Creature from the black plastic lagoon

Angling: It is not my intention to poke fun at anyone but have you heard the story that is currently circulating in the area about the angler who broke his pole trying to land a fish in a weed-choked Suffolk river?Apparently he had been catching a few bits in spite of the weed by using a much heavier rig than he would normally need in this river and then lowering it down in a small clear patch and holding back hard – thus the necessity for the over-heavy rig.

It is not my intention to poke fun at anyone but have you heard the story that is currently circulating in the area about the angler who broke his pole trying to land a fish in a weed-choked Suffolk river?

Apparently he had been catching a few bits in spite of the weed by using a much heavier rig than he would normally need in this river and then lowering it down in a small clear patch and holding back hard – thus the necessity for the over-heavy rig.

That way he was able to avoid trotting and constantly snagging his rig on the weed. It is an old strategy and works reasonably well so long as the pace of the river is not too strong. Well, on one occasion when his float slid under promisingly his lift strike met a solid resistance that would not budge an inch.

Thoughts of monster slab bream or a huge pike raced through his mind as he struggled to get control of 'the thing from the black lagoon' – and then it dawned on him that it might be one of the large carp he had seen in this stretch of the river.

Whatever it was started to slowly ease to the surface through the weeds and then the big black shape that hove into view had the angler shaking his head in disbelieve. It looked like…surely it couldn't be…it was – a waterlogged bin liner!

What disappointment. What an anti-climax. In his disappointment the poor chap yanked at his line in an effort to free it and crack! That sickening sound of fracturing carbon as the second section of his pole snapped completed the poor bloke's day.

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This story reminded me of a rather similar but less tragically-ending situation that I was faced with a few years ago when I fished a match on the Riverside Road length of the River Gipping.

I had only been able to contact small roach up until the point when I hooked the 'monster' and I too was taken in for a moment or two and thought I had hit a decent fish but then realised that I was fighting a dead weight that didn't have a 'kick' in it.

It was not until after I had netted it and brought it in that I realised my catch was in fact a pair of knickers! Just to be mischievous I slipped them into my keepnet and at the weigh-in, when the scalesmen would have nothing to do with them, I feigned indignation claiming that I had caught them fair and square on rod and line and that they should count. Happy days!


At the beginning of last month I wrote about the England Ladies Team's great performance in the World Championships in Slovenia when they grabbed both team and individual gold medals.

The news was tarnished, however, by the announcement that next year's match would not be able to be held in this country, as scheduled, because of lack of funding since Sport England had turned down an application for financial support.

But now Sport England has performed a dramatic about-turn after the Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, intervened and readers might be interested in how this all came about.

The National Federation Of Anglers (NFA) had two appeals for Sport England funding for the showpiece event rejected; on the grounds that angling is not included in Sport England's top twenty 'elite' medal winning sports!

After their second appeal was turned down the NFA contacted the Minister for Sport's office and asked for his support to secure funding to enable the prestigious event to take place in England.

 When the NFA England Ladies Team landed the world crown and team member, Sandra Scotthorne netted individual gold, the NFA wrote to Martin Salter MP, the Minister for Sport's appointed angling and shooting 'trouble shooter' to seek his backing over funding.

"Martin was brilliant; he wrote a lengthy letter to Richard Caborn demanding action over funding" said NFA vice-president David Kent, who is the tournament director for the World Championship event

.NFA International Events Director, Dick Clegg OBE, who is a board member of the Confederation Internationale de la Peche Sportive (CIPS), the world governing body for angling commented, "The position was looking grim and exceedingly embarrassing for England. If we had turned down the opportunity to host this event it is unlikely that CIPS would have entrusted England with another International event."

The NFA's membership services manager, Bob Clark, commented, "Common sense has prevailed. No-one can hold a candle to the fine achievements of our International teams under Dick Clegg. Sport England claim they want to provide funding to medal winners; they should look at our record on the International stage. We still have some way to go with funding the Ladies World Championships but I have every confidence we will stage a Championships to be remembered."



