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Chris Boughton's angling column: Quest continues for missing names

In the 1960s, the Bury St Edmunds Angling Association held their annual prize presentations at Perry Barn Social Club (now Home Guard Club) in Abbot Road. The photo shows the prize winners for the 67/68 season with club president Ron Plampin and appears on the club’s website. But the names are incomplete.

Until last week there were five names missing but, following a letter to the club from Rodger Welham, there are now just four mystery anglers.

From left to right, 1= Don’t know. 2 = Maurice Borrett, 3 = Harold Boughton, 4 = Don’t know, 5= Neville Goodchild, 6 = Ron Plampin, 7 = Nick Bonney, 8 = Don’t know, 9 = Roger Welham 10 = Nigel Bruton, 11 = Don’t know. If anyone can help us with the missing names please email to: buryaa@live.co.uk

Bury St Edmunds Angling Association prize winners presentation in 1968 Picture: Bury Free Press
Bury St Edmunds Angling Association prize winners presentation in 1968 Picture: Bury Free Press

Rodger’s email to the club is an insight into angling 52 years on and is included here with his permission.

“I was presented with the trophy for a 2lb 2oz Rudd I caught at Drinkstone Lake. I also won the best specimen trophy for the same fish,” he said.

“I was living at Rattlesden at the time. I have not been fishing since my youth until quite recently.

Tony Clayton at Middle Reservoir
Tony Clayton at Middle Reservoir

“My wife bought me a Bury club membership this year as a present.

“So far, I have been to Barrow Lakes and the river at Redmere.

“I am finding it hard to get to grips with the jargon and equipment there is nowadays. Apart from rod, reel and float tackle, all I had was a forked stick for a rest and bread or worms for bait.”

A 2lb 2oz Rudd is a rare and impressive catch.

It’s 10 years since I last wrote angling articles for the BFP, 25 years since my last national competition (on the Witham), 27 years since I was chairman of Bury AA and 53 years since I won the Bury AA Junior Cup at Lakenheath with the amazing weight of 2½ ozs.

Alison and Simon Price at Middle Reservoir Picture: Chris Boughton
Alison and Simon Price at Middle Reservoir Picture: Chris Boughton

I mention the past because I got chatting to Simon Price and his wife Alison at Middle Reservoir on Sunday and he mentioned the excellent junior coaching sessions held by Eric Bolton at Rushbrooke Lake around 30 plus years ago.

Eric is generally regarded as the best junior officer the Bury AA club has ever had.

Several of Eric’s young super stars went on to fish in the club’s national team in their late teens and early 20s.

Tim Gant had this catch at Blackdyke Trout Fly Fishery
Tim Gant had this catch at Blackdyke Trout Fly Fishery

I also fished in the national team at that time and the Norfolk and Suffolk Winter League.

Simon and I reflected on the crop of very talented junior anglers that Eric guided, and Simon was a part of – including Carl Hitchcock, Andy Flight, Nigel Howard and Daren Newport.

We were not the best by any means in the Winter leagues which included some very strong teams (Deben Black and Blue, Waveney Angels and Raiders, Ipswich Wasps). But we held our own in the five nationals that I fished in the early 90s (Witham twice, Welland, Nene, 16 & 40ft Drains) getting promotion on two occasions.

There were six national divisions back then (roughly 100 teams of 12 – 1,200 anglers per division -– very big matches requiring big venues), I believe there are now just two.

The structure of angling in the UK has changed significantly since the eighties and early nineties. Then it was dominated by very large associations with thousands of members like Birmingham AA and London AA.

Even a small town like Bury had an Association with 1,500 members in 1993 (less than 300 now). Going back further in the sixties, Bury also had sea and trout sections so their membership then was probably even higher than 1,500.

During those years match fishing ruled the waves. Now, angling has fragmented with the expansion of carp syndicates, commercial fisheries, and small private angling clubs plus the much smaller now, associations that remain.

Size rules now with matches on commercial fisheries often won with 200lb of carp and syndicates expected to offer 30lb-plus specimen carp for their members to try to catch. Makes my 21/2 oz junior cup win in 1967 look a bit silly!

Back to the present and at Middle Reservoir there were six anglers there on Sunday when I arrived at 11.30am and no one had caught, but there have been some reasonable carp landed in November so far.

Justin French banked two commons in superb condition at the beginning of the month weighing 14lb and 16lb.

Tony Clayton was very pleased with his common, a personal best weighing 19lb 3oz, beating his previous pb by 2lbs.

Catches in late autumn are down on the summer months, as you would expect, but carp are still being caught, albeit fewer of them.

No reports yet of the Middle Reservoir’s big pike being landed or of Redmere’s pike. However, there are reports that Barrow Lake is picking up after a slow autumn, and Badwell continues to fish well, especially for small carp. No reports of how Water Lane Reservoir is fishing. I called in on Sunday late morning but there were no anglers there.

Reports and photos very welcome, email to chrisboughton@outlook.com and thank you for the assistance I have received from Tackle Up, Bury AA and local anglers. Thank you also for all the numerous positive comments on last week’s first article; let’s hope this one goes down equally as well!

* Send your angling news and pictures to: chrisboughton@outlook.com