The second qualifying match in a prestigious new national angling competition, aimed at encouraging people to rediscover their nearby waterways took take place on the Shropshire Union Canal on Sunday 26 April.
The winners were Simon Mottram (Drennan North West/ABC Baits) and Simon Preece (Browning) who both achieved a perfect 100 point score, a feat that most observers thought virtually impossible given the strength of the line-up.
The Canal Pairs Championship is being organised by the Canal & River Trust together with the Angling Trust and is aimed at encouraging local anglers.
Hosted by the Hodnet Angling Club, the competition took place on the canal between Goldstone and Soudley near Market Drayton. The match is the second of 11 regional heats with the top five pairs from each match going through to the final in October.
Simon Mottram, who was first taught to fish as a youngster on the Llangollen Canal by the Canal & River Trust’s National Fisheries & Angling Manager John Ellis, powered to victory with a weight of 14 lbs 4 oz, with five chub included in the catch.
The battle for the four remaining qualifying places was truly titanic and there was excitement and disappointment in equal measure when the results were announced.
Remaining qualifiers are Steve Dudley / Simon Nickless (81 points), Dave Richard / Carl Westwood (80 points), Dave Lloyd / Richard Guest (80 points) with Tony Foster / Graham Neary taking the final qualifying spot (79 points). Tony and Graham just pipped Steve Cope and Mel Wood who also scored 79 points but with a slightly lower combined weight.
The competition saw pairs of anglers score points based on the weight of fish they caught. As well as being invited to compete in the national final the winning pair received a £200 cash prize. In the national final, pairs will be competing for a top prize of up to £4,000.
John Ellis, national fisheries & angling manager for the Canal & River Trust, said ‘This qualifier summed up what canal match fishing is all about, some brilliant individual performances, desperately close results, plenty of fish caught including a specimen 6 lb chub and the wonderful surroundings of the Shropshire Union Canal.”
Competition and events manager for the Angling Trust, Sandra Drew, said: “This qualifier was a sell-out, which is a fantastic response from anglers who continue to support fishing on canals, and it will go from strength to strength.”
The next two qualifying round are on Sunday 3 May on the Grand Union at Northampton and on the Kennet & Avon on 24 May. There are still a few places available, for more details and to reserve your place call Angling Trust on 0115 9061301
The Championship final will take place on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal in the Midlands on 24 October.