Angling: Hot spots to be found in heart of Leeds

Just a short walk from the old Evening Post Building, ''Burley's Paul Mcbrinn shows his bread-caught chub.
Just a short walk from the old Evening Post Building, ''Burley's Paul Mcbrinn shows his bread-caught chub.
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Good catches and the best venues usually involve early starts and digging deep to fund a good day’s sport, expensive travel, day ticket venues, or club memberships can be out of reach for some, so fishing for free is proving appealing to lots of locals at the moment and a couple of the city’s fisheries are in top form.

The once brilliant Roundhay Park – scene of some of the country’s most prestigious contests when under the control of Leeds DASA – hit rock-bottom around the millennium; the arrival of cormorants, traditional methods producing very little, and Leeds giving up the lease put the lake at the bottom of most anglers’ list of places to fish.

New methods are often the start to success stories. The boom in dropshotting and synthetic lure fishing has seen a new breed of angler hit the banks with Roundhay seemingly changing its predominant species to pike and perch and producing some eye-opening fish to those giving it a try.

Leeds City Council has pushed the sports and recreation for all on our waterways, and Roundhay Park along with the River Aire’s waterfront through the city centre is now providing just that for both expert and beginner.

The natural banks of the Aire below Kirkstall are all free to fish but it’s below the recently demolished Evening Post buildings that things really start to change. Huge nets of chub are caught every winter with the best methods being liquidised bread through a feeder and flake on the hook.

Trout, and the recently introduced Environment Agency barbel also show, so be prepared.

Downstream of the City Station’s dark arches, the council’s public walkways and Transpennine way make the river accessible for everyone and the summer months see good bags of roach to maggot and caster with natural baits like elderberry sorting the bigger fish.

As the Aire and Calder navigation starts around Clarence Dock, the river often produces the unexpected with some of the biggest river trout I have ever seen, but again it’s the dropshot/lure anglers reaping the rewards at the moment with perch to over a kilo taking lures of all patterns through all the locks and wharves of south Leeds.

The only thing needed now is a park and ride for anglers and the job’s a good ‘un’!

Having only last week passed on the good news of Leeds’ Kayleigh Smith’s inclusion to the England Ladies international team, it seems the men are looking at some bad news regarding their attempts to win back-to-back golds at this years European Championships.

The match, regarded by most as second only to the FIPSed World Championships, looks highly unlikely to go ahead.

Belarus – the former Soviet Union State – are to host this year’s championships on the Zaslavsky rowing course close to Minsk, a venue I know would have been ideally suited to the talent of the England team.

And though nothing would be taken for granted, medals would have been expected.

It has recently been reported that Angling Trust International events manager Dick Clegg OBE stated that Drennan Team England were unlikely to take part due to a multitude of problems regarding cost, visas, insurance, and the fact that the Belarus Embassy didn’t know the event was taking place.

I spoke on May 13 with a representative from the Angling Trust, who was not aware of any international problems and was not able to confirm that the decision to pull the team out had been made.

However, Clegg’s decision-making at international level has been proved to be second to none, to my knowledge, and if he says we aren’t going, I wouldn’t bet against it.