This weekend saw the inaugural Bait-Tech Canal Championship Final take place on the Stainforth & Keadby Canal at Thorne. Lifting the title was Sheffield matchman Chris Greensides, who banked 10-10-0 of roach and perch from Peg 204.
Interestingly, Chris made a bold decision to take to the bank without any bloodworm and joker despite the freezing conditions, and told us: “The class of angler that comes on the Stainy is fantastic – probably the best I’ve ever fished against – so I’m really chuffed to win!
“Most anglers bring bloodworm and joker to their swims here, but I actually qualified for the final without using it, and decided my best chance of winning was to fish without it in the final too.
“I settled on fishing three simple swims. One was with bread at 13 metres, the next with hemp at 14 metres at an angle, and the last one at 16 metres with casters.
“I got off to a decent start, catching chunky roach on bread immediately. It took quite a while to catch on hemp, but I kept feeding it and in the final couple of hours had a dozen quality roach on it. I really enjoy fishing casters, and throughout the day I kept shipping out and nicking the odd better fish on them too, including a couple of chunky perch. My bait bill for the match was probably no more than £6!
“Winning a £600 prize is superb for a winter canal event, and the generous £500 worth of Bait-Tech vouchers from the league sponsors is incredible.”
Just two-ounces behind Chris was Drennan Barnsley Blacks and Pole Fishing magazine man Matt Godfrey, on Peg 206, just two away from the winner. Matt took 10-8-0 of small roach and perch on bloodworm and joker tactics at nine and 13 metres, with a few late roach on hemp, to take second spot, which saw him take home £500 cash and £400 in Bait-Tech bait vouchers.
Third place went to Preston Innovations and Sonubaits ace, Lee Kerry, who also went down the bloodworm track to bank 9-6-0 of roach and perch from Peg 198, taking third prize of £400 and £300 worth of Bait-Tech vouchers.
Generous sponsorship from Bait-Tech saw each finalist receive a Bait-Tech Bucket and several bags of Pro-Natural Groundbait, with the top five overall taking home gift vouchers for bait, from £500 for first place down to £100 for fifth.
The event was organised and run by Pole Fishing’s Tom Scholey, Matt Godfrey and Lee Kerry. Tom was really happy with how the qualifiers and final went, commenting: “As always, the fishing on the Stainy at Thorne has been amazing. In fact, the final has been the hardest the canal has fished throughout the event. In qualifying rounds, there have been numerous 20lb-plus weights, with roach weights to 23lb, and skimmer bags over 30lb!
“You always get plenty of bites here no matter what the weather is like, and, as Chris proved in the final, bloodworm and joker doesn’t dominate on the canal. Hemp and casters have played a major part this year.
“It has been a pleasure to run the series, and we’ve had anglers traveling from all over the country to fish the matches. Some lads come from Wales, and on a couple of the qualifiers we’ve had up to eight anglers travel from Scotland to try and qualify!
“Lee, Matt and I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Bait-Tech and Andy Neal for their incredibly generous sponsorship of the event.
“Another big thank you must also go out to the Canal Tavern pub and its staff, who have opened up early for the draws, breakfasts and presentations throughout the series.”
On behalf of Bait-Tech, Andy Neal commented: “What a fantastic event. We are thrilled to be involved and must thank Tom Scholey, Matt Godfrey and Lee Kerry for the hard task of running and organising it. Canal fishing, especially of this quality needs to be celebrated and fully deserves its own official Championships just like other formats of the sport have. The Stainforth and Keadby Canal has long been recognised as some of the best canal sport in the country with some of the best anglers in the country fishing it. Naturally, this had to be the destination for such an event and so it lived up to its name with a brilliant final. A mere two-ounces separating top two in a final like this is incredible. Massive congratulations to everyone who fished and qualified. Bait-Tech are truly proud to be involved an are hoping to help the event become even bigger for next year.”
1 Chris Greensides 10-10-0 (Sensas North) Peg 204
2 Matt Godfrey 10-8-0 (Drennan Barnsley/Pole Fishing) Peg 206
3 Lee Kerry 9-6-0 (Preston Innovations/Sonubaits) Peg 198
4 Cameron Hughes 8-6-0 (Rive) Peg 191
5 Frankie Gianoncelli 8-3-0 (Preston Innovations) Peg 191
6 Oliver Scotthorne 7-9-0 (Halkon Hunt) Peg 190
£100 Section Winners
Pete Kitwood 6-10-0
Sean Wright/Alan Scotthorne 5-10-0
Jordan Holloway 7-7-0
Gordon Smith 6-4-0
Sean Ashby 6-12-0
Darren Frost 7-8-0