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Thankfully the harsh weather has started to relent for our anglers

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After two months of very wet and often bitterly cold weather, a much milder spell descended on us in the later part of February.

The sub-zero temperatures put the carp off feeding and most rivers were flooded, or at least in spate, rendering them unfishable. Catch reports locally made grim reading and many anglers stayed at home.

But for the final week of February the weather improved, especially daytime temperatures and the fish started to respond to the angler’s offerings. However, night-time temperatures have still only hovered just above freezing and the water temperatures will still be low.

Phil Southgate at Hawstead Fishing Lakes. Picture: Phil Southgate
Phil Southgate at Hawstead Fishing Lakes. Picture: Phil Southgate

David Plampin, secretary of the Bury St Edmunds Angling Association (Bury AA), sent in this report from the club’s water at Badwell Ash: “I went there on Sunday for a couple of hours in the afternoon, fished the feeder and then the pole with no luck, missed a bite on the feeder though.

“My neighbour Bill, who is retired has been going regularly and having three or four carp a session, the largest being around 8lb – all on the feeder using bread. The water level is as high as I have ever seen it which will be good if we have a dry spring!”

The Bury AA lake at Barrow has also started to reward anglers’ efforts with several reports of carp catches, with one angler landing three in one session last week. The water level is also high at this lake and some of the fishing platforms are partially submerged, so extra care must be taken.

Jason Bond at Suffolk Water Park. Picture: Hayley Clapperton
Jason Bond at Suffolk Water Park. Picture: Hayley Clapperton

Although fishing is still far from easy, carp are also starting to respond to anglers’ baits at Middle Reservoir (Bury AA water – no day tickets currently, members only) with the largest reported falling to 17-year-old Guy Bailey.

This was his first visit to Middle Reservoir, although he has fished at other Bury AA waters. With the sun shining and the air temperature peaking at 15C, it was very mild and pleasant on the day, Wednesday, February 24 for his maiden fish at the Reservoir. The common carp was in superb condition and at 26lb 11oz was a personal best.

Several Bury AA members have tried their hand at pike fishing at the reservoir in the last couple of weeks with the only reported catches a jack and one low double but unfortunately, I have no details.

Lockdown travelling restrictions have made access to Bury AA’s relatively remote stretch of the river Little Ouse at Redmere difficult since it opened to pike fishing at the beginning of November. However, there is one report, unconfirmed of a fish just under 20lb landed in early November.

Guy Bailey at Middle Reservoir. Picture: Guy Bailey
Guy Bailey at Middle Reservoir. Picture: Guy Bailey

Despite the river running low and hard, all through January and most of February, the few pike anglers who have fished there have reported reasonable catches. The river fishing season comes to an end on March 14.

There are no reports from Bury AA’s Water Lane Reservoir but I would be interested in any details of fishing trips to the water – good or not so good! Email me please at chrisboughton@outlook.com

Away from Bury AA waters, Hawstead Lakes has also produced better results for carp anglers since the milder weather arrived. This day ticket water, just outside Bury St Edmunds, has rewarded at least two anglers with a brace of doubles, with all the fish in superb condition.

Phil Southgate who had blanked on his previous two visits to the fishery put those disappointments behind him last week when he landed a mirror weighing 24lb 4oz. The carp, a personal best, was also in superb condition.

Craig Diamond at Suffolk Water Park. Picture: Hayley Clapperton
Craig Diamond at Suffolk Water Park. Picture: Hayley Clapperton

Suffolk Water Park manager Hayley Clapperton reported last week: “After the snow and the floods the improved weather conditions have been very welcome and the fish have started to wake up from their winter slumber.

“A week of milder temperatures and all lakes at Suffolk Water Park have been producing multiple species of fish for the local anglers. This is regardless of the current lockdown which only allows day fishing.

“I am delighted to report already a couple of anglers have achieved their PB with Jason Bond’s 25lb 11oz carp on Traditional Lake and a pike from Jacob’s Creek, which Craig Diamond banked at 15lb 4lb.”

Hawstead Lakes and Suffolk Water Park can both be fished on day tickets.

Meanwhile, there is some good news for local anglers has arrived during the course of the last week.

The Tackle Up shop team of Rachel Godfrey, Robbie Stabler and Emma Hanks. Picture: Ricky Nunn
The Tackle Up shop team of Rachel Godfrey, Robbie Stabler and Emma Hanks. Picture: Ricky Nunn

Tackle-Up, in St John’s Street, in Bury St Edmunds, is to resume a click and collect service, starting later this month.

An announcement on the shop’s Facebook page read: “With cases lowering and vaccinations rolling out at a good pace, we have taken the decision to re-open on a click and collect basis only (for now) on Fridays and Saturdays. Commencing on March 12th and 13th pre-ordered pick-ups only between 9am and 5pm.”

Orders can be placed on Fridays and Saturdays, by calling 01284 755022, or by emailing your enquiry and phone number to tackleupcollections@btinternet.com. Messages can also be sent via their Facebook page.

Bury St Edmunds Angling Association club membership for 2020/21 ends on March 31. Details of how to join for 2021/22 will appear in this angling column next week.

If you would like your catches reported in this article, please email photos and details to chrisboughton@outlook.com