Angling: Favourites feeling the squeeze as veterans come to the fore

Barlby's John Cyrowski with the nine pound barbel he nearly caught twice.
Barlby's John Cyrowski with the nine pound barbel he nearly caught twice.
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My predictions of big changes at the top came earlier than expected in the second round of the Yorkshire Winter League, held on a rising River Aire around Chapel Haddlesey and Beal.

There are a handful of veteran star anglers that can still show the youngsters the way to win in difficult conditions, and Leeds’ own Bill Collier has always been one not to need an invite to take top honours and make a match his own.

Drawn on shallow peg 2 above Beal Bridge, his crusty but trusty quiver-tip rods were soon bending into some bigger-than-average bream, with nine obliging slabs all taking his lobby and caster feeder to give him an easy victory with over 30lb.

With none of the early leaders from the previous round able to make the top three in the team event, it now looks a wide-open race with Tackle 2 U, Barlby and Matrix Halifax pushing the favourites out of the frame.

Round three couldn’t come early enough for those now really fancying their chances, though the four feet of floodwater that welcomed them to the banks of the Ure & Ouse soon had them fearing the worst.

They shouldn’t have worried, as the match turned into a barbel cracker, even though the species responsible for the day’s success would be music to hundreds of specialist anglers it wouldn’t normally be the target fish for matchmen at this venue.

Mick Shaw, fishing for Glen AC, started Yorkshire’s version of a ‘barbelfest’, drawing above Aldwark Bridge and catching three of the mighty whiskers for a remarkable 26-04.

The biggest was just a little over 9lb while the other two were not far behind, giving an average size that any river would be proud of.

Not to be a ‘one peg wonder’, the fish were well spread out, with second-place John Cyrowski, of Barlby, coming back from Linton having caught a seven-pounder early-match and then playing, and losing, a larger fish that broke him under nearside snags, only to catch the offending barbel just 30 minutes later with his brand-new hook still baited and attached.

The barbel and extra hook weighed 9-2 giving him a total of 16-12. Easily the best fish of the day fell to who else but Bill Collier with a very special barbel of 11-02 that gave him third place.

Remarkably, this 11-pounder is his third winter double in just two seasons under match rules from the same venue.

Restocking of any kind is a controversial subject and I think it’s important that the heavy programmes carried out on commercial carp fisheries are not mixed up with helping a river’s declining species re-establish themselves after decades of environmental mismanagement.

Leeds & District’s drip-feeding of baby barbel into the Ouse at Linton started 10 years ago.

With figures averaging 60 x two-year-old fish every spring, over the following five years growth rates would suggest that a good percentage of the fish are those being caught now.

I’ve had my share of run-ins with then-president Stan Jeffreys, but credit where credit’s due, it was his idea and those who doubted the project should now accept its success.


Armley AC at Forest Lane Oaklands: 1, A Faithwaite 31-14; 2, D Atkinson 18-12; 3, E Cross, J Levery 13-01.

Rodley Nomads (Viking Hawk): 1, T Fisher 88-00; 2, B Lindley 64-04; 3, M Bell 61-04.

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk): 1, M Dukes 110-06; 2, S Gibbins 94-11; 3, S Smart 85-05; 4, T Bullass 76-12.

Yorkshire Winter League Round 2 Beal: 1, B Collier/Leeds 30-09; 2, S Tate/Mirfield 16-05; 3, S Thompson/Leeds 12-09; 4, P Bennett /Tackle 2U 11-15; 5, A Benstead/Barlby 11-04.

Yorkshire Winter League Round 3 Hunters/Linton: 1, M Shaw/Glen 26-04; J Cyrowski/Barlby 16-12; 3, B Collier/Leeds 11-02; 4, P Clark /Mirfield 10-07; 5, S Raper/Mirfield 9-02. Teams to Date: Tackle 2U 6pts; Mirfield 8pts; Barlby 9pts.

Leeds & District Summer League River Aire: 1, S Haigh 8-10; 2, D White 5-02; 3, B Foster 4-13; 4, I Bates 4-02. League Champion D Armitage 91pts.

Moor Monkton Pools Rover: 1, S Brown 97-08; 2, L Smith 78-07; 3, P Gallagher 62-05; 4 M Green 52-05.

Moor Monkton Pools Rover: 1, Garry Watson 101-06; 2, Stu Brown 87-04; 3, Adrian Bolton 87-00; 4, Dave Wright 79-02

Kippax Park Lapwing: 1, P Carter 89-01; 2, N Rymer 75-03; 3, D Wright 41-07; 4, S Pearson 36-03.

Kippax Park Osprey: 1, A Rymer 101-12; 2, S Pearson 82-03; 3, S Jeffreys 81-01; 4, A Barker 68-04.

Yorkshire Wagglers AC Pop Railway: 1, P Gray 44-11; 2, G Hargreaves/ J Stark 31-13; 4, S Slater 21-13.

Park Piscatorials Forest Lane: 1, S Atkins 15-01; 2, C Broadley 13-09; 3, T Sponner 12-05.

White Horse AC Birkwood Mollys: 1, I Day 22-00; 2, P Smolka/P Robinson 19-04; 4, P Sharp 14-02.

The Oaks Cedar: 1, R Bennet 89-06; 2, D Birstall 71-01; 3, S Stott 69-04; 4, C Hall 63-15.

The Oaks Ash/Beach: 1, B Poole 186-02; 2, C Hall 145-13; 3, C Kendall 133-14; 4, P Hopkins 113-10.

JT Rodgers Winter Series Lindholme Bonsai: 1, D Watson 78-11; 2, A Jackson 76-11; 3, R Jordan 75-08.

JT Rodgers Round 2 Brafferton F1: 1, T Biggins 108-12; 2, A Conboy 102- 09; 3, A Jackson 92-10.

Leeds Liverpool Canal Redcote: 1, B Mason 14oz; 2, M Paton 11oz; 3, J Mason 7oz.

Match Diary


Kippax Park: Saturday Open, Lapwing or Osprey, 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, 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.

Anglers World Winter Series: River Ouse/Ure, contact Stan Haigh 07542700743 or Dave Miles 07867680479.


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-50s, 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.


Poppleton Lakes: Thursday evening, draw car park 5pm, pools £11, contact Roger 01904 737279.