Angling: Bowyer buys French fishery as Big Jack’s goes on the market

Freddie Sandford with a couple of 2lb perch taken from Poole Bridge Farm.
Freddie Sandford with a couple of 2lb perch taken from Poole Bridge Farm.
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I think that it is fairly well known that a couple of ex-Leeds United players are very keen anglers and they spent most of their time away from the football pitch in another environment – at the waterside.

In his days at Leeds – over a decade ago – Lee Bowyer lived in Linton, on the outskirts of Wetherby and only a few yards away from the River Wharfe.

The Leeds club do own a half-mile stretch of the Wharfe at this point and he could often be spotted on its banks when in pursuit of the resident shoals of chub and barbel.

Another favourite spot of his was a few miles downstream at Boston Spa.

Little has been heard of Lee since he left the Leeds club but he is now back in the angling headlines with the news that he has just purchased his own fishery, a lake in France.

It would seem that Lee has now joined the carp fraternity as it was announced recently that he has bought the very popular La Fritterie lake in the Marne Valley for an undisclosed sum.

Over the past few years he has been a regular visitor to this venue and he has caught carp up to the weight of 63lb-14oz.

Whether he will take up residence in the area and run it himself or appoint a fishery manager is, at the moment, unknown.

But being in charge of a 12-acre lake is going to keep someone very busy.

Lee is the second football star to invest in a lake in France; not so long ago Everton’s Tony Hirbert purchased Lac de Premiere. The other ex-Leeds player in the news is big Jack Charlton who is a fishing fanatic.

You may remember that when he left English football he was then appointed manager of the Irish team where he was successful and quickly became a national hero.

Such was his popularity that he never had to buy a drink in an Irish pub again, everything is on the house! Or so we’re told.

In this period he also carried on with his love of game fishing and he eventually bought, at a knock-down price, a three bedroom dormer bungalow on the banks of the River Fox in County Mayo – my favourite river in the country.

And for the past couple of decades he has used it as a holiday home.

Jack is now in his late seventies and he decided that it is time to wind down a bit so he has put the property on the market at an asking price of £150,000.

And the local agent in charge of the sale reckons that Jack used to cast into the river from his front doorstep.

Sadly this time of year also seems to bring with it bad news. I have to report on the passing away – at the age of 87 – of Jack Thomas, the brother of ex-world champion David.

Jack was a keen club angler all of his life but his main claim to fame came later in his in life when he won the NFA’s Veterans’ Championship on the Great Ouse.

His last thoughts were for anglers with his final request being that a plate collection be held at his funeral with the proceeds going to the Get Hooked On Fishing charity.