2017 AGM ... 2016-17 Chairman’s Report
This was the Club’s 63rd year and was relatively a quiet season. Unusually, the weather had a major impact on Club match activity and along with low attendance led to some Club matches being cancelled. This situation also affected the Club’s Annual Open and Xmas Fayre Open matches which has not happened before. The lack of attendance at Club matches is a particular worry and needs to be addressed for the future of the Club. Even so the Club still has a healthy membership at 51 which is slightly down on the previous season. This comprises of 3 Juniors, 3 Ladies and 45 Men with majority of the latter being at the rather mature end of their fishing careers. However, it has been encouraging of late to have a few new members particularly from Gt. Yarmouth at the other end of their match careers. This situation needs to be seriously addressed in the coming season for the Club to have a chance to survive.
On the statistics, the club scheduled 40 matches during the season excluding the Bass Festival and National Sea League Final events. Six of these were cancelled of which 2 were Opens, 6 were Sea League matches, 4 West Norfolk Challenge, 2 pure Opens and the remaining 22 pure Club matches. Average Club attendance for these matches was 14 which is identical to 2015 and 2014 although a better attendance in the Sea League helped to achieve this. Total fish recorded was 5070 and 149 per match which is 21% drop on 2015. Total fish weight recorded was 1419lb and 42lb per match which is 19% drop on 2015 so slightly better quality fish this season.
The summer Club scene was the usual mixture of sand and shingle matches although the sand was solely Bacton. From experience August is poor both fish and attendance wise so this year the end of July and August matches were missed out. As usual the first summer match wais at Kelling in early April and this year we were rewarded by a good haul of fish although subsequent matches on the shingle in April and May were relatively poor. However, the first excursion to the sand at Bacton was one of the best matches at these venue for years when the Hounds arrived. Altogether 17 Hounds were recorded with Jeff Stannard finding a 10lb 11oz specimen and the biggest fish of the season.
On the shingle at the end of May saw small plenty of small dabs, a few odd flounders and a few small whiting hanging around enabling Mike Watts to record the highest number of fish caught in a Club match this season of 59. Early June saw plenty of Bass at Salthouse with 29 recorded albeit the majority being Schoolies. It took a Bacton match in mid-June to find the biggest Bass of the season of 4lb taken by John Carter but not much else was recorded. Late June and July on the shingle saw the flat fish thinning out and the appearance of mackerel and gars on match cards for the first time. Seeing mackeral being recorded was uncomfortable for some and it’s a decision that the club has to address. Gars are a new species for us to record and Henry showed they were there with others following suit but we will need to adjust our conversion chart to accommodate this species. The final Club summer match was also a Charity Open at Kelling in early September in aid of Mundesley Lifeboat an attracted an excellent turn out although the fish were not so obliging with lots of blanks. Karl Nangle from Grimsby took the honours and £130 from the raffle was presented to Mundesley Lifeboat.
This was a typical summer season with probably the Hounds being the surprise. We also probably saw a star Clubman in the making in Luke Brierley who repeatedly gave the old hands a roasting but he has to except that there are not always lots of fish to catch. In the Summer Accumulator Tony Thomas took the trophy with 409 points followed by Mike Watts 390 points, John Carter 382 points and Peter Loke 380 points.
The major Open event of the summer was again the Club’s fourth running of the two day North Norfolk Bass Festival in May which was sponsored by Kelling Heath Holiday Park. This year saw it now firmly established as a national event which included the UK Ladies Championships, North Norfolk Juniors Tournament with support from Sea Angler magazine, Tronixpro and Maver. A new Teams of 4 event was included called the Shannock Quads which was supported and sponsored by Sheringham Carnival. This popular event attracted 106 anglers from around the country at some stage participating in the event which was a big increase on the previous years. This year the event was again staged at Cley & Kelling with each competitor fishing both these venues on alternate days. Altogether 63 bass and 4098 fish were recorded which was a significant increase on previous years The Bass Festival champion was Suffolk man Andy Collier with two convincing days. Cromer lass Kimberley Lawn was the Ladies champion with local junior Adam Molloy taking the Junior’s Tournament. The Shannock Quads was taken by a strong Suffolk squad in Team Breakaway. Our own Clubman Mark “Kipper” Colman found the heaviest bass of the Tournament a 6lb 6oz specimen and scooped the Short Break Holiday prize donated by Kelling Heath. Yet again, a highly successful event for which the club can be proud.
