there are now more then 100 extra swims available on the rivers Ant, Bure and Thurne over and above those we control, and with the promise of more to come on the River Yare.

"I believe for the cost of a rod licence local and visiting anglers on our free banks and cheap NDAA permits can not possibly enjoy such value for money sport anywhere else in the country," he explained.

Gibbons fervently hopes the newly available stretches of the River Ant between Ludham Bridge and Johnson Street, the Thurne between Potter Heigham and Martham and the Bure at Upton will be visited throughout the summer and autumn by angling clubs and individuals, for he warns this really is a case of use it or lose it.

"We have to seize our chance otherwise the banks will be allowed to grow up again with natural vegetation and we shall be back to the state of five years ago when many of these rivers offered no angling access," he concluded.

In recent years, anglers have complained the uneven terrain along the tidal embankments has put off disabled anglers and pensioners.

However, that too has been addressed and the workforce bosses involved with flood alleviation schemes have consulted with Gibbons at every stage of this development. The result is a near-bowling green surface bordering the rivers that offers easy passage for tackle barrows and carts.

Gibbons said the NDAA membership had held up last season against the sharp downturn of club activities elsewhere throughout East Anglia. And following renegotiations he confirmed that the Wensum Fisheries comprising three superb lakes and a stretch of the River Wensum had reopened on schedule.

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