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A rollercoaster week ends with angling able to continue during national lockdown




After a wait for confirmation following Monday’s address by the Prime Minister on the new national lockdown, it initially spelled bad news for getting back out on the banks, as was permitted under Tier 4.

But there was, thankfully, a U-turn on the decision on Thursday lunchtime!

Jamie Cook, the CEO of the Angling Trust, the sport’s governing body, said: “We have promoted the huge benefits of fishing on individual health and wellbeing and have been able to present a case to which the government have listened. On this basis I am pleased to announce that fishing will be permitted during the third national lockdown in England.

Misty, cold morning at Middle ReservoirPicture: Carl Whitehouse (43805432)
Misty, cold morning at Middle ReservoirPicture: Carl Whitehouse (43805432)

“We have worked extremely hard to reach this position and we as anglers have a duty to abide by the strict conditions under which fishing is once again permitted.

“With infection rates and death tolls rising we must stick to the government’s rules and ensure that angling remains part of the solution and does not cause problems.”

The stipulations on its return from the brief break – which came into force from midnight Wednesday – include keeping to one permitted form of exercise a day in your local area, meaning no night fishing, and observing social distancing.

Finn Sleighwith Doris weighing 33lb 3oz in October 2013 (43805401)
Finn Sleighwith Doris weighing 33lb 3oz in October 2013 (43805401)

The emerging news locally was met with Bury St Edmunds-based Tackle Up initially set to open on Saturdays for call and collect but is a decision they have since opted against to promote the 'Stay At Home' message.

Meanwhile, in Australia, where virus is currently less troublesome, fishing continues as normal.

Circa 40 years ago, former Bury St Edmunds angler Jay Owen was an active junior member of our local angling club.

Now he lives by the sea, down under, in Portand, Victoria where he still goes fishing, but mostly in his boat.

Jack Lloyd with Doris weighing 32lb 1oz in April 2009 (43805399)
Jack Lloyd with Doris weighing 32lb 1oz in April 2009 (43805399)

He posted on Facebook about a trip he went on in early January, despite a dodgy weather forecast.

He said: “I caught two tuna, which secured my dinner for later that day, but then I had to beat a hasty retreat as a thunderstorm was approaching at speed.”

He sent me a slightly disturbing short video clip from his voyage back to the harbour with the local weather forecast ominously playing on the boat’s radio as it bounced along in the increasingly choppy sea.

He also sent me a photo of the sea state an hour later, and explained: “This was taken when the first of some big storm cells moved through”.

Keelan Whitehouse at RedmerePicture: Carl Whitehouse (43805397)
Keelan Whitehouse at RedmerePicture: Carl Whitehouse (43805397)

He added: “I quickly motored back to the harbour shortly afterwards!”

When I expressed my amazement at him running the gauntlet of a forecasted and potentially menacing storm at sea he replied: “It makes it all the more challenging (and fun) Chris”.

I suffered the joys of the Bay of Biscay on a cruise coming back from the Med about six years ago. We followed the tail end of Hurricane Bertha and a force 10 gale. I was not physically sick, but I skipped dinner and the show that evening and have not been very keen on boats since! I think I will stick to Tesco’s for my tuna!

Carl Whitehouse made another visit to the Little Ouse at Redmere recently and enjoyed a successful session pike fishing.

On this occasion his eight-year-old son Keelan caught a 6lb 4oz pike; a personal best for this keen young angler.

Dad also had two pike, but both were smaller than Keelan’s.

Recalling Doris catches

I had a long chat with Bob Sharpe on Messenger recently.

Bob and I both worked at Vintens when it was in Western Way in Bury (I worked there for 24 years and Bob 25), but it had been several years since we last connected.

Bob is a very keen angler but unfortunately has not been able to go fishing since February 2019 due to health problems but hopes to return to the banks early in 2021.

Bob Sharpe with Doris weighing 31lb in August 2017 (43805395)
Bob Sharpe with Doris weighing 31lb in August 2017 (43805395)

Bob sent me a photo of the famous large mirror carp which was a much sought-after catch at Middle Reservoir for many years.

Regulars at the reservoir named the carp Doris and he (yes, he!) usually weighed in between 30lbs and 34lbs.

Bob landed Doris on August 16, 2017 (see photo) weighing 31lb.

Sadly, Doris is no more, and Bob may have been one of the last anglers to catch Doris.

Does anyone have a photo more recent than Bob’s catch?

* Send your pre-lockdown angling stories, catch updates and any pictures you are happy to be included for publication in the ‘Angling news’ to me by emailing me at: chrisboughton@outlook.com

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