Wonderful Wensum has beating of the big freeze
PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:24 02 July 2010
A vote for the top angling venue in a country that has been clamped in the vice of sub-zero temperatures for days on end is no contest. There is not a lake, river, canal, pit or pond that came even close to matching the sporting excellence of our own magnificent River Wensum in the heart of the city.
A vote for the top angling venue in a country that has been clamped in the vice of sub-zero temperatures for days on end is no contest.
There is not a lake, river, canal, pit or pond that came even close to matching the sporting excellence of our own magnificent River Wensum in the heart of the city.
Despite biting conditions that stiffened the resolve of the most hardened match anglers Saturday and Sunday events produced all-action sport in near zero temperatures.
While lake fishery owners and indeed their customers were gazing forlornly at glacier surfaces the Norwich-based Anglers World squad man Wayne Anderson was busily completing a splendid River Wensum double.
On Saturday he reeled in 8 lb 13oz to win the Riverside Open and the following day he headed the Earlham Silvers card with 8 lb 14oz from the Yacht Station.
The Dukes Club also visited Riverside, the winner Nigel Goose with 9 lb 4 oz.
These three winning catches were all roach but in no way isolated, for every angler on the bank had fish away from a river running crystal clear with a surface temperature at plus 2 C.
Tony Gibbons, who organised that Saturday event, said the quality maintained by the city river was quite remarkable.
“One angling weekly rang me desperate for a match result for our area.
“It seems our match was the only one that produced reasonable results,” he said.
The Barford Tuesday silver fish contest went ahead with the mechanical aerators turned up to full.
Unfortunately the bream and roach remained uncooperative and the winner Stuart Bracey (Dynamite) needed just a brace of small bream totalling 2 lb 3 oz followed by Jim Randell (Sensas) with 2 lb 2 oz.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Veterans on Tuesday were greeted by a River Waveney Cut almost completely iced over but still managed to squeeze in a handful of intrepid rodmen at the river end. Only one caught fish, Tony Gibbons who netted 21 lb 2 oz of skimmers fishing within inches of the ice margin.
Despite a slow thaw a number of lakes and ponds remain frozen and weekend match fixtures are in doubt. The advice is to check with the fishery or match organisers for an up to date bulletin.
In the meantime fishery bosses and angling clubs are urgently advised to break the ice on still waters at regular intervals in order to to reoxygenate the water.
During the harshest winter of the last century, 1962/63, thousands of fish suffocated beneath more then 12 inches of ice and the scale became apparent after the thaw set in.
The only species that appeared to survive this long unbroken spell of Arctic weather were the tench whose metabolism lowered during deep hibernation buried in the bottom mud.
Where the ice has been broken it is advisable to lower a bale of wheat straw which assists the aeration process.
t Broads anglers have quickly responded to the Environment Agency Byelaws governing fish removal from rivers that will allow to be taken by an angler per day one pike up to 65 cm, two grayling between 30 and 36 cm and 15 other coarse fish apart from grayling, up to 20 cm in length to be retained.
Tony Gibbons, chairman of the Norwich and District Anglers, said his members had always observed an unwritten rule forbidding the removal of any fish from the tidal rivers Bure and Thurne, the River Wensum, the Wensum fishery lakes and the Ranworth and Decoy Broads.
“However, having digested the new limits on retention we shall enforce our zero tolerance rule with written detail in the membership book and on day permits,” he declared.
There is further news on the controversial issue of the alien zander receiving no protection under the new byelaws and the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain has been unfairly criticised, allegedly failing to fight their corner to protect this non-native species.
However a referral to the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 suggests there was absolutely no means of defending this tasty culinary fish from the status of unlimited takeaway.
Part 14 states: If any person releases or allows to escape into the wild any animal which is not normally a resident or a regular visitor to Great Britain or is included in part one schedule nine he shall be guilty of an offence.
This ruling, almost beyond confusion, indicates it is unlawful for a zander caught on rod or line to be returned alive to the water from whence it came.
Thus an angling club rule that forbids a member or a day ticket holder to keep a zander for the family appears to collide with the buffers of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
This was explained by the Environment Agency when a surprised zander was reeled out of the River Yare a few seasons back.
This fish like all others of its kind caught in the Fens and elsewhere should have been destroyed.
That is the law of the land and no angling club has the powers to overturn it.