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Bury St Edmunds Anglian Association's new membership year gets under way

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It was April 1 yesterday but it genuinely is the start of a new membership year for the Bury St Edmunds Angling Association.

For those anglers wishing to join or renew their existing membership there are three local tackle shops that have them on sale: Tackle Up in Bury St Edmunds, Hooked in Newmarket and Just Fishin in Sudbury.

The club had a difficult time last year with the loss of the fishing rights at Barrow at the end of August.

A veterans' match at Barrow Lake in 2021. Picture: Chris Boughton
A veterans' match at Barrow Lake in 2021. Picture: Chris Boughton

But, as reported here a couple of weeks ago, they now have the rights back with effect from today and hopefully the water will fish well after its unexpected seven-month rest.

The Covid implications saw the popularity of coarse fishing rise significantly last year and most angling clubs enjoyed an increase in membership income, Bury included. Let us hope that increase is at least sustained for 2022.

After years of decline in club membership for coarse fishing it is very heartening to see growth in numbers yet again.

We even have waiting lists at a couple of our local clubs, but so far not for Bury AA.

What angling locally and nationally still needs though is a spike in juniors joining clubs. Syndicated specimen fisheries locally still all have waiting lists to the best of my knowledge and have had for many years, but generally these are not the venues to accommodate young anglers learning the skills of fishing.

There are a couple of clubs in Suffolk where young anglers are nurtured and thriving but in general this is not the case. I will report on this more in a couple of weeks.

So back to Bury St Edmunds Angling Club and what waters do they currently offer? Barrow Lake, as already mentioned, which is a mixed coarse fishery with around 17 useable pegs to fish from on platforms which the club repaired last year.

The lake is about one acre and contains, hopefully still in residence, roach, perch, skimmers, bream and carp. Also a batch of 250 small tench were stocked in November 2021.

This lake is good for disabled angers as pegs 1 to 9 are very close to the car park and there is a brick building with a toilet and washing facilities (not accessible in the winter though).

There is a padlocked gate with the combination number provided with the membership details when you join.

The Bury AA water at Badwell Ash was the club’s star performer last season with big nets of smallish carp – up to low double figures – being caught in both the club matches and the veterans’ matches.

There has been a problem with the access track being too muddy to safely navigate a vehicle along but the material to fix this was delivered last week and should be in place by the time this article is published. This fishery also has a padlocked gate.

Water Lane Reservoir is certainly not a fishery for disabled anglers as the banks down to the platforms are very steep. But if the weed is not too bad this year then there are double figure carp and some impressive perch and roach to target.

Also, the club stocked tench averaging 3/4lb in November 2020 and it will be interesting to see if they feature when the weather warms up and how much weight they have put on.

For the dedicated carp specimen anglers who join Bury AA, Middle Reservoir is the venue to fish.

It certainly isn’t a runs water but does offer rewards to patient anglers with carp nudging the 30lb mark.

The reservoir also has a good head of bream with fish up to 8lb included in catches last season.

The final venue is the stretch of the river Little Ouse at Redmere which is obviously closed to fishing until June 16 so I will report on that nearer that time.

The club has commissioned a new website which should be available soon and is being organised by committee member Dave Tobin, who is also looking after communication via the club’s Facebook page.

I built the original website 13 years ago for the club and maintained it as best I could up until recently when it had to be closed due to various problems.

The site was desperately in need of a modern face lift with some new and more current fish and venue photos.

Dave is new to the committee and so far has definitely warmed up communications via the Facebook page and I am sure he will liven up the new website equally well when it appears.

Dave is also a good match angler and plans to report the club and veterans’ match results on the Facebook page and on the new website. Keith Smith, the club’s match secretary, will supply Dave with the results.

There will be a list of the match fixtures on the new website when it appears but they have also been posted on the Facebook page and listed in the club details that members receive when they join.

If you would like your catches included in this column then please email details and photos to chrisboughton@outlook.com