About this website

Thurne Fisheries website is designed to advise on issues related to the angling and access to the Upper Thurne Broads in respect of seasonal wildfowl refuges and limited access to Horsey Mere for pike fishing.

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Background

A little bit of background information

The Upper Thurne Broads and rivers stand tall in the history of pike angling in the UK, Horsey Mere in particular having its place in Broad’s piking history, having produced the original Broads caught UK record pike back in February 1967. The captor at that time was Peter Hancock, he and his fish at the weight of 40lbs, are shown in the picture on the home page.

Whilst Horsey Mere may be the ‘jewel’ the Upper Thurne Broads at Hickling and Martham have been the secondary venues that pike anglers have targetted for many years and there are many well documented captures of big pike spreading back over the past 50 years with anglers like Dennis Pye, Edwin Vincent, Frank Wright, Reg Sandys and Bill Giles being some of more notable and documented captors of a serious number of pike in excess of 20lbs and in deed many in excess of 30lbs.

In the later years much of the attention switched to the North and South Martham Broads and it was in the general area of these two Broads that Fickling and Amies were to capture their record pike.

Modern day inspiration
30lb Horsey Mere pike
It was the success of these anglers that inspire the many modern day pikers who come to the Upper Thurne in expectation of the chance of catching their own leviathan. The more success of those have been the likes of Neville Fickling and Derek Amies. These two anglers managed to underline the significance of the Thurne as a truly important pike fishery by going on in successive seasons to push the record for a UK pike up to 42lbs 2oz. Fickling having caught his fish at 41lb 6oz, Amies at 41lb 8oz between 1983 and 1985 with Amies taking the last Broads record at 42lbs 2oz in August 1985.

With the many other excellent fish into mid to high thirties supported by many 20lb plus pike during this heady period, it would seem that everything was great and the fishing was easy, how wrong could we all have been to believe it would last! The Summer of 1989 was to change so much of the scene in the Thurne Broads as the old advisory returned with a bang, Prymnesium struck with a vengeance that year and many of the specimen pike were destroyed literally overnight!

This problem was not an unknown one, but coming during a period of such phenomenal pike fishing it was hard to take and many pike anglers left expecting that everything was lost and the Thurne would never be a shadow of the fishery it was in the heady 80’s. Those that remained, the local pikemen have over the past twenty years worked to try and drive an improvement in water quality and gain control of the suspected root cause of the Prymnesium, the deep bore land drainage pumping done on the Brograve Levels.

Wider concerns

bittern at home in the reedbeds

Anglers were not alone in their concerns for the future of the Upper Thurne, locals conservation groups, wildlife organisations, NWT, English Nature, BA etc and the main recreation users were all debating this same issue. It was some collective think by these groups that eventually saw the forming of a united agreement for a policy of restoration of the Upper Thurne. From this collective the Upper Thurne Working Group was formed and it has tasked itself with driving forward change in policies and practices in the Thurne catchment that can influence a restoration to more typical Broads environment and habitat. Angling has served its time in that group and this web site is an ally in their management policy strategy to improve both quality and access for users on the Thurne Broads.

The area is also a key over-wintering site for thousands of wildfowl and as a site of such importance both above and below the surface we are keen to see that in times of considerable global environmental change, that all the resident and transient wildlife get the best opportunity to thrive. Whilst angling has perhaps been guilty in the past, of turning a blind eye to general wild life conservation, in favour of our want to catch specimen pike, we have to take a more considerate approach to use of such space. Were we to continue to take the single minded view, the result could have been a complete attempt at exclusion of water users throughout the Winter months on these important Broads to further reduce the disturbance pressure on the wildfowl.

shoveller comes in to landHowever through the work done within the UTWG and by the Broads Angling Strategy Group (BASG) to influence and support the authorities that can hopefully drive change in the Upper Thurne! We already hear that the policy for pumping of ground water on the Brograve Levels into the Broads is to be reconsidered, so there is some hope. Similarly, that same partnership working is paying dividends in providing initiatives that many would never have expected to see. Whilst anglers are being asked to avoid specified areas on Hickling Broad to minimise disturbance of the wildfowl, the long term attraction of Horsey Mere’s mythical monsters, which has for more than 20 years, driven anglers to poach it during the Winter close season, will now open to all throughout the winter on a permit system access trial, more of which you can find explained on the Horsey Angling page.

Whilst the whole of the Broads will ultimately be subject to the rising sea levels resulting from our planets global climate change, we have a duty to maintain and enhance our environment for as long as is practical, the time in which that will be possible is unpredictable, we owe ourselves the responsibility to try though! By observing the guidelines you will find throughout this web site can be your contribution to that effort. You are at liberty though to contribute more if you wish.