Angling: Canalways are making a bit of a comeback

Chris Hartley
Chris Hartley
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Like our river and drain systems, narrow-boat canals of the north were once the backbone of all our pleasure and match fishing days.

As commercial fisheries emerged with behind-peg-parking, on-the-bank restaurants and huge catches almost guaranteed, we could have been forgiven for thinking natural angling was finished.

Sell-out River and Feederfest events, almost-unbeatable international teams and increasing pleasure anglers on the banks of towpaths and rivers, however, show another about turn in trends is well under way.

Our own nearly-forgotten Leeds and Liverpool Canal has seen some bad days, but one group of diehards from the west of Leeds never gave up on the venue and are now reaping the rewards as the latest results from the Listerhills match at Rodley crane works proved last week.

Billy Mason’s winning catch showed that the older fish and species are all doing well.

He put a 14-12 mixed bag on the scales, which included four tench, the best going over 4lb. All other top weights included single fat tench, though Richard Thorne, as always, threw a spanner in the works, putting over 160 tiny rudd, roach, perch and skimmers on the scales to take fourth place with 4-6.

The increase of silver-fish stocks, backed up with bonus tench, is great news for traditional cut anglers, though not the end of the story, as frequent reports come through of some massive carp falling to the specialist anglers who target them.

Let’s hope the good news will see more anglers on the towpath. It might just slow the bikes down!

Another angler that never forgot his roots continues to do well at his favourite Ulleskelf fishery.

Leeds’ Martin Thorpe, always regarded as naturally gifted and known for doing things differently, showed why in winning the sought-after Greenwood Cup last week.

A mix-up with his bait supplies as he arrived at his peg in the graveyard section didn’t put him off as he put his sandwiches to good use, catching two barbel on the luncheon meat filling and a decent chub on the slice of bread to weigh 9-12.

He told me later that, under doctor’s orders, he had been told to lose a bit of weight, and since he started using his dinner for bait he had managed a first and a second in consecutive matches – but, better still lost two stones!

Travelling partner, Bobby Lee, made the pair’s weekend as he took second spot with over 7lb of small dace from the top bay hole in the rapids to the more traditional stickfloat and caster.

Alice Hawthorne, above the Nidd mouth which is well known in specimen circles for its barbel potential, always raises high hopes for the weekend matchmen.

The latest Leeds Summer League, however, proved disappointing with just the odd single quality fish caught, and most of the top weights consisted of chublets, dace and perch.

Only three ounces separated the leader board’s first three with Anglers World’s Stan Haigh sneaking top spot with just 6-1 ahead of Mirfield’s Norman Thewliss, who weighed 6-0.

Airborough’s Dave Miles had a bonus 3lb bream to take him to 5-15 and third place.

Best open-river weight of the weekend came from the Mexborough Estate’s Calder fishery, where Tackle2U’s Pete Baron won the Mirfield event with seven slab bream for a weight of 35lb.

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Results

Listerhills AA Leeds Liverpool Canal: 1, Billy Mason 14-14; 2, Roger Movley 6-10; 3, Les Passey 6-05; 4, Richard Thorne & Tony Towney 4-06.

Leeds & District Greenwood Cup Ulleskelf: 1, Martin Thorpe 9-12; 2, Bobby Lee 7-09; 3, Steve Small 6-12.

Leeds Summer League Nun Monkton Ouse: 1, S Haigh 6-01; 2, N Thewliss 6-00; 3, D Miles 5-15; 4, R Bonas & S Thompson 5-08.

Calder Mexborough Estate: 1, P Baron 35-12; 2, S Haigh 17-04; 3, D White 17-01; 4, J Smiles 16-12.

BSR Bobco Forest Lane: 1, N Rymer 58-06; 2, T Evans 51-08; 3, S Rodgers 42-12; E Storey 42-01.

BSR Bobco Raker Acorn: 1, S Rodgers 120-08; 3, S Mazza 96-12; 3, A Barker 94-10; 4, M Pryke 81-08.

JT Rodgers Tollerton Round 13: 1, A Jackson 64-05; 2, D Watson 46-12; 3, R Richardson 38-11.

Poppleton 3 Hour Evening Horseshoe: 1, T Bainbridge 75-11; 2, J Thirkhill 69-04; 3, P Carter 61-06.

Starbeck AC Poppleton Railway: 1, K Bell 114-04; 2, J Lancaster 87-10; 3, B Walker 75-10.