            The Fun and Fishing Day held (by courtesy of Gipping Valley AC) at Needham Lake earlier this month was a great success aided and abetted by a superb warm autumn day. I had the privilege of dropping in on the activities and meeting the anglers and their helpers on this day held to celebrate the achievements of the SDAF over the past year.

            Some of these helpers are themselves disabled anglers and without them the official bodies behind this venture like Re-think Disability and the Environment Agency would find it difficult to manage.

            On this particular day there was about a dozen disabled anglers enjoying the sport. About half were regular attenders at the Forum fishing days and the remainder were people trying out the facilities. All were fishing and all were having fun so the objects of the day were fulfilled.

            Newcomers to the group are always welcome. Angling experience and possession of fishing tackle is unnecessary so if any disabled person would like to make enquiries or have a go they should make contact with Eddy Banks (01284 703460), Mary Parodi (01473 706021) or Shelly Dixon (01449 770135).



A strangely quiet Middle Reservoir was the venue for a recent Over 60's/disabled league match and, as may have been expected, the fish in most pegs were not exactly going mad for baits.

            Mick Smith continued his recent run of good form and used a pole to produce a winning mixed bag of 28 lb. dead. Ron Hubbard kept himself in the running for a championship frame place by coming second with 21 lb. 8 oz. and by doing so moved to the top of the league table. George Tebb was third with 16 lb. 8 oz.

            Last week's Over 60's/disabled match held at Water Lane reservoir was dominated by carp – which was just as well as the bream and roach were not on song. The two leading places were occupied and shared by Ron Hubbard and John Dobson both of whom weighed in 16 lb. 15 oz.

Tony Stollard deserved all the sympathy he got when with five minutes to go he lost a huge carp at the net, which surely would have won the match for him. I clearly heard him say, "Oh bother!" when the fish threw the hook.

The Charity Cup match at the same water suffered both from the chilly nights and also the usual match-itis. In consequence weights were poor and Rob Bonney needed only 8 lb. 11 oz. to take top spot. Runner up Val Coleman had 8 lb. 10 oz. and Nigel Warnekey's 4 lb. dead placed him third.



            Nineteen OAP members fished a friendly pairs match with their counterparts from Hadleigh & DAC at Alderson Lake last week and the good news is that all but one of them caught fish.

            The bad news, however, is that they caught very little. Derek Curtis was top individual with only 1 lb. 2½ oz. with runner up John Scarff weighing in 1 lb. 1 oz. Pairs-wise the Peter Riley/Derek Curtis team came out on top and Reg Airey/Fred Evenett were second

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Needham Lake sport appears to be more consistent of late, even if winning weights aren't exactly huge. It appears that following the removal of a large head of carp, which were the target of fish thieves, the resident bream population are starting to flourish. Most encouraging is the appearance of fish in the six to12 oz. class, which provide entertainment on most pegs whilst anglers wait for their parents (that's the bream, not the anglers!).

Of the anglers attending the Matchman Series competition on Sunday 6th October, a couple of local experts managed to 'pan' some of these bigger specimens. Stuart Oxborrow, who topped the weights in the team match the week before drew in a similar area and picked up where he left off with his favourite feeder rod and with his reel line still clipped up.

There was obviously going to be no contest and, once again Stuart put more than 20 lb. on the scales. Luke Miller, next to Stuart, worked hard putting together a net of skimmers to pinkie hook bait, and landing a couple of good bream late on for runner-up.

 Skimmers also made up most of the net of fish taken by third-placed Mark Brewster who, despite drawing peg 1 and switching baits and lines during the five hours, couldn't latch on to the proper bream. All the field caught, however, in what were not ideal bream fishing conditions.


SPORTS EDITOR : the picture this week is one that I took at the Suffolk Disabled Anglers forum Fun Day at Needham Lake showing a group of the disabled anglers and their helpers.