Angling: It’s a perfect time to get out on the riverbank

Clevelands' Graeme Barker with the best of the days 'lobby' perch from the Lower Swale.

Clevelands' Graeme Barker with the best of the days 'lobby' perch from the Lower Swale.

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With little rain and warmer than normal temperatures all our local rivers are showing what they are capable of with settled levels and steady flows.

For most anglers desperate for proper float fishing, a couple of weekends through the winter on the steadier and deeper waters of the Ouse or Aire would be the best they could wish for.

At the moment it seems to be a case of “forget everything you know” and just get on the riverbank, with some venues normally only associated with the summer months throwing up some remarkable winter catches.

The River Swale seems to have set the trend with Airborough’s Nick Smith topping the latest match on the middle river at Tweddles Farm with a brilliant 85lb of fat chub to over 4lb, backing weights proved that it wasn’t a fluke, solitary shoal with 60lb needed for second place and over 35lb needed to get a place on the leader board.

Further downstream as the lower Swale begins at Topcliffe and merges with the Ure at Myton, catches have been just as good, though different species are making up the weights.

Some unexpected bumper roach nets have been reported from both the Leeds and Bradford No1 stretches, Barbel to over 10lb are showing to summer baits, and for those wanting something a little different, the perch fishing has been as good as it gets.

Cleveland’s Graeme Barker last week proved good old fashioned lawn lobworms were all that was needed to have a real red letter day on the clear lower river, nine big perch to 2-09 and three bonus chub all fell to his twitching method showing that collecting “free for all” lobbies and knowing how to use them can beat any of the other popular but expensive baits.

Nearer to home the much smaller River Nidd refuses to fall into winter mode, with over 23lb of chub and barbel needed by Bradford’s Simon Foster to win the latest No 1 event at Cowthorpe.

Bradford No 1 also announced last week that over 300 baby barbel and 500 chub were released to the same Nidd fishery and its Calder holdings at Brighouse, similar stockings of the rivers Aire, Ure and Ouse have undoubtedly thrived. I hope the new Nidd fish have the same success and impact over the next few years.

Aldwark, Linton and Widdington all provided double figure weights of roach dace and perch in the latest Yorkshire Winter League team event.

Mirfield’s Ian Dawson, fishing long pole and short line, tight over balled groundbait, took top spot with over 10lb of small fish and a 3lb bonus chub, over 9lb was needed to take eighth place.

Elsewhere, Anglers World Holidays showed it to be the season of good will this week giving a £500 donation to the prize fund of the first league to be held in 2017, the Saturday League to be held around Linton and Hunters Lodge will start on January 7 through to the end of the season. (See match diary below).

Leeds & District confirmed to its club delegates that it will not be renewing the lease to its Wintersett and Cold Hiendley fishery which runs out in July 2017 – exceptionally high rents to members using the venue were to blame.

Lastly, to everyone I wish a happy new year. Get out on the river bank as quick as you can, conditions won’t stay as good as this much longer.

Paul Hardy with his stunning catch of tidal Ouse bream at Nayburn Lock.

Angling: Tied winter league title decided on countback

Hundreds of baby chub have been released by the Environment Agency into the River Ure, a scheme funded totally through rod licence sales.

Rod licence changes on right lines for anglers