The club also ran its annual West Norfolk Challenge Open event During May, June and July the club ran its Annual West Norfolk Challenge Series on the Ouse Estuary at Kings Lynn. Support for the first match of the Series was excellent but the remaining 3 was very poor. The availability of crab again did not help the situation although we started earlier to avoid this and the quantity and quality of eels & flounders was worse than 2015 which did not help. Simon Drayton from Gainsborough became West Norfolk Challenge Champion, Simon Drayton & George Smith took the Free Pairs title and Simon Drayton & Peter Loke the Mystery Pairs title
The Club also embarked on its first summer Orford trip in mid-May with a low turn-out of just 8 supporting the event. Plenty of dogs and a few bass were caught but the highlight of the day were the 5 rays. Biggest ray went to Tom Gibbs and his first real shore caught ray ever and Kevin Green caught his first shore ray for 30 odd years. The Club’s Annual Mackeral Bash was held at Cley in late July and although turn-out was low it became a very competitive match towards the end. The mackeral did for once oblige with Mike Watts finding 12 in the last hour to take the honours.
The Winter Club matches kicked off in mid-September and it was to be one of the worst series of matches for some years seriously affected by the weather and low attendance. The September matches suffered from this and the lack of fish with the first two October matches cancelled primarily due to the weather. Late October on the shingle saw the quantity and quality of fish improve but the attendance was again poor and it was similar for the annual Autumn match at Gt Yarmouth. The end of November saw the only pure Club match when the number and quality fish primarily whiting improved as did the attendance. This trend continued into December when the only pure Club and night match on the shingle produced plenty of fish and the best match of the Autumn
The New Year saw numbers and quality of fish improve during January with some decent Whiting at last arriving on the shingle which also saw the attendance improve. Even the sand on a rare visit to Trimingham produced some reasonable numbers of fish towards the end of January. The shingle continued to perform in early February with plenty of fish and good attendance. In mid-February the Club moved its match to Gorleston, incorporating it in the John Lacey Memorial with 20 Club members participating with our own Keith Morley taking the honours. The last February match was on the sand at Bacton where although fish numbers were down young Jack Topping found the flounders to do the business as well as his Dad. The final Club match in March on the shingle produced an excellent turn out with a lot of cracking whiting.
The Winter Accumulator Trophy went to John Carter with his usual steady performance of 26lb 11oz from Tony Thomas 24lb 14oz and John Neave 24lb 2oz with weights half that of last season typifying the type of year we’ve had. The Overall League winner was John Carter with 710 points from Henry Randell 703 and Paul Kendrick 690 points. The Ladies Overall League winner was Adele Smith 208 points with none of the other Ladies participating in Club matches this year. The Juniors Overall League champion was Luke Brierley on 304 points from Jack Topping on 202 and Danny Brown on 40.
During this period the Club was intending to run 4 Open matches but the Annual Open & Roy Waller Memorial and the Xmas Fayre & Town Team Challenge matches were cancelled due to bad weather and other Open matches on the same day and no bookings. The Rocket House Open at Kelling survived attracting a good turnout for this particular match. The Club’s only length match of the season was taken by Saxmundham’s Chris Spall. The New Year Open which included the Town Team Challenge also survived attracting 26 competitors from around East Anglia in atrocious conditions. Chris Spall again took the honours with Diss and Felixstowe sharing the Team trophy.
The Club again organised the North Norfolk National Sea League which saw 8 teams participating, the same as previous season. Although a few of the team names changed the majority of team members were the same as previous year with a few new members. All six rounds of the league were held on the Norfolk Norfolk shingle beaches and Bacton. All rounds were well attended and as the majority were Club members demonstrated that we can have a healthy Club turnout. Attendance was boost in the final rounds due to new Club members and Individuals from the East Anglian League when there was no match there. The champion team was again Avenue Angling Norwich who were consistent throughout most of the rounds establishing an early lead which they did not relinquish. Runners-up were Team Maver and third was Holt Crack Offs.
