Who will be the first to qualify for the 2016 Canal Pairs Final?

In this light hearted look forward to Saturday’s upcoming canal pairs qualifier, local bookmaker Side Bet and the Trust’s John Ellis give us their predictions.

Canal Pairs winners 2015

Side Bet’s opening remarks

Some say canal fishing is finished, but when the opening round of this competition on 2nd July is a sell-out, weeks before the event, there is simply no debate. Hodnet Angling Club are to host the opener and there is fantastic array of other venues making it a truly international event.

Predicting the winner

Who is going to get through on the Shroppy? My spies have obviously made the two Simon’s red hot favourites, as long as Motty doesn’t go for a swim or decides he needs to resurrect his bloodworm scraping skills. The venue lends itself to all-out attack whether it be chub, perch, bream, skimmers, hybrids or a pop-eyed species that I call ‘pommies’. In fact Motty had 30lb of these ‘pommies’ not too long ago, some call them hybrids, some silver bream, some unmentionable names, but to me they are ‘pommies’. They are also in Rudyard Lake and I’ve seen them in the Erewash Canal. Most think they are silver bream but they are nothing like any silver bream I’ve caught.

2015 champions sure to go close

History has a habit of repeating itself in match fishing and the 2015 champions Dave Edgerley and Kevin Clarke are sure to go close for the’Wigwammers’. Anyway, best of luck to all, the odd big fish here and there will make all the difference to qualifying. In reality there is no betting on the winners but the biggest moaner in the match is sure to get a mention. The bookies have noticed, though, that one half of the Scissor Sisters has decided to enter!

John Ellis, our national fisheries & angling manager gives us his view:

Beware of making predictions

Winston Churchill is said to have advised avoiding making predictions, particularly those about the future. My late father often advised me; ‘son, try and avoid upsetting in print anyone you don’t know personally’. So I will, on this particular occasion, ignore that great war leader’s sensible advice but heed Dad’s advice and set out my apologies in advance to anyone who decides to take umbrage regarding my bold predictions.

After all, this article is nothing more than a light hearted look forward to Saturday’s upcoming first canal pairs qualifier. Isn’t it fantastic that it sold out weeks ago? Of the 50 pairs coming under starters order, I feel that no less than 49 pairs have a genuine chance of making the final.

Eating humble pie

For those pairs who I have predicted won’t qualify at the first time of asking, I would have this to say ‘let your fishing do the talking, the results won’t lie (unless Terry Nutt accidentally adds them up wrongly) and I will duly eat humble pie in the Castle pub afterwards. That’s assuming they serve such a dish at the match headquarters. I don’t suppose they serve lamprey pie around Market Drayton any more, you have to be royalty to be served such a dish these days

Bold prediction

The two Simons (Motty and Preecey) might well be Side Bets’ top tip but in an era of shocks I am going to predict that they actually miss out on qualifying this time around. With the quality of the field, you are going to need two pretty useful pegs and I just have a hunch one of them will draw an average swim and consequently they will just miss out. I am pretty confident that the two Simons will be lining up on final day, though, to try and regain their 2014 crown. Who would bet against them?

My five pairs to qualify – in no particular order

  • Jason Cunningham and Ben Sharratt
  • Paul and Neil Turner
  • Lewis Kenyon and Paul Dobing
  • Steffan Johansen and Eric Gardiner
  • Alan Round and Ian Saiger

So that’s five unlucky pairs jinxed. At last years’ Goldstone qualifier, the two Simons managed a perfect 100 point score, a feat that might never be repeated in canal pairs championship history. It took a little luck and a lot of skill. I predict that the winning pair will score 94 points this time around with 85 points clinching the fifth qualifying spot.

Bookies outsider

I imagine that some of you are wondering which pair I think are most unlikely to qualify. It would, of course, be unfair to mention them by name, suffice to say their best chance of lining up on the banks of the Staffs & Worcester canal on 29th October comes courtesy of the lucky dip draw, when the organisers of each of the 15 qualifying heats go into the hat, with one pair going through to the final.

Last date edited: 29 June 2016

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The fisheries & angling team

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.

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