Carp deaths lead to tests for deadly KHV virus

Paul Cromie with part of his winning Kippax Park catch.
Paul Cromie with part of his winning Kippax Park catch.
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Leeds and District this week faced the news that every fishery owner or manager hope they will never hear – unexplained carp deaths at their owned Kippax Polo Pond led officials of the club to call in the Environment Agency to test for suspected Koi Herpes Virus.

KHV is a viral disease affecting common carp and its variants can often lead to a 100 percent mortality of carp in lakes and ponds. The herpes virus can lay dormant for years only to strike unexpectedly but usually at times of stress and raised water temperatures around 17 to 25 degrees, all of which have been around this summer.

With no known cure or even treatment, KHV is regarded in angling much the same way as farmers think of Foot and Mouth Disease – such is its devastation.

The Centre for Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Science acting on behalf of DEFRA should this week release the results of tests done on a number of carp supplied to their laboratories and hopefully not confirm all anglers’ worst thoughts.

Leeds officials quickly closed their other specimen still waters, Knotford Lagoon at Poole in Wharfedale and Sandwath Lake at Church Fenton as a precautionary measure to prevent anglers that have recently visited Polo fishing the lakes with potentially contaminated tackle, nets and clothing.

Thankfully not everything is doom and gloom on our still waters with cracking weights winning this week’s matches on our local commercials.

Leeds and District’s Moor Monkton Pools were at the top of the weight charts with the top three all needing over the magical ton, Lee Smith winning with 124lb of pellet waggler plundered carp just beating Dave Wrights 121.12 and Dave Pollitt’s 108.14.

Gavin Peak took the best weight of the week from Poppleton’s Railway Lake with 135-2 using only a top 2 plus 2.

Kippax Park though this week giving smaller weights still produced the tight finish that match anglers prefer with Bradford’s Paul Cromie just sneaking the win with 81-12 all caught on his favourite Coshida cat meat from peg 24.

The region’s river anglers often resigned to scratching for a couple of pounds, this week proved that the running water scene is getting stronger by the week with attendances and weights better than could have been imagined during the river lull of just a few years ago.

Calder regular Tony Earnshaw re-wrote the record book for the middle Calder this week with a catch of 25 chub for a total of 57lb beating Lancashire’s legend the late Benny Ashurst’s near 40lb roach catch from the 1960s.

Tony’s win and record would have been hard to believe as the match ended for Pontefract’s Arthur Bendstead who after drawing the Ship Weir put a usually win worthy 45lb chub catch on the scales to be told it was the first day for 50 years that it was worth only the runner’s up spot.

Leeds’ Bobby Lee proved putting a good man on a good draw was unbeatable by claiming the Joe Woodham Trophy on the tidal Wharfe at Ulleskelf, drawn just above the railway field’s windmill. Bob stick float and castered his way to a winning 12-10 consisting of 25 dace and two barbel.

Union’s Bill Collier showed he hadn’t lost any of his old skills taking 11lb of small dace from the salmon pool run off for second place. After Bill’s recent run of results he will be relieved that his float box didn’t sell at the recent antiques roadshow.

Dave Rushton with a probably-never-been-caught-before barbel.

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