The Club also hosted another outstanding National Sea League Final on the North Norfolk Shingle where again 30 teams from around the country participated. This event was held in slightly better conditions than the previous year but the weather still intervened to reduce fish numbers to unseasonable levels. Even so it was a hard fought contest with the Welsh squad of Garry Evans Match Team at last taking the title after a number of podium places. Top local team was Charlies Angels who came in a creditable 10th after an outstanding Day 2 when they came 2nd.
On the International scene our Henry Randell was selected for the England Youths Homes Team which was fished in Norfolk in July 2016 and helped them win Gold. He has also been selected for the England Senior Homes Team for the 2017 event in Wales. Club member Andy Gallacher fished for the England Senior Homes Team in July 2016 and has been selected for the same Team in the 2017 Homes. With the England selectors now putting their right hat on Club member Adele Smith has been selected for the England Ladies 2017 Homes Team. Well done Henry, Andy and Adele. In addition, Tony Thomas was Assistant Manager for the Welsh Seniors Homes Team which took Gold in the 2016 event.
On the National scene, Club member Kevin Green was top angler in the Police Nationals in Northern Ireland in September 2016. He also assisted the Norfolk Police A Team along with Club members Ivan Allison, Tom Gibbs and Willy Groombridge to take the Team title. Well done Kevin, Ivan, Tom and Willy. Three of these Club members were also in action for the Police along with Henry Randell, Tony Thomas and Mike Watts for SAMF in the SAMF Forces Challenge in mid-March at Kelling in rather blustery conditions. SAMF won the event with Willy Groombridge being top Police angler and Henry top SAMF angler as well as 2nd Overall Individual. Well done to all of them!
The club’s website has continued throughout the season to hold Match Results and Reports along with other Club information. It is becoming rather full now and some maintenance will be required in the coming season. Even so, the site works very well with the Club’s Facebook page which contains immediate visible information about events whereas the website holds this and historical data in a controlled and organised fashion. I’m afraid some of the reports are tedious but are well received by many but not certain how long they will continue.
The Annual Accounts show that this year has again been financially successful for the Club with over £500 surplus for the year. This healthy situation was again primarily due to the excellent raffles we ran during our various events. I would like to again thank John Neave, Ivan Allison, Peter Loke, John Carter and others for managing these and of course all club members who donated the raffle prizes. More of the same for next season please!
This coming year the Club will also be running the 5th North Norfolk Bass Festival which will continue to include the Ladies, Juniors and Shannock Quads events plus a New Mystery Pairs competition. There has already been a lot of bookings from match anglers who have not fished the event before and all Kelling Heath’s allocated Holiday Homes are already fully booked. The event has had a full page advert in Sea Angler curtesy of the magazine. The Club will also be responsible for helping to run the Penn Sea League Final at Kelling in June and has been requested to run an Open event the following day for these top match anglers and others. No doubt Sea Angler will be generous to the Club and we should at least get a good Raffle Table for the Bass Festival.
After the poor support in 2016 for the annual West Norfolk Challenge at Kings Lynn this Series is in doubt although there has been a lot of queries about it. This is something the AGM has to sort out along with how the Club is to operate with poor attendance at pure Club matches.
A lot of debate is probably needed so let’s hope we can keep the Club going in 2017-18!
2016 AGM ... 2015-16 Chairman’s Report
The 62nd season for the club saw it again play a significant role in the local and national Sea Angling match scene. For once there was little politics and the club was allowed to flourish in what it does best in organising & running club matches and major Open events where it continued to show that professional approach. As happens every season membership fluctuated particularly at the start of the year with old members leaving or not re-joining being replaced by new enthusiastic members, this season was no different. I am therefore pleased to report that for this season we had 58 fully paid up members of which 4 were Ladies and 6 were Juniors. The major difference this year is that we have attracted more top match anglers from further afield along with establishing a sound core of competitive and loyal anglers. Our challenge in the 63rd season will be to retain this loyal core and for it to build the club to attract new members who will be able to benefit from all this experience as was shown this season.
