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Some impressive catches as matches get back under way

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With no changes in the government’s current Covid-19 roadmap, matches and night fishing are now allowed again, but not all of our local clubs and fisheries are restarting just yet.

Bury St Edmunds Angling Association had already released their match dates for 2021 and they planned to kick off with their first Veterans and Disabled event at Barrow Lake on April 1.

However, the match secretary contacted the usual suspects, and the consensus was to leave things as they were for another month, particularly to see if the return to school of pupils had any serious adverse effect on infection rates.

Simon Price 20lb catfish at Fenland Fisheries (45839040)
Simon Price 20lb catfish at Fenland Fisheries (45839040)

A start date for the weekly Veterans’ League has now been reset to Thursday, May 6 at Middle Reservoir.

These weekly – every Thursday – matches will run until the end of October and are open to all Bury AA seniors of 55 years and older, and registered disabled anglers.

The venues alternate on a three-weekly cycle between Barrow, Badwell Ash and Middle Reservoir. The draw will be at 8am and to book a place call match secretary Keith Smith on 07804 101067.

John Stebbings at Suffolk Water Park with 41lb common carp. Picture: Hayley Clapperton (45839051)
John Stebbings at Suffolk Water Park with 41lb common carp. Picture: Hayley Clapperton (45839051)

Meanwhile, the first of the year’s Bury AA club trophy matches, which are open to all members, was planned for Sunday, April 11, for the Seeley Rose Bowl, at Badwell Ash.

This has been rescheduled to Sunday, May 16 at Middle Reservoir and it will be the first of six matches that will count towards the club’s prestigious Martin Shield.

Entry for these matches can be made at Tackle up or again by calling Smith no later than noon on the Saturday prior to the match.

All the Bury AA club’s match dates and venues for 2021 can be viewed on their web site: www.burystedmundsangling.org

Jack Wetherill with 3lb perch from William Lake at Hinderclay (45839044)
Jack Wetherill with 3lb perch from William Lake at Hinderclay (45839044)

Results and reports from all of these matches will appear in this angling column.

Elsewhere, Diss AC club matches were not planned to restart until June and that remains unchanged.

On the commercial front the county’s largest fishery, Suffolk Water Park (SWP), has already restarted its matches and their first Wednesday Open was won by Jason Smith with 90lb, followed by Johnathan Whitehouse with 67lb and Andrew Dearing with 52lb.

The biggest carp landed at SWP this year is a 41lb common caught by John Stebbings at Suffolk Water Park on March 29.

A personal best for John, this is the Big Lake’s largest common carp (BOX) and the first time it has been banked for 16 months.

Lake William at Hinderclay has produced some notable catches of late with veteran Bury angler Jack Wetherill landing a 3lb perch in fine condition. Also, on William, Neil Millet caught over 130lb of mostly carp in one session last week.

It was a cold and windy day for Hinderclay’s first match back after lockdown but that did not stop Thetford angler Dave Leconte winning with 64lb from Lake William, followed by Jason Palfrey with 54lb and Alan Rogers with 44lb.

Simon Price fished on Willow Lake at Fenland Fisheries last week and his first fish, in the bitterly cold conditions, was a lake monster catfish.

Simon, a Nash Bait Tester, tempted the stunning 20lb fish with a 17mm cultured Nash scopex squid boilee.

I made a fleeting visit to Bury AA’s Water Lane Reservoir at the end of March and was pleased to hear that some of the Middle Reservoir regulars have migrated to Water Lane and enjoyed some good results with double figure carp included in their catches.

There are no reports of any of the tench – added to the reservoir last year – showing but then it is a bit early for tench. Another three to four weeks and they should start to feature in anglers’ catches.

My father, Tony Boughton, must be one of the longest continuous members of Bury AA.

At 91 years young he hibernates from fishing over the winter months but with the arrival of spring he has started to make an appearance on the club’s waters again.

Tony will be the first to admit that he is a one bait angler (paste) but he really does know how to use it having won many matches with the bait over the past 60 or so years.

I don’t want to give away his formula, but a major skill he employs is to make the paste as sloppy as he can get away with it staying on the hook. So, he fishes not far out and mostly on the bottom.

Last week he made his first visit of the year to the Bury AA lake at Badwell Ash and found the water very clear and flat calm – not ideal fishing conditions. He did not have a bite for the first hour and a half but eventually caught a few small carp up to 2lb max.

The week before another veteran of the Bury AA club, former Bury market trader Dave King, fished the lake and caught a good net of carp between 4lb and 7lb.

Dave is a regular at the lake and his tactics are unusual. He has discovered that despite the cooler weather he can catch the carp up in the water with worms as bait.

Tony’s normally deadly paste offering did not tempt the larger carp to feed on the bottom but Dave’s up in the water worms did!

Middle Reservoir has had a tough winter and most of the carp that have been landed since November have also been tempted by baits presented off the bottom. It will be interesting to hear how the night anglers get on.

In line with the government’s Covid-19 road map timescales, tackle shops can re-open for normal trading from April. 12.

As usual Bury AA memberships will be on sale at Tackle Up in Bury, Hooked in Newmarket and Just Fishin in Sudbury. The club’s membership year started on April 1.

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