Holt SAC West Norfolk Challenge 2018 Round 1 (Report)

Sunday 8th July 2018 - Kings Lynn Estuary



The first round of this year’s Holt SAC West Norfolk Challenge and 7th Leg Summer Accumulator was fished on the West Bank of the River Ouse Estuary at KINGS LYNN on SUNDAY 8TH JULY 2018. As with other similar matches this one suffered from the World Cup syndrome and the availability of some serious crab and the running of the match was in doubt to quite late on due to lack of bookings. However, with renewed interest shown from Lincs., Cambs., Northants, Suffolk and of course Norfolk plus others would be back for the final two rounds the match was on, many thanks to all those that supported this one.


There was no doubt that the forecast would be right as it hadn’t changed for the past few weeks with High Pressure being dominant. With the windmills static at the start the wind was non-existent so it was going to be a warm one but half way through the blades started to roll from a refreshing north north east breeze to keep temperatures very comfortable in common with what we have been experiencing on the North Norfolk Coast whilst everywhere else simmered.


Pegging for this one was just south of the Pylon and the Treatment Works and thankfully there was enough east in the breeze to keep those noxious Works fumes behind us. Two weeks previous at the SAMF Pairs the whole stretch was like the Serengeti but “friendly” Mr Farmer had been out with his machine and mowed the lot. Well nearly the lot, just the pasture behind the match stretch giving us a clear run to the parking south of the Pylons. However, the actual match stretch was still Serengeti like and even finding an appropriate break in the hedge onto the bank was a challenge. We eventually plumped for one almost opposite the culvert on the East Bank so Sections A & B were either side of this. Normally we are alone on the river but this time there was a healthy bunch of Locals on the far bank so we must have picked the right spot particularly as they were hauling in Flounders and Eels before we started.


With a latish start most were there nice and early except for those that liked to do a tour round West Lynn and those that got stuck in traffic at Heacham, they hadn’t read the Asian Script on the signs directing them to the Shrine at Walsingham. Not much walking for this one and even less for those around B end peg with a break in the hedge although bit unlucky for those at the other end peg A where someone had placed a massive concrete block in that hedge break so it was a Serengeti walk for them.


The flood had just picked up at the “horn” but the tide at this stage was slow so everyone was able to comfortably fish mid-stream. It was soon apparent that we weren’t in for a barren session as rods started to bang and Eels started to come ashore. Some small but a lot of a reasonable size up to 62cm and these were joined by the odd Flounder.   This was reminiscent of the previous Pairs match where fish were there from the off particularly the Eels.


As the tide started to pick up the Eels started to slow down but only slightly and the incoming water brought in a couple of Schoolie Bass. Nothing like the Randell monster of the previous match but still 31 points (31cm) for both and Henry had to get one of them. One that was part of a treble shot he reeled in with two Flounders but as the bottom one dropped off he launched himself down the bank ending up on his arse just a couple of feet from the water watching his flattie wave its tail and dive back in. Unfortunately, no pictures this time.


Although a very small tide, the current was still strong but still allowed most to fish mid-stream with the usual havoc been created upstream by that perpetual braid man. For most the fish were switching off for them and they needed them to come back on for some action. Then there was the other Needham, Charlie promenading on the match stretch, having a gander and banter with the small hooks brigade, he uses nothing less than a 1/0 anywhere. Good to hear Charlies Angels will be back in the Autumn and then we heard the sound of machinery in the pasture behind where the cars were parked. Sods law ensued that the “friendly” Mr Farmer had to bale up that hay when we were there and of course with such space we normally don’t park in a friendly way, we just park. So of course some had parked on his precious hay but Charlie came to the rescue and collected up the keys and moved the offending machines, many thanks and well done Charlie. However, Mr Farmer probably got his own back as he locked the EA Gate when he left locking us in, “not so friendly” Mr Farmer.


Back to the fishing which for some was a bit slow as the tide rushed through and as the tide eased and switched direction the Flounders started to show as did a few vessels. With a few perched precariously on the dry mud at the top of the bank, a watchful eye was kept on what vessels were passing particularly at the top of the tide. One large ship posed the biggest threat but the Pilot did his job and hardly any wash as did a few Commercial Fishermen who kept well over to the East Bank, thank you. However there always has to be one, a Commercial in a silver Cat steaming in close to the West Bank, cut JC off before hooting and going back into mid-stream, unfortunately no pictures! Deliberate or not, we never get boats coming that close on the West Bank, thank-you Mr Commercial.


