Reports on angling matches from the week ending 14 May 2016.
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Stoke-based canal legend, Fred ‘the Bread’ Cheetham (Team Eclipse) led the way at Sunday’s round six of the Wolverhampton AA Individual Spring League held on the Four Ashes stretch of the Staffs & Worcs Canal, nr. Penkridge, Staffordshire. Due to bright, sunny conditions, clear water, spawning fish and temperature fluctuations it was never going to be easy. Drawn on peg 17, Fred mustered all of his angling guile, using his favoured bread-punch method which he has honed to perfection over many successful years to catch one 1lb roach, a skimmer around the same size, the rest of his 8-9-0 winning net being comprised of roach to 6oz. Next to him on end peg 18, the irrepressible Wilf Kneller (Bilston Angling Centre) came second with a similar bread-tempted red fins net, although he had a few late on, on caster for 6-8-0. Wilf’s team-mate Barry Williams secured third with 5-10-7 from peg 13, consisting of a brace of bream to 1½lb plus seven small skimmers and some roach which all fell to pole-fished red maggot. With three rounds remaining, Penkridge-based painter and decorater Dean Williams (Team Eclipse) is maintaining his league lead on 17 points. Fred has moved up into joint second with Mel Wood (Four Ashes AC), both now on 20 points each.
Saturday’s penultimate round four of the Woodside Individual Spring League on the Dudley No.2 Canal in Merry Hill, Dudley, West Midlands saw Pedmore-based Pete Hatton (ZLT Angling Supplies) rise to the fore on peg 24 with an 8-10-4 net made-up of chub to 2lb, skimmers, perch and roach, all snared on red maggot over worm and caster. Seventy five squatt-roach for 5-9-3 gained Andy Curless (Preston Innovations Black Horse) the runner-up position at peg 21, ahead of Quarry Bank’s Ian Hingley who bagged a 3lb bream alongside one skimmer and a few bits, alternating caster and red maggot to scale 4-2-0 at peg 1. With everything to play for in the final, Pete’s win takes him to the top of the league standings on 6 points and Ian Hingley is hot on his heels with 7 points. Canal Kings’ Tony Bowen is now in third on 9 points.
There were some huge smiles along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal as bream shoals dominated between the Bowlers and Peartree Bridge sections in Milton Keynes, Buckhamshire during Sunday’s round three of the Milton Keynes AA Teams of Four Spring League. Tackle Hub’s Tony Salczynski headed the 52-strong field with a terrific 40-15-0 of decent bream, ahead of Andy Robinson (Browning Red) who banked 31-7-0 of slabs on the next peg. Pete Patton (Maver MK Green) topped another tight section with 29-12-0 of all bream again. End Peg took the team prize on the day with 12 points and with one match remaining they are atop the league on 57 points. Gone Fishin’ are on 64, ahead of Tackle Hub’s 65 points.
Since a fortnight ago, sport had certainly improved on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Middlewich, Cheshire for Sunday’s round three of the 36-entry Middlewich Individual Spring League where the anglers were treated to warm, sunny and dry conditions for a change. Third in round one, Ant Marsden (Sam’s Tackle Wigan) upped his game to land the match with 8-1-8 of all bread punch-enticed roach at peg 30. Round one winner, Ted Carter Southport’s Chris Gorrell followed on peg 4, with squatt-tempted roach and gudgeon for 6-10-8, edging Gaz Lunt (Browning Lifestyle) into third, who returned a 6-0-0 exact comparable catch at peg 31. Jan Verbruggen (Tri-Cast Highfield), Paul Hughes (Saints) and Simon Preece (Browning Lifestyle) are tied at the top of the league table, presently all on 16 points apiece.
