Angling: Bennett’s on song for opening league win

Catches like Ian Bowman's season's best from the Lower Aire, are being matched by pleasure angler.
Catches like Ian Bowman's season's best from the Lower Aire, are being matched by pleasure angler.
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The season’s first river Winter League got under way last week with Yorkshire’s own division using the local River Calder around Altofts for its first round of six.

Individual winner on the day was Bradford’s Paul Bennett, who, after targeting the Mexborough Estate’s weir pool bream and failing miserably, changed tactics to traditional running line float gear and caster for a brilliant 15-07 of roach, all taken in a late and hectic two and a half hours.

John Smiles, fishing for Glen AC, took second with 13-10, and Jim Jordan, representing Leeds & District, took third place with another double-figure catch, taken on the float with double maggot being best for the larger roach.

On the team front, Bradford’s Tackle 2 U won the day, with Anglers World Holidays taking second and the powerful Mirfield AC pushing into third.

Venues to the south of Leeds were hard to find not that long ago, but recent early-autumn results are showing that environmental changes are really kicking in, with all the venues showing good form.

The latest Mirfield match, using the canal at Altofts, wasn’t to be outdone by its nearby Calder rival, with some bumper weights of roach needed to make the leaderboard.

Fish farm manager Dave Pollitt netted 13-12 of redfins to win this latest event with all of his fish falling to the pole and caster over groundbait.

Anglers World star, Stan Haigh, used his purist approach of wag and mag to weigh in with 11-06, and the ever-consistent Dave Armitage added to his bank balance with 11-02, also on the waggler, to take third.

Staying in the same catchment area, the Lower Aire continues to impress with both match and pleasure anglers giving a thumbs-up to the improving state of the river.

With sections of river now being almost ‘matched up’ on most weekends, pleasure anglers are seeking out their own pieces of river to take some remarkable catches.

Reports of huge bream, skimmer and roach weights falling to groundbait feeder and worm tactics from the forgotten West Haddlesey easily beat the recent best on a match taken from the opposite bank.

The angling bug has always been one that has passed on well from parents to children and can go unbroken for decades.

And the Ian Smith Memorial match – now in its 16th year and held on our local Leeds and Liverpool canal – had a surprise competitor last week.

Eight-year-old Olivia Massey showed her class and determination to keep the tradition and family flag flying by taking on – at her own request – the adults who wouldn’t miss the fundraising day out in memory of the grandfather she never met.

At the weigh-in, canal-regular Paddy Woods took the honours with 1-12 of tiny fish.

But Olivia made her presence felt and a 5oz-catch counted towards her winning a new landing net handle to go with a small cash prize.

No doubt another star in the making! All proceeds of the match went to the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research.

For those that like something different, I should just be returning from the banks of Aragon’s mighty river Ebro as you read.

Let’s hope things went to plan. It’s a hard life – but someone has to do it!



Poppleton Lakes, Wednesday Horseshoe: 1, J Pearson 84.00; 2, C Dawson 68-02; 3, J Haws 62-12; 4, B Pallister 53-14.

Poppleton Lakes, Saturday Open, Horseshoe: 1, Rob Harbour 96-08; 2, Stuart Brown 90-10; 3, Jim Thirkhill 87-06; 4, Gavin Peake 84-14.

Ian Smith Memorial, Leeds/Liverpool Canal, Armley: 1, P Woods 1-12; 2, L Passey 1-09; 3, R Thornton 1-01; Juvenile, Miss Olivia Massey 0-5.

Fox & Hounds, Linton on Ouse: 1, J Turton 6-15; 2, S Smith 3-11; 3, D Lee 2-01; Junvenile, D Horrocks 1-05.

Mirfield Open, Aire & Calder, Altofts: 1, D Pollitt 13-12; 2, S Haigh 11-06; 3, D Armitage 11-02; 4, L Clarke 10-02.

Yorkshire Winter League, Calder Mexborough Estate: 1, P Bennett, Tackle 2 U 15-07; 2, J Smiles, Glen AC 13-10; 3, J Jordan, Leeds 12-03; 4, N Thewliss, Glen AC 9-12.

X Gates AC, Forset Lane: 1, D Watson 42-10; 2, M Johnson 33-09; 3, S Kay 27-13.

Soth Leeds, Raker Lakes: 1, H Oward 82-02; 2, T Longbottom 75-06; 3, G Williamson 69-04.

White Horse AC, Moor Monkton, Front Lake: 1, J Jones 42-04; 2, P Robinson 37-08; 3, G Greenhall 27-12; 4, S Batley 25-04.

Park Piscatorials, Viking Hawk Lake: 1, D Pashley 30-12; 2, P Harrison 29-13; 3, I Gray 13-09.

Bradford No 1 AA, Raskelf, Spenborough Guardian Trophy: 1, Eric Wright 28-14; 2, Fred Prudham 25-11; 3, Bill Scott 21-04; 4, Chris Pitman 17-02; 5, Andy Jacques 16-11.

Kippax Park, Osprey: 1, Stan Jeffries 64-12; 2, Steve Pearson 44-08; 3, Rob Prudhoe/Adrian Broomhead 35-14.

Kippax Park, Osprey: 1, Neil Rymer 70-04; 2, Tony Hewson 58-04; 3, Andy Rymer 54-12.

Armley AC at Poppleton Railway: 1, S Ellner 85-01; 2, R Varty 58-10; 3, C Greenwood 56-00; 4, D Fish 54-10.

Colton Sports AC, Forest Lane – Don: 1, C Remmer 52-13; 2, J Ryder 36-10; 3, A Senior 26-02; 4, M Durkin 24-06.

Viking Open (Hawk): 1, T Davis 36-01; 2, K Squires 32-00; 3, G Newsome 20-02.

Harehills WM (Viking Deer): 1, D Beevers 28-00; 2, C Dunn 25-14; 3, D Parker 24-01.

Clayton AC ( Viking Hawk): 1, K Armitage 51-00; 2, S Elpher 28-05; 3, S Elpher 23-04.

Angel Lakes Sunday Open Lookout: 1, Martin Craig 55-09; 2, Rob Rundle 46-13; 3, Ethan Bradley 32-04.

Angel Lakes Saturday Open Bowes: 1, Rob Emery 54-09; 2, Dave Pearson 40-09; 3, John Foster 39-01.

Angel Lakes Wednesday Open Lookout: 1, John Dryden 113; 2, John Foster 97-14; 3, Derek Fox 43-09.

Match Diary


Kippax Park: Winter League starts November 5 through to March, £10 entr,y £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 £16.00, contact 01132 80609

Viking, Hawk Pond: 30 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01405 860764.

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


Leeds DASA: Moor Monkton Pools, Winter League, starts 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.


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.


Kippax Park: Over- 5’, draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.


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.

Podium placers, first and third overall, Team Don's Steve Lowther and Mirfield's Tony Earnshaw. PIC: Steve Fearnley

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