On the statistics, the club scheduled 45 club matches during the year of which for various reasons four were cancelled with 15 being incorporated in Open and Teams matches. Average club attendance for these matches was 14 recording a total of 7696 fish averaging 188 fish per match with a total weight of 2114lb at 52lb per match. Surprisingly the average attendance per match is identical to last year but there was a significant increase of 76% increase in average fish per match and slightly less of 69% in average weight per match. The last two figures probably could possibly be contributed to the introduction of an 18cm size limit for all matches except the Sea League matches as well as members improvement at catching numbers of fish.
The summer campaign kicked off at Kelling at the beginning of April with yet again the plague of pin whiting still around but surprisingly that was the last match we saw them in the summer. The following match at Bacton saw the first real bass of the summer of 43cm to Tom Gibbs but the numbers of fish were dramatically down. Back on the shingle at the end of April saw the dabs and flounders come on stream which was the trend for the remaining summer club matches with on average the shingle producing the numbers and the sand the quality fish. In early May the bass came on strong with one remarkable match at Cley in excellent bass conditions recording 22 cracking fish as well as Paul Tovell finding the first smoothhound of the season of 62cm. A perfect precursor for the Bass Festival the following week, so we thought but how wrong we were. In total 54 bass were recorded in club matches during the summer which was an increase of 46% on last season. Flounders generated serious points during the summer with stonking 38cm specimens being found by Christian Bulch at Kelling and “Kipper” at Bacton. The only club trophy for the summer was the John Hardingham Summer Accumulator Cup which was taken by Paul Tovell on 429 points from Jeff Stannard on 402 points and Mike Watts on 394 points, all very close!
The major Open event of the summer was the club’s third running of the two day North Norfolk Bass Festival in May which was sponsored by Kelling Heath Holiday Park. This year saw it firmly established as a national event which included the Inaugural UK Ladies Championships and a North Norfolk Juniors Tournament which were together dubbed “A Norfolk Experience” with support from Sea Angler magazine, Tronixpro, Anyfish Anywhere and Sabre Tackle. This popular event attracted 100 anglers from around the country at some stage participating in the event which was a big increase on the previous year. This year the event was staged at Cley & Kelling with each competitor fishing both these venues on alternate days. Altogether 47 bass were recorded which was a significant increase on the 9 recorded for the previous year but still well short of the 94 in the 2013 inaugural event. The Bass Festival champion was Essex man Robert Tuck with two convincing days. Lorraine Perry from Lee-on-Solent was the Ladies champion with our own junior Danny Brown taking the Junior’s Tournament. A highly successful event for which the club can be proud.
The club also ran its annual West Norfolk Challenge Open event during the summer which was a series of 4 matches on the river Ouse at Kings Lynn. This again was not as big as the Bass Festival predominately supported by club members with a few top match anglers from around the country. It was very satisfying to see our own Henry Randell showing his strengths on the river to become this year’s West Norfolk Challenge Champion. As with the previous year Kings Lynn fished poorly with the numbers of flounders and eels well down. The final club summer match was also a Charity Open at Kelling in early September which was run in conjunction with Sabre Tackle in aid of Mundesley Lifeboat. Stephen Adams from Suffolk took the honours helped by a 5lb 10oz bass and £575 was presented to Mundesley Lifeboat.
During the summer the club embarked on its first boat trip of late where a small contingent went out of Brightlingsea on the Sophie Lea. Not a particularly successfully trip with lots of sailing in choppy seas with just a few dogs, rays and small smoothhounds. Highlight of the trip was probably Danny Brown’s ray and Kevin Green’s mackeral.
The winter club matches kicked off at Kelling with an excellent turn out were for once the flat fish prevailed along with the odd bass. The bass made their final appearance on the shingle in late September which were replaced by some quality flounders in early October on the sand at Trimingham. As October progressed dab numbers significantly increased to join the quality flounders on the shingle. A rare visit to Gt. Yarmouth saw the whiting appear in serious numbers along with dabs with Luke Pearson recording highest catch of the season of 67 fish. Although there was plenty of fish and the weather was still warm, match attendance started to decline which was rather worrying for the future of pure club matches although Team and Open matches were fairly well supported. December saw the return of the whiting to the sand and shingle with a lot of small ones and a noticeably reduction of those stonking versions of a few years back.
