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Chris Boughton's angling column: Open victories for Stuart Pain and Vince Cross at Hinderclay and East Bilney Lakes

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Venues for anglers to fish open matches locally are few and far between with the closest fisheries from Bury St Edmunds holding regular events being Hinderclay Lakes and Suffolk Water Park.

Both are about a 30 minute drive from Bury. These are day ticket commercial fisheries, with our local clubs offering very little now.

Hinderclay holds open matches most Thursdays and Sundays throughout the year and places can be booked on their matches by calling the fishery boss Stuart Platt on 07787 521851.

Stewart Pain enjoyed a victory at Hinderclay Lakes Picture: Stuart Platt
Stewart Pain enjoyed a victory at Hinderclay Lakes Picture: Stuart Platt

In a recent Sunday match at Hinderclay, Stewart Pain won with 140lb 8oz of carp.

On a very hot and windy day Stewart fished on Florence Lake and had a flying start, catching carp from the beginning.

He then had a quiet spell when he foul hooked four fish but all of a sudden the fish started taking his bait properly and he ended up with 15 quality carp to nearly double the weight of the second place angler.

Ian Andrews finished as a runner-up at Hinderclay Lakes Picture: Stuart Platt
Ian Andrews finished as a runner-up at Hinderclay Lakes Picture: Stuart Platt

Stewart fished the bomb and pellet combination casting halfway to the island from peg 18. Second place saw Hinderclay veteran Ian Andrews using the method feeder and casting into the corner of Florence Lake from peg 16 using pellets as hook bait.

Ian had 11 fish for his total weight of 77lb 1oz. Ady Moore fished from peg 13 and came third with 70lb oz.

The following Sunday (July 24) Ady came third again, this time fishing from peg 12 on William Lake with 57lb. Phil Alexander was the runner-up with 63lb 12oz from Lake Arthur and Gary Bull, who won a five-day festival of matches at Hinderclay in June, triumphed in a close match with 64lb 7oz (Lake Arthur peg 7).

Elsewhere, local angler Vince Cross travels to East Bilney Lakes regularly for their open matches. Situated between East Dereham and Fakenham, this is also a day ticket commercial fishery.

Vince Cross recorded a victory at East Bilney Lakes Picture: Vince Cross
Vince Cross recorded a victory at East Bilney Lakes Picture: Vince Cross

Vince told me last week: “I finally managed to win a match at East Bilney today after coming second in the last three, not that I am complaining, it’s just nice to get the job done.”

Vince won with 58lb with another of our local match anglers Stewart Bracey in second place with 45lb on his first visit to the fishery.

Three days later in the Saturday Open Vince took top spot again, this time with 84lb of F1’s.

To book a place on a match at East Bilney call or text 07748 486517.

On the same day Stewart fished an open match at Rookery Waters, near Pidley, and came out on top with a massive weight of 331lb.

Bury St Edmunds Angling Association no longer run open matches on their waters but they do hold monthly club matches for their members and weekly matches for their disabled and veteran section.

Barrow Lake has had its critics since it re-emerged as an association fishery in April but it certainly shone in the sunshine on July 28 for the latest Vets match there.

All 11 anglers caught fish, mostly carp, with Grant Humphreys leading the way from peg 11 with 42lb. Second was Andy Walker, who weighed in 30lb from peg 17 and Dave Williams came third from peg 8 with 29lb.

All our local fisheries, whether commercial, club or syndicate waters, are nervously watching to see if the deadly KHV virus spreads further after confirmed outbreaks in June at two fisheries in Norfolk (both closed to all anglers until further notice). The virus is lethal to all species of carp.

As at the end of June there was only nine fisheries in England closed having tested positive for the virus but it is known to spread quickly if not contained. Blue green algae has also appeared on some areas of the Norfolk Broads, almost certainly as a result of the recent heatwave. It isn’t as lethal to carp as KHV but it can be lethal for dogs and can cause extreme nausea to anglers, who should be cautious and aware, especially as the very hot weather is forecast to persist through August.

Also a further risk to fish mortality from the very hot, dry spell is the drop in oxygen content in the water at our fisheries.

The water level at several of our local fisheries is already much lower than normal and consequently the oxygen content could drop dangerous low, especially at relatively shallow waters.

If you spot fish in distress when you are out stop fishing and immediately contact the owner/club fishery officer.

To finish on another note of caution, the Norwich and District Pike Club, the Broads Angling Services Group and the Environment Agency have all urged anglers not to fish for pike during the hot weather.

Pike are vulnerable to heat-related stress when water temperatures reach 21C. The resulting stress can be potentially fatal for pike.

Bury St Edmunds AA only allows pike fishing from November 1 to March 14 and many other clubs operate a ban until October 1.