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Highbridge Syndicate Fishery is the venue for quartet's New Year's Eve celebrations

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Highbridge Syndicate Fishery boss James Brown organised his traditional annual drinks and BBQ session for New Year’s Eve as a thank you to the members.

He reported: “Due mostly to Covid there was only four of us (myself, Steve Brazier, Marcus Garner and John Hudson) this year so I pushed the boat out and bought decent rib eye steaks.”

Just as the steaks were being served from the BBQ, John had a run that produced the water’s largest fish (known as Keith’s fish) a common carp weighing in at 39lb 11oz.

John Hudson at Highbridge on New Year's Eve. Picture: James Brown
John Hudson at Highbridge on New Year's Eve. Picture: James Brown

John posted on Facebook after safely returning the fish: “Thank you very much for all your help guys (Steve, Marcus and James), I am well chuffed even though the fish interrupted our beautiful steaks.”

The steaks had to be reheated but what a cracking way to see out 2021!

‘Keith’s fish’ does not succumb to the temptation of anglers’ baits very often but coincidently Steve caught the same fish in May last year, weighing 39lb.

Steve Brazier at Highbridge in the early hours of New Year's Day. Picture: James Brown
Steve Brazier at Highbridge in the early hours of New Year's Day. Picture: James Brown

However, Steve was to have his own special moment at midnight on New Year’s Eve...

With Highbridge reservoir being on high ground it is a perfect spot to view the large number of New Year’s Eve firework displays. It was a clear, relatively mild night at 13C and James said they had an ‘excellent view’.

But literally dead on the dot of midnight, Steve had a run on his middle rod resulting in them missing all the displays that exploded in the sky simultaneously around them.

He said: “We couldn’t believe it was exactly midnight with bangs and flashes all around.” Steve added: “It was particularly special for me as January 1 is my late brother’s birthday, which made it a rather magical and surreal moment.”

The resulting fish was one of Highbridge’s home grown common carp (17lb).

James summed up by saying: “The four of us had a fabulous night and fun was had by all, even though Marcus and I let the side down by failing to catch.”

Most members target the specimen carp at Highbridge but the water also boasts some other specimen size fish.

Roach have been caught well over 2lb and in mid-December Terry Payne set a new lake record for Highbridge when he landed a stunning bream of 11lb.

Meanwhile, Bury St Edmunds Angling Association held their last match of 2021 recently but the weights were disappointing.

On a very cold morning Andy Hardy needed only 4lb 8oz to take top spot in the club’s Veterans’ Christmas match at Badwell Ash.

The water was very clear and very cold and Ted Paske secured second place with just 3lb 7oz.

The Bury AA club Christmas match, due to be held also at Badwell Ash, was cancelled as at the time the track leading to the gate to the lake was very soft after several days of heavy rain.

Has anyone tried their luck pike fishing on the Little Ouse at Redmere? I have heard of a couple of jack pike caught in early December but no other reports so far.

Any reports would be very welcome, email them to: chrisboughton@outlook.com

Elsewhere, carp fishing at the Bury AA water at Middle Reservoir is understandably always challenging during the winter months but there have been reports of recent catches.

Bury AA fishery officer Andy Butcher caught a perfectly scaled common weighing in at 18lb in mid-December and Bob Willis was pleased with a handsome 18lb 6oz linear that he landed at the end of December.

A quick reminder that the Bury St Edmunds Angling Association annual general meeting and trophy presentation are scheduled for the evening of Monday, February 7 at the Moreton Hall Social Club – Covid restrictions permitting.

Exact timings for event are due to be confirmed in due course.