January saw sea temperatures still relatively high and good bags of dabs and whiting were recorded on the shingle with still just the odd serious whiting. Surprisingly vermin started to become a problem with many shore crabs being brought ashore with the odd edible but a dip in temperatures in February soon sent them packing. In contrast, at the end of the season the sand at Bacton was relatively barren and it took an early bass and a few good flounders to take an end of February match. During the winter the club started up its fortnightly mid-week matches on the shingle and sand, initially on Wednesday nights and then on Friday nights to try and improve participation. These matches attracted the more competitive club members and although attendance was low at the start it improved with the switch to Friday nights. Catch rates and quality of fish benefited from darkness with good results over the 3 hours. Many thanks to Paul Kendrick and Jake Cooper for driving this forward.
The Winter Accumulator Trophy went to Mike Watts with a steady performance of 45lb from John Carter 44lb 9oz and Tony Thomas 43lb. With total weights nearly 3x those of last year demonstrates the quantity of fish now being recorded. The Overall League winner was Mike Watts with 832 points from Tony Thomas 821 and John Carter 774 points. The Ladies Overall League winner was Pam Carter 105 points from Becky Bulch 87 and Adele Smith 59 points. The Juniors Overall League was very close with Luke Brierley on 360 points edging out Danny Brown on 340 with Jack Topping on 100.
During this period the club also ran 4 Open matches some of which were well attended by both club and guest members. The Annual Open and Roy Waller Memorial match in October was moved from Bacton to Kelling due to bad weather and attendance was low comprising mainly of club members with Richard Jacobs from Caister doing the business. The Xmas Fayre and Town Team Challenge was also held at Kelling where an excellent turnout of 35 from around Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire competed. John Smith from Ipswich scooped the prize with over 16lb and 60 fish with Woodbridge taking the town shield. The Rocket House Open at Salthouse which is our only length match again fell foul of poor attendance with just 12 with Paul Harrison from Aldeburgh taking top spot with 1015cm. There was a better attendance of 25 for the New Year Open where John Smith did the double from an almost identical peg with again over 16lb from 59 fish.
In November the club had its now annual trip to Orford and a healthy group of club members enjoyed some relatively healthy sport at what can be a hit or miss venue. Christian Bulch found a nice bass with Keith Morley and Tom Gibbs a good codling with Peter Loke topping the charts with a nice 4lb 6oz specimen and others finding a few dogs. Also invited on the trip were Sea Angler’s Paul Fenech and Lloyd Rogers who put the club firmly on the map with their “Orford Away Day” article in December’s Sea Angler. Many thanks Paul and Lloyd for this.
The club again organised the North Norfolk National Sea League which saw the teams increase to 8 with the inclusion of Avenue Angling Norwich from the East Anglian League, Team Kipper, Team Maver, Charlies Angles and Holt SAC Youths with other teams dropping out or being renamed. All six rounds of the league were held on the Norfolk Norfolk shingle beaches and Bacton. The early rounds saw a number of teams short of members but as the teams got established turnout improved. The champion team was Avenue Angling Norwich who established an early lead and the rest were then trailing in their wake with Avenue Angling & North Norfolk Lads eventually finding the top of the pack spot as sharing runners-up. The club also hosted another outstanding National Sea League Final at Eastbourne where 30 teams from around the country participated. This event was held in atrocious but challenging conditions where over 6000 fish were recorded on day 1 and over 3000 on day 2. Champion team was a new team in Felixstowe’s Team Breakaway and the top team from our local league was North Norfolk Lads in eleventh place. The 2016 Final will be in North Norfolk at the end of November and all 8 of our local teams have qualified to compete.
On the International scene our Henry Randell and Jake Cooper secured a place in the England Youth Team. They fished the Homes in County Wexford Ireland and helped the team to win Gold yet again. Well done Henry and Jake! Henry was also selected as travelling reserve for the England Youth Worlds team fished in Holland and although he won all the practice days bar one when he finished second he was not selected to fish any of the matches. He has however been selected again for the England Youth team to fish the Homes in 2016 in North Norfolk. Well done again Henry!!!. A new club member through the Sea League route is Andy Gallacher who has been selected to fish in the England 2016 Mens Homes team. Well done Andy!
