Angling: Dry winter results in best hauls in a decade

Andy Sullivan showing what's on offer at Poole in Wharfedale.
Andy Sullivan showing what's on offer at Poole in Wharfedale.
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After winters of complaining about flooded rivers, frozen lakes and whole match calendars cancelled, I laughed the other night when one of Leeds’ oldest river-match stars told me the rivers were too low and clear and we needed some rain badly!

Looking through some of my old winter-season reports and results, this year’s fishing has been the best for over a decade.

Let’s hope we can get through to the season’s end in March with only low-water levels to moan about.

Slight temperature changes can dictate which species feed best and a small rise proved that the bream are still on the bungalow flier pegs at Hunters Lodge, with Birstall’s Paul Nicklin taking the venue’s top weight of the year with 14 slabs totalling 64lb from 219.

Normal-feeder tactics were pushed to one side with most of his fish taken on the link over heavy loose-fed caster and chopped worm.

As temperatures dropped and the first frosts made the rivers even clearer, small fish became the target species and a handful of anglers have become very hard to beat.

Two of the very best shared the wins last week with Cleckheaton’s Dave Armitage taking top spot in the Anglers World Saturday event.

Drawn 287 at Linton, he alternated between 13m short-line pole and long whip with maggot to take over 100 roach for a total of 11-15 and head u a string of other double-figure silverfish weights.

Widdington Manor peg 37 was all that was needed for north east star and tackle collector Eddie Brydon to take top spot on Sunday.

Feeding a heavy bombardment of groundbait with little feed content at 14 metres and starting across searching for an early chub that didn’t come, it was all plain sailing after about an hour and his first bite on the long pole as he winkled out 77 small roach and dace for a cracking 11-01.

The settled conditions are benefiting all the region’s rivers.

Colmic’s Fred Hardcastle – using mincemeat feeder and rump steak hook bait – put 10 big chub on the scales to win the latest Northallerton event on the Swale at Scruton with 41-10.

And pleasure anglers are confirming the river’s top form with some massive catches through the system as far downstream as Helperby. Summer tactics of wag and mag proved best on the Nidd with Bradford No1 official, Simon Foster, using the light-float method to bag 15 chub from its Cowthorpe fishery.

Roving tactics with liquidised bread and flake hookbait is proving a great alternative at the same venue for those who can’t sit still.

The River Wharfe, below Otley, has had tongues wagging recently with some brilliant catches of wild brown trout and quality grayling.

Leeds & District’s day-ticket fishery around the bridge at Poole-in-Wharfedale has set the standard with visiting anglers reporting specimen-sized grayling, not normally associated with Yorkshire, falling to traditional stick-float and waggler tactics with maggot baits.

Best fish reported last week fell to York’s Andy Sullivan and weighed 2-12.

Grayling over 2lb are rare beasts anywhere in the UK; it’s nice to have a few so big so close to home.

Results

Anglers World Round 3 River Ouse: 1, D Armitage 11-15; 2, R Bonas 11-02; 3, K Pybus 10-14; 4, A Hampson/P Austin 10-08; 6, P Barron 9-14.

Leeds & District Linton/Widdington: 1, E Brydon 11-05; 2, J Bywell 8-15; 3, P Barron 8-12; 4, S Haigh 8-01.

Linton on Ouse Midweek: 1, N Thewliss 5-07; 2, D Pollitt 5-04; 3, C Turbitt 5-00; 4, S Newns 4-10.

Northallerton AC Swale at Scruton: 1, F Hardcastle 41-10; 2, K Weighell 33-04; 3, C Burnside 29-00; 4, N Smith 8-01.

Swarcliffe AC Linton Top: 1, S Linley 3-12; 2, C Cavel 0-15; 3, I Pearson 0-04.

JT Rodgers Round 12 Brafferton: 1, R Richardson 22-05; 2, S Phelan 21-05; 3, A Jackson 12-06.

JT Rodgers Round 13 Brafferton: 1, A Jackson 10-11; 2, S Phelan 6-06; 3, R Richardson 4-15.

None Go Bye Silverfish Only: 1, P Wilson 3-12; 2, S Michaels 2-07; 3, I Dawson 1-00.

Kippax Park Winter Series: 1, A Limbert 59-14; 2, M Bailey 40-00; 3, T Hewson 29-13.

KP Lapwing Midweek: 1, M Turner 45-13; 2, A Rymer 39-13; 3, S Pearson 31-07.

Moor Monkton Pools Rover: 1, G Boldison 70-14; 2, R Worsnop 46-08; 3, S Pearson 34-10.

Woodlands Thirsk Front Lakes: 1, S Fern 25-13; 2, P Close 24-06; 3, C Gowling 17-02; 4 S Wood 12-07.

Angel Lakes Open Lookout: 1, Dave Pearson 8-13; 2, Brian Hall and Ray Laing 4-11.

Viking Saturday Open (Deer): 1, G Newsholme 14-11; 2, B Smith 13-10; 3, D Playforth 12-14.

Fryston AC Winter League (Viking Hawk): 1, S Lupton 57-05; 2, S Varley 21-06; 3, P Mountain 12-07.

Match Diary

Saturday

Anglers World Saturday Series, Hunters/Linton: from January 7 to season end, contact Stan Haigh 07542700743.

Kippax Park: Winter League November 5 through to March, £10 entry, £20, pools, contact 07967000746.

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, Hawk Pond, 30 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 DASA: Moor Monkton Pools, Winter League, November 13 through to March, £10 entry, pools, £20, contact 07967000746.

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.

Poppleton: Sunday Open, 50 pegs, 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 10am, 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.

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