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Bury Angling Association matches get back under way

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At last, some milder weather with air temperature on Sunday nudging 20C. But perhaps more importantly for carp anglers, the high air pressure has gone and night-time minimum temperatures have been well above freezing. Water temperatures in our local lakes will take a bit of time to warm up but already the signs are promising.

At Middle Reservoir (Bury AA members’ water), which has been particularly quiet recently for the carp anglers, there were several reported captures during the past week, including two doubles for Mark Robinson, with the biggest one a 19 pounder.

Several doubles have been caught at Highbridge Fishery, a syndicate water near Thetford, including a mirror weighing in at 21lb 8oz and a common of 25lb 12oz. The large roach are also showing with the biggest reported at more than 2lbs.

Highbridge at sunrise last Saturday before the heavy rain. Picture: Simon Price
Highbridge at sunrise last Saturday before the heavy rain. Picture: Simon Price

While, in general, the weather has been much more carp-friendly this past week, last Saturday was a particularly grim day with winds gusting to 40mph and heavy rain. However, Bury angler Simon Price did capture a stunning photo of the sunrise across the Highbridge reservoir before the heavy rain commenced (see right).

Bury St Edmunds Angling Association’s match calendar was heavily disrupted last year and has been delayed by a month this year too due to Covid restrictions, but the first match of 2021 was finally held last Thursday at Middle Reservoir.

This was a Veterans match and these matches will be fished weekly, rotating between three of the club’s waters (Middle Reservoir, Barrow Lake and Badwell Ash). Match secretary Keith Smith said the water was freezing cold and the wind chill made fishing extremely uncomfortable, but despite this there was only one blank.

The winner was Dave Probin with two bream for 6lb 7oz from peg 2. Second-placed Dave Williams landed one bream for 3lb 3oz and Robin Parnell came third with 2lb 12oz of small roach.

The revised start for Bury AA club matches (open to all members) will hopefully be the Pageant Cup at Middle Reservoir on Sunday. Most of the Bury AA members who fish the reservoir do so in pursuit of the water’s carp so it will be interesting to see what the match anglers come up with in terms of catches.

Double figure carp rarely feature in Middle Reservoir matches, although I was lucky to win a senior’s match there in October 2009 with a 18lb common. Match secretary Keith Smith drew peg 1 for me (usually a good spot) as I was late arriving due to a hospital appointment. A late start, one bite, an early bath (the strain on a man barely alive catching a proper fish!) and an extremely fortunate win.

About five years ago, in another veteran’s match at the reservoir, Andy Walker, also on peg 1, had a similar one bite, one fish win but the outcome was much more impressive as he landed the infamous carp named Doris at 31lb.

Bream are the usual target species for match anglers hoping to win at Middle Reservoir.

The following article extract written by me and published in the BFP of May 28, 2010 is obviously nostalgic for me but I hope it makes interesting reading generally too with reflections on Harold Boughton (my uncle) and councillor Monty Banks, who were stalwarts of the club over many years.

“Bury St Edmunds Angling Association held their Pageant Cup at Middle Reservoir and, for the first time in a match there this year (2010), the bream showed up and figured in the leading weights. Chris Boughton led the way with six bream, from peg 19, weighing in at 16lb 1oz, followed by Mark Fitzjohn with 9lb 6oz and Andy Hardy with 6lb 12oz. An interesting piece, about the history of the Pageant Cup, appears in the 1973/74 Bury AA club membership book: ‘The Pageant Cup was presented by the Worshipful the Mayor and Mayoress (Councillor and Mrs, F. G. Banks) February 1960. The winner of the Pageant Cup will receive a cash prize of £1 and the runner up 50p, to be presented at the annual prize distribution.’ Alderman Banks was President of the club at the time. Another local man who was a member of the club for over 60 years, and served on their committee for over 30 years, was Harold Boughton who sadly passed away recently. Harold was the club’s fresh water secretary for several years and was made a life member of the club in honour of his many years’ service to the Association. He won a number of big matches on the River Little Ouse with huge nets of bream, his favourite fish, and was a popular member of our local club and will be greatly missed.”

Back to May 2021 and entries for the Pageant Cup at Middle Reservoir on Sunday can be made at Tackle Up or to Bury AA match secretary Keith Smith on 07804 101067 no later than noon tomorrow. The Bury AA match fixture list for the rest of the membership year can be found on the club’s website burystedmundsangling.org

Finally, Bury AA members who fish the club’s lake at Badwell Ash may be reassured to hear that the ruts on the track leading to the car parking area have been filled in with hard core.

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