During the year the club’s website has been fully operational with Match Results being weekly updated although entering of Match Reports requires a little bit of enthusiasm, many apologies. The club now has a Facebook page which has been popular for communicating to selected people outside the club. Careful use of this with appropriate links to our website can make this a powerful tool for promoting the club.
At the start of the season the club worked very closely with Sabre Tackle and merging club and Sabre’s league matches worked extremely well for the first half of the season. This year Sabre Tackle for various reasons has decided to go its own way and that collaboration now is at an end. However, this change does not seem to have dented club match turn out with 15 members participating in an end of February match at Bacton on a rather chilly afternoon.
The Annual Accounts will show that this year we were again financially successful. This healthy situation was again primarily due to the excellent raffles we ran during our various events. I would like to again thank John Neave, Ivan Allison, Peter Loke and John Carter for managing these and of course all club members who donated the raffle prizes. More of the same for next season please!
This coming year the club will also be running the 4th North Norfolk Bass Festival which will continue to include the Ladies & Juniors events along with a new Teams of 4 event sponsored by Sheringham Carnival called the Shannock Quads. There has already been a lot of bookings from match anglers who have not fished the event before and Kelling Heath is already fully booked with their assigned short stay units for the event. The annual West Norfolk Challenge at Kings Lynn is already on the stocks and we are starting earlier this year in April to try and take advantage of local crab. This is only the start of the new season and the club has to work out how it is to operate in the future particularly as many club matches are poorly attended. I would like to thank all those loyal members for keeping the club alive and hope to see you all in the coming season.
It is again going to be an interesting season in 2016-17!
2015 AGM ... 2014-15 Chairman’s Report
The 2014-15 season was the 61st year for the club during which it again demonstrated that it is a major player in the Sea Angling scene not only in North Norfolk but throughout the country. Not wanting to repeat myself but it has been a very interesting year for the club and has seen it recognised not just locally but countrywide for its professionalism and for just doing things properly. As with all sport there are lots of politics, Sea Angling is no different particularly on our stretch of coast but I am pleased to report that the club has kept its head down and ploughed a straight furrow, avoiding all the associated confrontations during the year.
At the start of the year the club was ticking over nicely with the usual band of loyal members. They know who they are and I would like to thank them for their dedicated support which has kept the club going through those lean years. However, as the year progressed the membership became significantly more healthy particularly with the new membership from what is quaintly known as the “Sabre crowd”, I hope they don’t mind being referred to as this. I would like to thank Christian Bulch for all his effort in promoting the club from his Sabre Tackle business and encouraging new members to join. All this has resulted in an excellent membership of 59 at the end of the season of which 3 are Ladies and 5 Juniors of which one is a young Lady which is probably a first for the club. In comparison, the final membership for 2013-14 was 41 with 3 Ladies and 4 Juniors so a significant improvement on last year particularly as a lot of those members did not re-join.
On the statistics, the club scheduled 42 club matches during the year of which for various reason one had to be postponed and two cancelled with 10 being incorporated in Open and Teams matches. Average club attendance for these matches was 14 recording a total of 4212 fish averaging108 fish per match with a total weight of 1262lb at 32lb per match. This constitutes a 40% increase over last year in average attendance coupled with a 42% increase in average fish per match and just 31% in average weight per match. The last two figures probably confirm our findings that the quality of fish this year has not been quite as good as previous but we are probably just a little bit better at catching them.
The summer campaign kicked off at Kelling at the beginning of April with the plague of pin whiting still around but they soon disappeared as the sea temperature rose. At the end of April bass came on stream with Kevin Green picking up the first of 47cm at Bacton followed by 4 to Keith Morley the following week at Cley and then in mid-June one of 51cm to Peter Morse and heaviest of the year. A total of 28 bass were recorded during the summer but these were eclipsed at the end of May when the hounds made a brief appearance at Salthouse. Here Paul Tovell managed to find 4 of them with a combined weight of 21lb 11oz and the heaviest just over 10lb. The flounders were the most consistent fish throughout the summer with numerous fish over 30cm particularly at Bacton where John Neave found two stonking 41cm specimens on consecutive sessions at this venue. Good weights throughout the summer which only really started to drop off in late July and August. The only club trophy for the summer was the John Hardingham Summer Accumulator Cup which was taken by Ivan Allison on 252 points from John Neave on 245 points and Tony Thomas on 242 points.
