Signs looking good for some big hauls at championship

So it is the Norfolk Broads Angling Championship tomorrow, The Big One. And this year could see a few surprise catches put on the scales.

The unknown quantity is the River Thurne between Potter Heigham and Martham where the match organiser of this blue riband event, Tony Gibbons, expects to allocate some 40 pegs.

This stretch of the Thurne used to be one of the most prolific autumn venues in the east, with its match record still standing at more than 75lb of bream caught by North Walsham's former England international Jim Randell way back in the last century when open events and club matches were lined up there every Saturday and Sunday during the autumn and early winter.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Angling League utilised this section of the river on a regular basis and the anglers were never let down. So, the question is: Will it perform tomorrow?

From information received this week, the chances are odds on that some truly remarkable catches will be weighed in on the banks of the River Thurne with the right man in the right place likely to heave out a 50lb catch of bream.

The favoured hot spots are below the Martham boatyard where pleasure anglers on Wednesday were filling their keep nets with skimmer bream.

The Broads tourist industry is running down and boat disturbance will be minimal. And, added to the fact that large motor cruisers are unable to navigate beneath the arches of the ancient Potter Heigham road bridge, competitors are guaranteed a trouble-free five hours.

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Gary Maddison, a member of the Martham Angling Club, who has spent many hours fishing this match stretch, suggested the key to heavy bream catches would be the state of the water.

'If there is a tinge of colour, then the bream will feed all day, but if the water is crystal it is likely they will be more difficult to tempt,' he said.

That advice was underlined by Gibbons, whose reconnaissance and three or four hours of fishing produced around 30lb of skimmer bream.

According to the tide charts, the two river venues, the Bure and the Thurne, will be at the top of the flood almost coinciding with the starting time, thus anglers may well enjoy an ebb tide for much of the match.

The draw will commence at 9am in the Ludham King's Arms where breakfast will be served to anglers travelling long distances. The fishing is from 11am-4pm.

While the River Thurne has not been subjected to such a searching examination in recent years, the River Bure at St Benet's Abbey has been well tried and its results legendary. And, with the weather forecast predicting mild south westerly breezes and overcast skies, the 2010 Norfolk Broads Championship could be a stunner.