Back again to the fishing where the increasing ebb had kicked off a few more Flounders and a few more Eels were being recorded. For most their last fish was a Flounder which followed the pattern of that Pairs match although some really did struggle with their last fish being their only fish and for one that was on his very first cast. Anyway there was one person who was catching all the way through and that was the in venerable HENRY RANDELL (Peg 16) who once again easily did the business like in the Pairs Match by finding 22 Fish (10 Eels, 10 Flounders and a Bass) for 11lb 6oz. A remarkable number of fish considering he had two crack-offs at the end and did not fish for the last 20 minutes, well done Henry! Runner up was PAUL MARSHALL who was next to Henry on Peg 17 finding 15 fish (11 Eels and 4 Flounders) for 8lb 6oz with MIKE WATTS (Peg 21) taking the final podium slot with 14 Fish (10 Eels and 4 Flounders) for 7lb 12oz.


In the Sections, A was taken by JOHN CARTER (Peg 8) with 5lb 13oz from 9 Fish (6 Eels and 3 Flounders) and the runner up DAVE BURR (Peg 10) with 5lb 13oz from 8 fish (5 Eels and 3 Flounders. Section B was taken by the two overall winners HENRY RANDELL (Peg 16) and PAUL MARSHALL (Peg 17). Heaviest Flat Fish was a 36cm (1lb 3oz) Flounder caught by JOHN CARTER (Peg 8) and Heaviest Round a 63cm (15oz) Eel taken by SIMON DRAYTON (Peg 20). Altogether 132 Fish (89 Eels, 41 Flounders and 2 Bass) were recorded weighing 70lb 3oz.


This was the first round of this year’s West Norfolk Challenge which comprises of 3 matches and incorporates an INDIVIDUALS League as well as FREE Pairs and MYSTERY Pairs Competitions. In all three competitions the best two scores (worst dropped) are counted over the 3 matches so anyone missing Round 1 can still be competitive if they fish the last two rounds. The League is based on Section points and the top 3 currently are HENRY RANDELL (1 Point), JOHN CARTER (1 Point) and PAUL MARSHALL (2 Points) with any ties broken by overall Fish Points score and then overall number of fish.


Both the Pairs Competitions are based on overall fish weight (fish points) of the Pair with each Individual’s worst weight dropped. The FREE Pairs are nominated pairing with no entry fee and funded by the Raffle with the prize pot currently at £80. Current leaders are Dave BURR & Paul MARSHALL (680 Fish Points) followed by Henry RANDELL & Dave READ (672 Fish Points) and Tony THOMAS & Mike WATTS (535 Fish Points). The MYSTERY Pairs pairing is determined from result of round 1 and pairs Individuals from the top half with those of the bottom half. This draw was done at the end of the match by all those there, drawing the appropriate match cards for the pairing. As this was done on the result of round 1 there were 8 Pairs in this competition and no more can be added. Current leaders are Tony THOMAS & Henry RANDELL (709 Fish Points) followed by Paul MARSHALL & Billy TEMPLE (499 Fish Points) and Mike WATTS & Richard LING (406 Fish Points).


In the Club’s 7th Leg Summer Accumulator the winners were the same as the overall placings as they were all Club members.


Another interesting match on the river Ouse where each time we learn something about the venue. No really serious fish this time but maybe we got the matches times wrong for them. A good observation for this was the bunch of Locals on the opposite bank who were there hours before we were and fished more of the bottom, buggering off as the tide ripped through when the fish slowed for us . Even so this was another excellent competitive match from which some of us who did not catch a lot can learn something from those that did.


The Next Club match is Round 2 of the West Norfolk Challenge and 8th Leg Summer Accumulator on SATURDAY 21ST JULY at KINGS LYNN. For this match we will take on board what we learnt from Round 1 and fish from 8:30 – 1:30 LW 8:00 HW 2:00 (approx.) 4.2 m with the Draw on the bank from 7:00. Early start but the roads to the north end of Clockcase Lane (PE34 4BZ) will be quiet and the match stretch will be Sections A & B either side of the north culvert. If you are fishing this match please text 07780793141 and please bring a raffle prize … Tony T


Top 10 Individuals


1...Henry Randell.....11lb...6oz……....(22.Fish) (Peg 16)

2...Paul Marshall........8lb...6 1/3oz...(15.Fish) (Peg 17)

3...Mike Watts...........7lb...12oz….....(14.Fish) (Peg 21)

4...Simon Drayton.....6lb...11 1/3oz.(13.Fish) (Peg 20)

5...John Carter..........5lb...13oz…....(  9.Fish) (Peg 8)

6...Dave Burr............5lb...12 1/3oz.( .8.Fish) (Peg 10)

7...Brian McKenzie.....4lb...3 1/3oz...(11.Fish) (Peg 23)

8...Adrian Bordianu....3lb...11 2/3oz.( 9.Fish) (Peg 22)

9...Richard Chapman.3lb...9 2/3oz...( 8.Fish) (Peg 9)

10.Tony Thomas........3lb...6 1/3oz...( 6.Fish) (Peg 14)




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