During the summer the club ran a new Evening League of 6 matches on the estuary at Gt. Yarmouth on Tuesday evenings. Not a large turn out but 13 club members were involved at some stage during the series. Small codling were predominant at the start of the series giving some interesting sport and as these disappeared it became mainly an eel bashing contest. A very close competition with Tony Thomas just taking the honours with 79 points from PaulTovell on 77 points and Richard Ellis on 71 points.
A major Open event of the summer was the club’s second running of the two day North Norfolk Bass Festival in May which was sponsored by Kelling Heath Holiday Park. Once again enormously successful with 72 anglers from around the country at some stage participating which was a slight increase on the previous year. The whole event was staged at Kelling and although only 9 bass were caught compared to 94 the previous year the short fall was more than compensated for by other species which were recorded in numbers. Champion of the Festival was our own Mike Watts who even found a decent hound on his first cast on the first day. Heaviest bass also went to a clubman in Paul Harvey who also found it on his first cast on the second day.
The club also ran another Open event during the summer in the West Norfolk Challenge which was a series of 4 matches on the river Ouse at Kings Lynn. Not as big as the Bass Festival predominately supported by club members with a few anglers from around the country one of which in Richard Burt from Clacton became the West Norfolk Challenge Champion. For once at Kings Lynn fishing was poor with the numbers of flounders and eels well down on previous years.
The winter club matches kicked off at Kelling for a change with an excellent turn out boosted by the Sabre Tackle boys coming on board. Richard Ellis took the match with a bucketful of flounders and a bass demonstrating that the summer species were still very active. This was then surpassed the following week at Salthouse with more stonking flounders being caught along with 9 bass with 4 of them going to Tom Gibbs and the biggest of 49cm to Mike Watts. This was the end of the quality fish as the remainder of September and October produced no serious fish except for Henry Randell who at Bacton recorded the first codling, one of 41cm, in a club match for 3 years. October saw the first club trip to Orford organised by Tom Gibbs (thanks Tom, pity you could not go) and with rays and dogs coming ashore it made a change to catch different species. This looks like being an annual event from now on. The number of fish then started to improve as November progressed with dabs first and then some quality whiting towards the end of the month along with some more small codling. Quality whiting certainly remained around during December although they were not of the standard of previous year and these were augmented by large numbers of good dabs.
January saw the number of quality whiting drop off dramatically but catches still remained high as dabs came in to fill the gap. The weather then turned decidedly cold as well as producing some rough seas and big swells which certainly put off the flat fish with reduced numbers during February and early March. By then the whiting had all but gone but a return of a few codling at Bacton and Kelling was welcomed with Ian Gedney picking up a 50cm specimen at Bacton and the heaviest of the year. Flounders during this period were surprising scarce with just one or two a match but this did change in the last match at Bacton although for once they were not the cracking variety. This final match saw the Winter Accumulator Trophy go to Tony Thomas with 20lb from John Carter 17lb 9oz and Peter Morse 17lb 3oz. The match also determine the Overall League winner in Mike Watts 489 points from Tony Thomas 476 and Ivan Allison 454 points.
During this period the club also ran 4 Open matches which were well attended by club members as they also included a club match but did not attract many other anglers although there were some. The Annual Open and Roy Waller Memorial match in October was taken back to Bacton were a good field of 36 participated with Henry Randell doing the business assisted by that special codling although he really did not need it. The Xmas Fayre and Town Team Challenge was held at Kelling where a turn out of just 21 from around Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire competed. Mark Gooch from Lowestoft won the day with over 7lb of fish and Holt took the Town Challenge by the narrowest of margins of one point. The Rocket House Open at Salthouse which is our only length match also fell foul of poor attendance with just 12 with Mike Watts narrowly taking top spot with 915cm. Only slightly better attendance of 14 braved the weather for the New Year Open which was unfortunate as there was serious numbers of fish predominantly good quality dabs with clubman Keith Morley doing the business with just under 12lb from 44 fish.