The dazzling, warm sunshine along the Castle Up and Down Sections of the Gloucester Canal in Gloucester, Gloucestershire certainly put the kybosh on the fishing for many of the sixty four competitors at Saturday’s round three of the Gloucester Canal Teams of Four Spring League. Nevertheless the top six framers all recorded weights of over 13lb. Winner Mark Jones (Sensas Strike) found himself among the bream on downstream end peg 430 where he fished an open ended feeder with maggot for a rewarding 32-2-0 of quality slabs to 5lb. Next door, in-form Rob McKenzie (Lobby’s) chose the same strategy to scale all bream for 23-10-0, ahead of Preston Innovations Thatchers’ Martin Barrett’s 21-15-0. Preston Innovations Thatchers took the team spoils on the day with an excellent 50 points however with their nearest adversaries struggling for consistency, DGL Red have extended their league lead to 146 points, ahead of DGL Gold’s 119.
Sunday’s 22-entry Bridgtown Social AC bout on the Ball Lane length of the Staffs & Worcs Canal in Coven, Staffordshire gained Carl Jackson his second victory in as many weeks when he bagged up on end peg 23. He latched into seven decent bream around the 3lb mark plus several perch, together with mixed small silvers, all gathered on poled caster and red maggot for runaway success with a cracking 27-8-4. Penkridge’s Dave Smith netted a brace of chub in the first half hour plus a nice 3½lb bream, a solitary billy and a couple of gudgeon, all attracted on poled caster for 9-7-6 from peg 11. Third place went to Phil ‘Fizza’ Blakemore whose 7-3-3 included one decent bream, bolstered by skimmers, to poled caster and worm at peg 22.
Some spectacular skimmer and roach weights to poled squatt and pinkie came from the Prison End Section of the Birmingham Mainline Canal on the Soho Loop in Winson Green, Birmingham at Sunday’s Canal Kings open event. Carl Daley (Cashmores MG) just clinched the win on peg 36 when he slid 18-15-6 onto the scales, nudging Canal Kings’ Tony Bowen into second with 18-4-0 from peg 49. Team-mate Roger Evans weighed in 15-15-0 at peg 37, leaving Good Intent’s Gary Owen in fourth with 15-3-0 from peg 39. The top six anglers all had over 10lb apiece!
Stirrup Cup’s Bryan Jarvis took the honours at Sunday’s Stirrup Cup open on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in Curdworth. Conditions were red hot and the water was still gin clear however Jarvis managed to catch a brace of skimmers to 1½lb and a smaller sample, skimmer pole-fishing caster in the shade just off the far side of the track, alongside some small perch and gudgeon for 3-14-12 from peg 16. Terry Fisher (Coleshill & District AA) followed on peg 29 with a 2-2-8 net, made-up of quite a few hand skimmers plus perch and gudgeon, caught on poled squatt and red maggot, ahead of Graham Massey (Dams & Lock) who returned 128 little squatt-roach for 1-9-14 at peg 14.
Well, what a difference a week makes on the British weather front. We were battling the blizzards and the hail storms last weekend and basking in the sunshine this week, no wonder the fish are confused! Due to the warm, settled spell the bream were spawning dramatically on Calf Heath Reservoir in Staffordshire during Saturday’s 30-entry Blackfords Progressive Monthly Open which certainly affected the weights. Wednesfield-based retired shop proprietor, Gary Johnson (Sensas) displayed his angling knowledge of the venue, using a small cage feeder with pinkie and maggot at peg 57 on the reed beds, to find a 30-14-0 top weight of mainly skimmers to 2lb. Shifnal’s Dave Ridgeway followed on neighbouring peg 58, where he fished the pole with worm and caster over groundbait for 23-4-0 of predominantly skimmers up to 2lb again, backed-up by some roach, leaving Eamon Bannon (Commercial Indications) in third with half a dozen skimmers for a level 10-0-0 taken on Method feeder tactics from peg 55. Walsall’s Dave Nicholls and Kevin Tipton (Sensas) both netted five skimmers each for 9-11-0 and 9-5-0 respectively.
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