Junior anglers in good shape

SUFFOLK'S junior angling squad are looking in good shape for the National Under-18 Championships following some vital preparation at Suffolk Water Park.

SUFFOLK'S junior angling squad are looking in good shape for the National Under-18 Championships following some vital preparation at Suffolk Water Park.

The county only reformed a junior side last year but made an outstanding return to the banks following a four-year absence with a top ten finish at the National Junior Angling Association's 50th anniversary competition.

The ten-strong squad, which are run by a team of coaches from Gipping Valley Angling Club, are now hoping firmly make their mark on the national junior angling scene with an equally impressive performance at Cambridgeshire's Decoy Lakes in June.

As part of their preparation for that under-18 event, the young Suffolk squad - most of which are still under 16 - took to the banks of Suffolk Water Park this month in some unseasonably mild weather to continue their dedicated training schedule.

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The day, organised by Gipping Valley's Terry and Emma Reynolds, also saw the Suffolk squad joined by the club's newly formed junior academy members.

Despite the mild weather, the water temperature was still in single figures and initially fish were slow to respond on most pegs. As a result, coaches replaced several hook lengths and adjusted shotting patterns, fining down to entice bites.

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Alice Bullock was quick of the blocks and into a good tench early on, while Matt Snowling picked up odd fish on the feeder.

Those that persevered with pole tactics - the preferred weapon of choice for Decoy Lakes - were eventually rewarded, as a steady run of roach, further tench and hard fighting carp came to the young anglers' nets.

Under the watchful eye of Suffolk Water Park's Richard Watson, as well as Gipping Valley's own coaches, Bullock added two more tench to give her third place on the day with a double figure return, while and Robert Murphy's feeder tactics brought him the runners-up spot.

With Robert Foulger drawing the favoured end peg however, everyone else played five hours catch-up as he took pound-plus rudd, good roach and several carp to weigh in over 28lbs and take top spot.

Although the day was intended only to be a light-hearted preliminary practice event, all 14 competitors returned commendable weights of fish.

Gipping Valley's Mark Brewster said: “We would like to thank Lisa and the Water Park for their hospitality, particularly Trevor for weighing-in. Mark from Surefix also needs to be thanked for his continued support of the county's youngsters, as well as Terry and Emma for putting the event together. The youngsters themselves should also be congratulated for their exemplary behaviour.”

Suffolk squad: Abigail Brewster (Great Finborough), Alice Bullock (Ottley), Robert Foulger (Diss), Alex Gissing (Westerfield), James Head (Barking), Ashley Miller (Needham Market), Robert Murphy (Ipswich), Reece Page (Ipswich), Emma Reynolds (Ipswich) and Matt Snowling (Hadleigh).

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