After 16 hard fought qualifying matches that kicked off on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in early July, the full line up for this year’s final is now in place.
In total, 58 of the finest pairs of canal fishermen from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland will do battle on the towpath of the Erewash Canal on Saturday 21 October. Here's the full list of the pairs who are lining up on the bank.
The Erewash Canal runs from Langley Mill basin in the north downstream to the confluence with the Trent at Trent Lock. The section of the canal being used for the canal pairs final runs from Dockholme Lock to a point upstream of Trent Lock.
The fishing rights from Dockholme to Long Eaton are rented to Long Eaton Federation while below Long Eaton Lock, the fishery is controlled by Long Eaton Victoria. Their long serving secretary, David Kent will be helping running things on the day.
The lower reaches of the canal suffered a catastrophic pollution back in 2012 wiping out several tonnes of fish although many were rescued. Many pundits thought that the canal would never recover. Thanks to the hard work of the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency, the fishery has been restocked. Many local anglers feel that the fishing is as good today as it was before the pollution.
Picking a winner from the 58 pairs coming under starters orders is no easy task. When local up and coming youngster Ben Sharratt was put in the spot he selected (in no particular order) Tony Barker and Mick Hatchard, Scott Geens and Dan Ashington, Darren Massey and James South, Neil and Paul Turner with himself and Jason Cunningham as an each way bet for a top ten finish.
Two pairs of former champions, Wigan maestro’s Dave Edgerley and Kevin Clarke along with Simon Preece and Simon Mottram have again made it through and surely cannot be discounted. The 2016 champions Simon Nickless and Steve Dudley were a surprising casualty this time round, failing to qualify for the Erewash but doubtless they will be back stronger and more determined than ever in 2018. But the chances are, bearing in mind past record for predictions, it will be a pair not mentioned in this article who storm to victory on the big day.
We've a competition on our Canal & River Trust Angling Facebook page.
You need to select your choice of winning pair. The prize for this is a copy of Mark Wintle’s fantastic book, 'Ivan Marks and the Likely Lads'. Another excellent fishing book, 'The Rising Antenna' by Jim Baxter’s is on offer to the person who gets closest to estimating the highest individual weight caught by an adult angler on the day.
Your entries must be in by 3.00 pm on Saturday 21 October.
Running concurrently alongside the canal pairs final will be the junior canal championship event. The competitors will be pegged further upstream on the Nottingham Anglers Association waters at Ilkeston. The 15 or so junior competitors will be fishing from 11.15 to 3.15.
Why not follow the days events on our Canal & River Trust Angling Facebook page live. We'lll be interviewing anglers at draw time, the junior competitors on the bank, part of the weigh in will almost be live as will the results presentation. Some guest anglers will be joining us throughout the day. It will be the next best thing to being there yourself.
The team undertake a diverse range of work including looking after the Trust's £40 million worth of fish stocks, managing agreements with over 250 different angling clubs and helping more people, especially youngsters, take up angling on the canal. Follow this blog to keep updated with the thoughts and work of the team.See more blogs from this author