The club again organised the North Norfolk National Sea League which was boost to 7 teams with the inclusion of two Sabre Tackle Teams (A & B). The six rounds were planned to be all run on the Norfolk Norfolk shingle beaches and Bacton but unusually this year two fell foul of the weather. The December round had to be switched to Gorleston and the February round was seriously effected by the weather with attendance and fish numbers well down. The champion team was again Avenue Angling for the 3rd year in a row with North Norfolk Lads runners up. The club also hosted another outstanding National Sea League Final at Cley, Salthouse and Kelling where 27 teams from around the country participating. Champion team was again Worthing’s Prime Angling for the fourth year in a row and the top local team was North Norfolk Lads in seventh place. The 2015 Final will be at Eastbourne at the end of November and all 7 of our local teams have qualified to compete.
On the International scene our “young” Henry Randell secured his place in the England Youth Team. He fished his first International in the Homes at Montrose in Scotland and helped the team win Gold which is the first time the England Youth team has won Gold in the Homes. Well done Henry! Henry has also been selected for the England Youth team to fish this year’s Homes in County Wexford Ireland in July as well as being nominated as Youth reserve for the England Worlds in Holland. In addition, new club member Jake Cooper has also been selected for the Homes Youth team, good luck to both of them.
On other non-club scene a number of club members participated in the SAMF Combined Armed Forces Challenge match of 4 teams of 15 anglers which was held at Kelling in December 2014. Richard Ellis, Peter Loke, Henry Randell, Tony Thomas and Mike Watts fished for SAMF whereas Tom Gibbs, Kevin Green and Willy Groombridge fished for the Police. SAMF took the honours with the Police fourth but everyone was a winner as all received a medal which prompted Tom to comment “First time I got a medal for coming last”.
During the year the club finally had the new website operational and it has been a struggle getting everything as we want and the pure Match Results facility still has to be modified but all facilities are working. This should now give use a tool to seriously promote the club and help communication with our members. This has been helped by the old domain name being released to us as well as our web designer elevating the club up the search engines pecking order, many thanks Danny! The club also needs to investigate how Facebook can help us also achieve this but seeing what it can do to other organisations we need be very very careful and seriously manage how we present the club in such a very open environment.
The last few matches of the season has also incorporated the Sabre Tackle Winter/Spring League which with all the Sabre lads and gals also being Holt SAC members has seriously boosted match numbers. In addition, this has allowed all Holt SAC members to participate in the Sabre League which must be a win win for all. It is unfortunate that these matches have not been particularly good for fish numbers and hope this does not deter new members from continuing with this collaboration. It is currently the plan to run the Sabre Tackle Summer League under the Holt SAC banner and the Summer Accumulator beach matches will form the basis of that League. Such involvement should give us serious numbers at our club matches which could again make us serious contenders in the Sea Angler Clubman League. I seriously hope that we can manage all this as one organisation and avoid any us and them situation arising so that we can all benefit from this as one club.
The Annual Accounts show that this year was also financially successful for the club. This healthy situation was primarily due to the excellent raffles we ran during our various events. I would like to thank John Neave and Ivan Allison for managing these and of course all club members who donated the raffle prizes. More of the same for next season please!
This coming year the club will also be club running the 3rd North Norfolk Bass Festival which will now incorporate the Inaugural UK Ladies Championships as well as the North Norfolk Juniors Tournament. We also have a number of sponsors for this event and there has been a lot of interest with bookings already coming in. The annual West Norfolk Challenge at Kings Lynn is already on the stocks and this could be even better this year without any current competition for bank space. There has also been interest to run the small Evening Series at Gt. Yarmouth as last year and the club has to decide if it wants to continue with this. With more new members coming aboard including Ladies and Juniors there is now plenty of scope within reason to widen our activity and maybe we may just get that Kayak division being set up.
We could also be in for yet another very interesting year in 2015-16.