Mackerel sport so tasty

Mackerel - those short-season, succulent, sea fish that are regarded as most vital oily health foods - are shoaling in abundance off the north Norfolk coast.

Mackerel - those short-season, succulent, sea fish that are regarded as most vital oily health foods - are shoaling in abundance off the north Norfolk coast.

Local crab boat skippers have spotted at least three giant congregations of this all-purpose species, valued highly to produce tasty dishes of grilled, smoked, steamed, fried or more exotically served with various sauces under the more skilful culinary arts.

Mackerel may also be sliced or used whole as bait to tempt bigger prey such as bass, dogfish and even freshwater pike.

This therefore is one of the most versatile of anglers' quarry off the local shoreline, writes Roy Webster.

So far only a few of the gregarious fish have come within beach casting range but many have been taken from Cromer Pier and by boat anglers a few hundred yards out.

A spokesman at Sheringham's Outdoor Man fishing tackle shop predicted that anglers casting feathered lures or bright spinners from the shingle will be rewarded.

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In the meantime bass are the main quarry with a few decent fish reported from Cromer Pier, schoolies to 4lb from the shore but double-figure specimens falling to boat anglers.

Unfortunately no bass were in evidence during the Holt Angling Club open event at Kelling where Keith Morley headed the field with 2lb 2oz of dabs and flounders. Richard Ives was next with 1lb 8oz then Jock Goudie with 1lb 7oz.

On the freshwater carp lakes the Stalham Club's midweek event at Holly Farm was run by Alec Watson with a stupendous haul of 152lb 14oz mainly small carp averaging 5lbs apiece. The next two were Roy Turton with 90lb 8oz and R Austrin, 75lb.

The club's Sunday outing to Glen Mere resulted in D Agass 43lb 8oz, J Hirie 35lb 4oz, D Paynter 24lb 12oz.

The Aylsham and District Club at Glen Mere resulted in Mick Shore 50lb 8oz, D Seaman 39lb 8oz, C Beales 34lb 12oz.

Blickling Lake, the home of giant bream, quality tench and legions of roach as well as a dozen monster carp reopens on Saturday.

Permits for this splendid National Trust fishery are issued on the bank but it should be noted that keep nets are banned.

Later in the year it is intended to run two open competitions to raise funds for a memorial installed on the banks following the sad loss of the long serving fishery warden David Cooper.

The big carp enthusiasts have been bagging up at Gimingham Lakes where a restocking of a large number of 20lb plus specimens has boosted sport.

One specimen over 30lb was heaved out in the past seven days as well as tench to 7lb.

However, it should be noted that night fishing is no longer available there and the owner, Brownie Gotts, explained he had lost so many big carp through night poaching. His opening hours were now 6.30am-7.30pm.

At Cobble Acre Lakes, Aylsham angler Shaun Rebbeck bagged three 20lb plus mirror carp from the specimen lake while catches of silverfish from Adam's Lake have kept anglers coming back for more.

Chapel Road Lake, Roughton, has produced excellent sport and on Sunday it was one of the few venues protected from the south-westerly gales while producing numerous carp to the high teens.

Gunton Lake near Cromer is on form for its main species bream with fish up to 8lb reported.

At the St Georges Fishery, East Ruston, local rod John Locke had tench to 6lb 12oz and bream to 8lb as well as numerous roach and rudd.

On all these waters prospects are rated excellent for the weekend and beyond.