by Roy Webster
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The caring face of angling raised another £700 for good causes last week.
This sum was the proceeds from the Jackson and Starling annual Charity Open, staged on the Cobble Acre lakes in north Norfolk by North Walsham’s well-known fundraisers Jim Randell and his wife Barbara.
For the sell-out field of top rods from East Anglia and the Home Counties there were no hiding places from the 25mph easterlies driving force five rain with squalls capable of blasting cavernous angling brollies inside out.
“These hardy lads bravely stuck it out for five gruelling hours in this relentless downpour and never once complained,” reflected Mrs Randell, who thanked the main sponsors and competitors for generously donating prizes and head bailiff Bob Anderson for his willing assistance.
Winner on the day was Dereham ace angler Stuart Elmar, who opted for the modern method feeder technique, baiting his hook with pellet.
His mainly carp catch was weighed in at 49lb 14oz, for which he was awarded a cut glass trophy supplied by the main sponsors as well as a top cash prize of £175.
Tony Anderson (Suffolk Angling Direct) was one small carp off the pace, with 44lbs, followed by other lake winners Paul Ashford (Barford Tackle) with 38lbs and Ian Copeland (Essex) with 35lb 9oz. John Platten (Harleston) was fifth with 35lb 2oz, while the fourth lake winner was D Sparkes (North Walsham) with 17lbs.
This was the fifth year of this worthy competition that has now raised well into four figures for the Cromer Lifeboat fund, with more to come next year.
“This has been a hugely successful charitable venture and we shall continue as long as we are able,” pledged Jim Randell, now a senior citizen on the match angling circuit.
• This week the stream at the bottom of the garden is belting through bank high with the little shoals of colourful sticklebacks gathered ready to spawn in a quiet eddy carved out by the bibbling of a pair of half tame mallard.
The island in the Buxton Mill pool that stood high and dry only days ago is now submerged in a racing torrent with just a few straggly weeds visible, swaying in the current.
On the River Wensum some of the bordering water meadows are flooded and at Taverham the lake is bank high.
Thus, the weekend deluge that toped up April’s rainfall to around 100mm has restored the health of rivers and lakes and probably Hickling Broad too, to a healthy state just in time for the major spawnings of bream, roach, tench, rudd and carp.
This freshener resulted in specimen fish from Taverham lake with the fishery bailiffs Simon Wrigglesworth and Richard Keeble setting the example by heaving out common carp of 25lb 8oz and 24lb 8oz, while Matthew Johnson and Dave Broomhead used their permits to bag mirrors and commons of 20lbs.
At Taswood, regular Kevin Smith bagged the best mirrors of 31lb and 21lb 8oz, as well as a common of 30lb 4oz and a ghostie of 28lb 8oz.
• Rod licence sales for England and Wales for coarse and trout fishing for the year ended March 31, 2012, showed an increase of 7,981 over the previous year. Alas, these numbers flatter to deceive.
Full adult licences issued totalled 655,574, down by 16,716. Equally disappointing were the number of junior permits issued at 109,053, a fall of 7,619.
The plusses were day licences, up by 23,961, and eight-day permits, up by 1,830, while senior citizens increased by 5,834 and disabled by 691.
These statistics suggest that fewer healthy adults and youngsters under 16 go fishing on a regular basis, while the view that angling has become an old man’s pastime is supported by an annual increase in the number of senior citizen licences sold.
The eastern region of the Anglia division of the Environment Agency, which covers our area, followed the national trend. There were 1,597 more licences issued in year ending March 31, 2012, but concealed in these figures were an extra 1,762 one-day, 617 senior and 305 eight-day licences.
This was offset by a fall of 798 full adult permits and 367 juniors.