Holt Sea Angling Club is pleased to report that the inaugural North Norfolk Bass Festival fished last weekend was an outstanding success, with 64 anglers fishing and enjoying some quality fishing. The Festival consisted of two separate matches fishing the beaches at Kelling and Salthouse with two sections at each venue on both days. Headquarters for the event was the Kelling Heath Holiday Park who was also major sponsors for the event. Holt Sea Angling Club would like to thank Kelling Heath along with Hunstanton Tackle for their support in making the Festival a big success.
Saturday started in very calm bright conditions with a moderate South Westerly and a good ebbing tide. Sections A & B were at Salthouse and this proved to be where the bulk of the bass showed up, with the lower peg numbers in particular being more successful. Sections C & D were at Kelling where the fishing was tougher with just one bass found at the bottom of section C and the remainder at the high end of section D. Dabs and some good flounders put in appearance throughout the match with the bass coming near the start and towards the end when there was a good tidal flow.
Bass winner on the day was Suffolk’s Ian Bowell who was really putting his continental style to good use as well giving the locals a lesson by finding five good bass for a total of 6lb 5oz. Next and flying the flag for Norfolk was Peter Loke who snuck out two bass in the final hour weighing 3lb 1oz. Final podium bass spot went to another Suffolk man Dave Cook with two bass totalling 2lb 9oz. Ian also took the “All Fish” top spot with a total bag of 8¼lb 4oz followed by a Cambridge ex-Norfolk boy Mike Watts with 12 fish weighing a total of 4lb 9oz. Third place went to another Suffolk man, Mark Pinder with 3lb 10oz. Mark, Ian Bowell and Peter shared the heaviest bass prize with a fish of 1lb 11oz. All these winners came from Salthouse and predominantly from section A, but in contrast, Suffolk man Steve Durrant took the heaviest flatfish from Kelling, a 1lb flounder measuring 34cm.
Day two saw conditions improve significantly with an overnight moderate, West North West wind producing a perfect bass sea with a slight swell under an overcast sky. Section placings were the same as previous day at both venues but with slight adjustments to the pegging after feedback from the first day. This contributed significantly to a reversal of fortunes for the two beaches with Kelling producing the vast majority of good bass. This beach also produced the heaviest bass of the Festival, a fish of 3lb 13oz that fell to Mark Pinder on his very first cast from a low-end peg. As with the previous day, the majority of the bass came at the start of the ebb and towards the end. Dabs and more good flounders provided sport throughout the day. Unlike the previous day Salthouse section A produced just four bass whereas the other end of the beach, section B, 11 bass were recorded. Fishing was more upbeat in the other two sections at Kelling with section C producing 22 bass and in section D an astonishing 33 bass were landed.
Ian Bowell followed up his day one success to top the list with eight bass weighing in at 9¼lb, followed by Suffolk man Matt Lay-Flurrie whose five bass weighed 7lb 13oz. Nick Haward finished in third spot when two cracking fish in the final hour topped up his bag to four totalling 6lb 12oz. The “All Fish” winner was grand slam Ian Bowell with 13 fish for a total of 11lb 2oz, followed by Dave Cook with a creditable 24 fish total of 11lb 2oz. Final podium slot in this category went to Mark Pinder with 12 fish for 9lb 8oz. The heaviest bass of the day and of the Festival was Mark’s 3lb 13oz fish that also won him a “Short Break” holiday at Kelling Heath Holiday Park. The heaviest flat of the day went to Matt Lay-Flurrie at Kelling with a stonking 1lb 7oz (39cm) flounder.
This was an outstanding event where Bass Festival really did mean Bass with a capital “B”. A healthy 22 on the first day with just 3 undersize ,less than 36cm, and 72 on the second day with just six undersize. The smallest bass of the weekend was 29cm and all the sizeable bass were fine specimens demonstrating we do have quality fish for match angling on the North Norfolk coast. There was extremely positive feedback from all after the event with just one question being asked; What’s the date for next year’s event? Looks like we have another annual fixture for the match calendar on the North Norfolk coast and Holt Sea Angling Club would like to thank all those match anglers for supporting and participating in the event and hope to see you at the 2014 Bass Festival.