Colton AC Langwith Emmas: 1, K Gale 42-08; 2, C Remmer28-08; 3, jt S Pickard & M Thorpe 24-00.

X Gates AC Swanlands: 1, D Watson 99-04; 2, D Uttley 91-12; 3, M Johnson 82-02.

White Horse Pudsey Birkwood Oscars: 1, G Raper 54-10; 2, P Smolka 34-10; 3, I Day 24-08; 4, J Jones 20-00.

Fox & Hounds Viking Hawk: 1, Mick Barker 42-15; 2, Mally Hind 31-09; 3, Dave Sugden 28-11. Juvenile: Danny Horrocks 23-11.

Bradford No 1 Nun Monkton Nidd: 1, Ian Parker 6-02; 2, Billy Scott 6-00; 3, Bob Newby 5-02; 4, James Vickerman 4-12.

Angel Lakes, Open Lookout: 1, Alan McGuire 74-07; 2, John Foster 69-15; 3, Martin Craig 57-15.

Angel Lakes, Open Lookout: 1, John Foster 65-11; 2, Ray Laing 58-05; 3, John Nelson 54-09.

Angel Lakes, Open Bowes: 1, Alan McGuire 58-00; 2, John Foster 56-07; 3, Jackie Nelson 48-01.

Rodley Barge, Messingham Tripp: 1, S Dodsworth 100-06; 2, J Squires 94-01; 3, P Sawyer 93-02.

Rodley Barge, Hallcroft Bridge Island: 1, D Lawson 189-01; 2 C Sharpe 61-07; 3 G Gautry 49-11.

Rodley Barge, Viking Deer: 1, S Dodsworth 52-08; 2, D Lawson 46-09; 3, P Sawyer 43-03; 4, M Teal 30-10.

Bobo Shadwell AC at Wetlands: 1, J Cowling 128-15; 2, A Thornton 49-01; 3, B Pearson 47-10; 4, S Walker 44-11.

Colton Sports AC, Swanlands: 1, K Gale 123-06; 2, B Clark 118-11; 3, A Senior 101-09; 4, M Durkin 100-12.

Armley AC at Tollerton (Heron): 1,-0 J Cooper 58; 2, C Greenwood 39-04; 3, S Ellener 35-08; 4, J Lavery 33-08.

Dragon AC at Bank End, West Lake: 1, Danny Doyle 135-03; 2, Dale Evans 76-03; 3, Kevin Legg 71-10; 4, Mick Kilnenny 54-00.

Vicker Street AC (Viking Fox): 1, D Playford 44-04; 2, L Vardy 43-00; 3, R Brown 34-08.

Match Diary

Saturday

Kippax Park: 27 pegs, tickets £20, contact 07967000746.

Feeder Master Qualifier: River Aire, Beal, contact Angling Trust 0115 906 1301.

Poppleton Saturday Open: pools £15, draw cafe 10am, contact Roger 01904737279.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Moorfields Farm: 54 pegs, tickets £16 contact 07710817150.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Birkwood Farm: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01132 80609.

Viking Saturday Open: Deer Pond, 24 pegs, £16, contact 01405 785206.

Tollerton Ponds: open match all ages, (Kingfisher 20 pegs, Coot 18 pegs, Heron 32 pegs), contact 01347 838115.

Sunday

Leeds & Liverpool, Kirkstall: contact Roger Movley 01132 772215.

Listerhills, Leeds & Liverpool Canal: contact Eddie Harrison 07518721051

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks at Sessay: 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Oak Tree Leisure: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01347 810686.

Leeds DASA: Moor Monkton Pools, contact 07967000746.

Poppleton Sunday Open: 50 Ppegs draw 11am Cafe, contact 07425 146677.

Monday

Woodlands over-50s: 30 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01845 520110.

Langwith Lakes over-60s: 30 pegs, tickets £10, contact 01904 431874.

Tollerton Ponds over-50s: tickets £16, contact 01347 838115.

Tuesday

Kippax Park Over-50s: draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.

Wednesday

Leeds & District, Moor Monkton Pools: Draw 10.00 am, contact 07967000746.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Tollerton Ponds: open match, all ages, contact 01347 838115.

Thursday

Poppleton Lakes: 3-hour evening opens, contact Roger 07425 146677.

Browing Team Ossett, winners of the Division 2 National Championships.

Angling: Ossett net two titles from the Nationals