In my last blog, Tom Scholey and myself were heading south to fish the Preston Innovations Festival at White Acres. It was a fantastic week, and I always love the social side of things as well as the fishing! I had mixed feelings about my result, which included two section wins, a second, and two sixths.
The later results dragged me down to an agonizing 25th out of the 180 anglers present. I’d normally feel quite good about finishing here, but considering the top 24 anglers qualify for the £25,000 Parkdean Masters Final…I was mortified! I missed out by 9lb on weight, and most certainly could have clawed that back at several stages through the week. Oh, and while on the topic, I better not mention that Tom Scholey came 165th on the festival had I?
With an arrival of cold weather, and lots of rain, some of the lakes were very peggy, and looking down the results some exceptional anglers had very bad results from horrible pegs. However, we had a cracking time, with the great company of Niel McKinnon and Jon Arthur. They were both a little messy, and came home from the bar late on several occasions, but I’m sure we’ll let them stay with us again!
On returning from The Acres, we were straight into some proper fishing, with the first round of Sensas Challenge teams of five league on the Stainforth and Keedby Canal. This is a new competition, that is fished to international rules. The match was great, with a very good turnout to say it’s the first year. Barnsley entered two teams, which made things even more competitive between ourselves. My team consisted of James Dent, Simon Fields, John Dunne1l, Frankie Gianoncelli and Myself, while the other contained the big hitters, Alan Scotthorne, Lee Kerry, Sam Wildsmith, Steve Baraclough and Oliver Scotthorne. In the end, we finished 2nd behind them, but were still chuffed, and we’re on their tail! James Dent did the business for us, winning the match with over 16lb of roach!
I had a lovely day, weighing 10-11-0 to finish third in my section, beaten by Alan Scotthorne on the end peg, and my dreaded enemy Rob Perkins. I just can’t beat him! Tom was also third in his section, with just under 10lb of bloodworm fish. Nevertheless, it was great to be back on the canal, and I’m sure we’re in for another cracking year on there.
The following week saw me travel to Cob House Fishery with Jon Arthur for something a little different! Jim Burton from Old Ghost had arranged a match, which was to be fished in three separate one and a half hour legs, with the use of different methods in each session. Anglers had to re-draw and move pegs after every weigh-in, and had an hour to move pegs and set up again. I can’t give too much away, but it was an awesome day out, and the results were particularly interesting. Check out the Janruary issue of Pole Fishing to read all about it!
Last weekend was also very enjoyable myself and Mr Scholey, as we headed off to the Fossdyke Navigation for the first round of the individual league. I love this venue, but after drawing peg 32 and walking down the bank, I was a little less confident! Non-other than Alan Scotthorne had found his way to the first peg in the section, and his son, Oliver, was sat on the Marina mouth at the opposite end. I felt like I was fighting a losing battle before I’d even started! The wind was blowing a gale downstream, making it difficult to hold any more than 6m of pole, so I plumbed up just two swims with bloodworm and joker at six sections, with a lobby rig down my left hand margin just in case!
I had a cheeky sneak on lobby for the first ten minutes, and was rewarded with a single 3oz perch. I could see that people had started catching on bloodworm, which urged me to get on it and not fall behind. First drop in I had a small roach, and settled into a good rhythm, catching a fish a chuck for the first hour. By alternating swims, and feeding the odd small top-up ball, I felt things where going well! I then had a perch around 8oz, which was a welcome bonus, but this also seemed to unsettle the roach, making them very hard to catch.
Despite changing rigs and re-feeding, I couldn’t get into a rhythm, and definitely fell behind. With an hour to go, I started catching well again, and shipped as fast as I could to try and claw some fish back.
Walking up with the scales, Oliver was first to weigh, and put 14-12-0 of proper roach on. He only had 50 fish, so you can imagine how big they were! Chris Jenkinson had a good weight of 11-02-0, which I managed to just beat with my 11-09-00. Alan showed his class yet again, and chucked 316 roach on the scales for 13-11-0, which pushed me down to third in the section, and third on the match overall! I was very pleased, and even without the slow spell I’d have struggled to catch another 2lb. Tom did well, finishing second in this section, and we both took home reasonable results for the start of the league!
This weekend I’m returning to the Stainy at Thorne for the penultimate round of the Winter League with the Ultimate Barnsley Blacks. So far they’ve won every round, but I’m sure I can mess it up for them! In all seriousness, it’s a favourite venue of mine, and I can’t wait!