Canal expert Dave Brown has just won the Wolverhampton AA Individual Spring League with a fine display of canal fishing. Fished over six hard-fought matches, two rounds were held on the Shropshire Union Canal at Pendeford, two rounds in Penkridge and two rounds in Wombourne, both on the Staffs-Worcester Canal. To make things interesting, the points were awarded based on the position you finished in the match overall, so you got one point for first place and 27 points for last.
After a shaky start, Dave delivered the goods with some hard-earned nets of fish. Here’s a report in his own words:
This was fished on a windswept, crystal-clear Shropshire Union at Pendeford. Being my first canal match of the year I was hoping for a decent draw! No such luck as I was two pegs to the left of Dowty’s Bridge! I really struggled to deal with the conditions and weighed just over 3lb. Which put me 14th overall. Not exactly the start I was looking for!
Staffs-Worcester Canal in Wombourne. I felt I had another bad draw being on the breeze block wall at the back of the houses! So, I decided to get my head down and put as much in the net as quick as I could! I managed to catch well for the first two hours before the bites dried up and left me scratching for the rest of the match. Come the weigh in I put 8lb 2oz on the scales for a nice section win and 5th overall on the day, pushing me up to 9th in the league.
Fished on the Staffs-Worcester Canal in Penkridge and in my five-peg section there were four end pegs – and guess who wasn’t on one! I soon stopped moaning though when I had a chub of around 2lb first chuck and another within five minutes! I ended the match with three chub and 30 roach and gudgeon for 8lb 4oz and second overall. More importantly, I was now lying joint third in the league.
Back on the Shroppy at Pendeford, again. Bright sunshine and a gin-clear canal was not the best conditions! I needed a decent draw and got one on a bush that provided a little cover. This match fished really hard and my 4lb 4oz was good enough for 3rd overall, only beaten by two end pegs. This result moved me up to 2nd place in the league.
Penkridge on the Staffs-Worcester Canal. I needed to avoid the bad pegs on this match and managed to draw on the boat length, two pegs past the aerial. Not a flier, but a nice steady area which should see me catch a few! I ended up with 90 squatt fish for 7lb 9oz, not enough to pick up any money but enough to see me finish in the top six overall. This result moved me into the lead in the league with a lead of just two points. It was all to play for going into the last round!
The final match in the league was held in Wombourne. I normally never get nervous before a match but I was on this match! I pulled out Peg 13 and hoped it wasn’t a bad omen! This put me on the old willow trees in an area I really didn’t fancy – especially when I knew that Bruce Birch who was lying in second place in the league had drawn on Planks Lane with a spare peg! I felt that I needed to catch 6lb-plus to stand a chance of staying in the lead. The first two hours I was flying with 100 gudgeon and little skimmers in the net. But as quickly as they came they were gone! I then struggled for the last three hours picking off odd roach and little skimmers to see me finish with 140 fish. These weighed 7lb 15oz 8dms and gave me another section win. When news came down that Bruce had weighed a level 6lb I knew the title was mine!
1st Dave Brown (Maver Midlands) 31pts
2nd Bruce Birch (Team GB Four Ashes AC) 37 pts
3rd Ben Garbett (Wolverhampton AA Van den Eynde) 45 pts
4th Dean Williams (Team Eclipse) 49 pts
5th Bert Simmill (Bilston Angling Centre) 51 pts
6th Richard Guest (Maver Midlands) 56 pts