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The monthly newsletter of Ixworth Angling Club

Welcome to our January/February 2010 issue and may we firstly wish all our members

a very happy and peaceful New Year.

Writing now it seems hard to believe how long it is since we produced a new issue of Heron News. Too long in fact but on the plus side it does mean this issue should prove to be an interesting albeit somewhat lengthy read.


Update of our trapping of Red Signal Crayfish

Between August and October 2009 780kg of crayfish were removed by the professional crayfish trappers from Sussex. In addition we removed 5200 using our own traps over the period July to September 2009. Given that the 780 kg of crayfish removed were a mixture of small and large it is difficult to convert this weight to a precise number, but it is estimated that it equates to a at least 35,000 with the majority this time being removed from the Micklemere stretch. Also interesting to note that the Sussex guys reported that less crayfish were trapped from the Commister Lane stretch than in 2008. This may just be a fluke result, but equally it could indicate the trapping along this section is starting to have a noticeable impact.

In 2008 we removed a total of 54,000 so sadly as yet we have a long way to go before the removal rates start to decline. How long this is going to take is unknown. All we do know for sure is that continuing trapping will help reduce the impact these crayfish have on the fish stocks, and importantly the survival of fish eggs and young fish.

Finally a new fact has come to light regarding female crayfish caught carrying eggs under their tail flap. Apparently eggs being carried when caught in November or December are generally carried until early March when they start to hatch out. Then the female continues to carry the baby crayfish for a further 2 to 3 weeks before they are released. The female and/or males then promptly turn on the babies just released and start to eat those who do not escape and seek shelter. What you might describe as the ultimate in cannibal creatures!!


Improvements in the numbers and sizes of Chub and Perch

The Environment Agency has recently confirmed a suspected spin off plus from the river being infested with crayfish. These are being eaten by Chub and Perch (plus Pike as

well when times are hard for them) and these species of fish are growing quicker and larger. So far this season I have personally caught eight Perch over one and a half pounds,

one over two pounds. Similar large Perch have been reported caught by many other members of the club.

Now is the ideal time to fish for the elusive Chub along the Micklemere and it is a certainty that any caught are going to be far from small! OK it is very cold at present and the river may well be found flowing very fast, but rather than staying inside in the warm why not venture out for a Chub fishing session. Crazy idea, absolutely not, the Chub will be there to be caught. Please see the article later in this issue with some hot tips on how to catch these Chub.


The Greyhound Annual Christmas Charity Match held Sunday13th December 2009

Just in case you are one of the few who do not already know, the outcome of the day was

a major disappointment. Despite the very determined efforts of the 14 anglers taking part

not  one fish was actually caught and landed. As a result it was agreed to re-run the match

on Sunday 24th January 2010.

Sadly the number of anglers able to fish for “take 2” of the 2009 Christmas Charity Match was only eight. At the start there was a high degree of confidence that fish would not only be caught but in good numbers. As time passed this level of confidence dropped rapidly despite yours truly repeat ably saying “keep the faith, think fish” etc. The result,

not one single fish caught and landed again!! Put another way fish 2 anglers 0.

It has to be said that this the first time we have landed up without a winner of this charity match and hopefully it will be the last. Despite this we would like to thank everyone who supported this match by sponsoring the efforts of the anglers trying to catch fish or buying raffle tickets. Special thanks must also go to Colin and Sue Pearce at the Greyhound who laid on the most welcome and delicious Buffet Lunch for us after the match in December. Apologies must go to Colin for not having a match winner for him to present the trophy to, but as all regulars taking part in this match know it is not the first time it has happened. None the less we did raise £356 for Ixworth Court and this money will pay for a much needed new Colour LCD TV for a particular group of elderly residents. I am advised by the manager Joanne that this new TV should be purchased, installed and in use during March.    

Many thanks again to everyone who helped make this gift to the residents of Ixworth Court possible.

Peter Hunwick



2009 Environment Agency Fish Survey and Final Report

This was carried out between 17th August and 26th August 2009 and was the first full survey carried out since 1995. The results show that there has been a decline in overall fish stocks, but not along all the stretches of the river members can fish.

Surprisingly the Micklemere stretch gave the poorest results, but having discussed this point directly with the fisheries team involved this could be very much down to conditions along the 100 metre stretch surveyed that made successful electropole fishing far from easy.

The best results came from the Commister Lane Match stretch, albeit the figures were significantly lower than the last full survey.           

Without reading the report carefully it is easy to conclude fishing prospects for the future are very grim. However having read this report very carefully and also discussed the report findings in depth with the head of the EA Fisheries section my conclusion is that our fish stocks are not necessarily as depleted as the report suggests. This was not of course conveyed to person I was speaking to, and upon pressing him for information as to when the promised restocking recommended was going to commence I was advised that it most probably would not start until late autumn. There is however a chance that

some restocking would be carried out before the new season starts.



How to catch the chub in our river, or put more correctly some personal ideas on the subject based upon my own experiences and successes in the past


Rule 1- Approach the chosen section of the river as quietly as possible. Stating the obvious but any shortcomings on this point is a guarantee of zero Chub being caught.

Rule 2 - Accept that you may be in for a long wait and that action may not come until the last hour or even less of daylight.

Rule 3 – Forget all about needing to make up expensive cocktails for baits. By all means

do so if you have tried more conventional baits in the past without success, e.g. bread paste, bread flake, large worms, largest number of maggots you can secure to a hook,

and an old favourite, soft smelly cheese and bread paste.

Rule 4 – Do not use a too small hook or too low breaking strain line. Personally use a size 12 or size 14 to 4 lb line.

Rule 5 – Forget all about lobbing in balls of ground bait. Feed your swim with regular small offerings of your chosen hook bait in a manner that it drops into the area you feel may hold a Chub.

As to the tackle set up to be used this really is a matter of personal choice. Some anglers

will try to convince you that ledgering of some shape or form is the only way to catch Chub. All I can say on the subject is that I have caught Chub in our river using ledger rig set ups and float rig set ups, and both have been very successful. However out of choice

I prefer the float rig set ups as there is really something magical about seeing the float disappear slowly in a manner that spells a Chub before you even strike and hopefully successfully hook this amazingly powerful fish. It is however my intention to try a rolling float ledger rig set up the next time I go out specifically to try and catch a Chub. Basically this involves using 3 large shot to hold the bait on the bottom such that it will roll along very slowly by slightly holding back at intervals as the float and line flows along such that the speed is somewhat slower than the prevailing water flow of the river.


Hopefully the news and bits and pieces in this newsletter will be found of interest.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to submit an article for future issues.

Many Thanks

Peter Hunwick






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