Fishing: SWEET AND STOUR BITE.
SLING your hook in Throop Fishery, near Bournemouth, if top-quality sport with specimen coarse fish in 11 miles of the famous Dorset Stour is on your winter holiday wish list.
Chub run to over 7lb, barbel to 14lb-plus, with bream of 10lb, tench to 6lb and roach of 2lb or bigger. And there's a good chance of picking up middleweight carp and pike. What more do you want?
But the fickle Stour, with fluctuating flows, depth changes, pools and varying widths that test casting skills, is not an easy touch.
Keith Handy, an SP chub-fishing enthusiast from Goring, West Sussex, tackled up in what he thought looked a promising pitch on a day trip to Throop. "When the fishery manager called to check permits he reckoned I would struggle to get even a single bite in my chosen spot", recalls Keith. "But within 30 minutes I landed a beautiful 6lb 12oz chub and telephoned the manager, who weighed and photographed the fish before it went back". Keith, a 55-year-old quality control manager, beat his personal best by 1lb10oz with a feeder rod and a halibut pellet bait hair-rigged on a size 8 hook. He wins a Borak rear-drag fixed-spool reel, supplied with two spools, in The SP competition.
Throop is controlled by Hampshire's Ringwood and District AA. Day tickets pounds 8 or pounds 45 for week, sold by local tackle shops. Day fishing only.
WIGAN Pier is a great day out but no place to try for a prize-winning sea bass because the family attraction, set in eight acres, is beside the redeveloped Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
That's why engineer Brian Taylor, 45, a member of Wigan's Hare and Hounds Sea Angling Club, made a 550-mile round trip to Weymouth to join skipper Ivan Wellington for a day trip.
He cast a mackerel bait and lured a fine 12lb bass to win a world-famous Shakespeare Ugly Stik 6.5ft boat rod.
HANDY MAN: Keith with chub