Angling: Military-style clampdown set to reel in illegal anglers

The Wildlife Crime Police Unit, bailiffs and Angling Trust officers ' all part of the River Aire's Operation Clampdown.
The Wildlife Crime Police Unit, bailiffs and Angling Trust officers ' all part of the River Aire's Operation Clampdown.
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It’s coming to something when getting out on the river bank comes with a military-style codename but, following numerous reports of illegal fishing during the rivers’ coarse-fish close season, it was only a matter of time!

Operation Clampdown took place on the River Aire, downstream of the city centre and concentrated its efforts on the four miles of river bank and towpaths controlled by Leeds & District Amalgamated Society of Anglers in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust.

Club officials and bailiffs joined forces with the West Yorkshire Rural and Wildlife Crime Police Unit and Angling Trust officers in patrols from the river bridge at South Accommodation Road down to the club’s limits at Woodlesford.

Several anglers were found without the appropriate licences and were advised of the regulations. Patrols are planned for other stretches of the Aire around the city in the near future. But let’s just hope that police vans and regular patrols are not going to become an accepted part of angling and the environment for the actions of a selfish few.

The madness of the close season, that could see a river angler facing court proceedings, saw Round 2 of the spring series held on the Aire and Calder Navigation throw up some brilliant weights of coarse fish – with all of the anglers fishing legally and within the law.

Are the bream and roach on the canal different to the roach and bream on the river? Why is one protected but not the other? The law just has to change.

Results of the Aire and Calder matches show the fish to be on the feed and in pristine condition with Barnsley veteran Geoff Boucher claiming an early-series win with five bream and a few roach for a total weight of 17-12. All of his fish fell to the six-metre whip.

Preston Innovations star, Steve Crossley, came in a close second with 17-04 of roach with a couple of big skimmers as a booster, while Mirfield’s Brian Farrar took third with an all-roach net of 11lb. Nearer to home, on the same canal’s top arm at Allerton Bywater, results were equally impressive with big bream on the feed.

Dave Stanhope led the field with over 29lb of slabs. Traditional tactics of feeder and worm with a light fishmeal or sweet groundbait seem to be best and double figures were needed to make the prize list.

The new trout season got away to a good start with the Washburn Valley’s Fewston Reservoir providing some terrific fly action with rainbows to over 4lb and rod averages of over nine fish.

Feeding habits are just starting to change with fish beginning to follow emerging nymphs.

Best specimen of the week went to fishery regular Tim Pryke who banked a rainbow of 4-02 that fell to a Montana. Greens and blacks seem to be the best colours.

Latest results

White Horse AC, Poppleton, Horseshoe: 1, P Robinson 30-04; 2, J Caven 22-12; 3, G Greenhall 11-00; 4, I Day 9-04.

Allerton Bywater AC, Fleet Lane: 1, Dave Stanhope 29-03; 2, Tony Layfield 21-06; 3, Tim Hannon 18-12.

Aire & Calder, Fleet Lane: 1, Mick Sheffield 41-06; 2, Steve Faunthorpe 32-04; 3, Paul Revis 30-02

Aire & Calder Canal, Great Heck: 1, G Boucher Barnsley 17-12; 2, S Crossley Preston Innovations 17-04; 3, B Farrar Mirfield 11-00; 4, S Wright Middy 10-02; 5, P Dwyer Drake Floats 9-02.

Aire & Calder Canal, Heck & Bourne Moor: 1, Chris Burton, Anglers World 36-06; 2, Brian Farrer, Mirfield 12-15; 3, Steve Lowther, Diawa Dons 10-08; 4, Stan Haigh, Anglers World 9-12; 5, Gary Matthews, Mirfield 9-05;6, Eddie Brydon, Maver Dynamite 9-00.

JT Rodgers Winter League, Island Lake, Brafferton: 1, D Jackson 37-02; 2, T Biggins 29-11; 3, D Watson 24-02.

JT Rodgers Brafferton Winter League ,F1 Lake: 1, D Watson 121-05; 2, I Jordan 110-01; 3, D Jackson 88-11. Final League Positions: 1, S Phelan 69pts; 2, D Watson 68pts; 3, Tie D Jackson/ R Richardson 67pts.

Moor Monkton Pools, Sunday Spring League, Cyprio/Match: 1, Matt Wharton 54-07; 2, Martin Dodsworth 47-04; 3, Ollie Hewitt 46-09; 4, Lee Smith 45-03.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover, All Pools: 1, Ash Bull 67-10; 2, Dave Pollitt 57-08; 3, Adrian Bolton 50-01; 4, Steve Holmes 41-02.

Moor Monkton Pools, Sunday Spring League, Cyprio/Match: 1, Ben Fisk 64-13; 2, Dave Pollitt 52-11; 3, Steve Mazza 47-11; 4, Matt Gallagher 47-07.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover, All Pools: 1, Tom Bainbridge 63-11; 2, Garry Watson 57-03; 3, Steve Holmes 55-02; 4, Andy Gallant 46-07.

Kippax Park Fishery, Tuesday Open, Osprey: 1, Ashley Bull 90-15; 2, Andy Rymer 56-00; 3, Bill Brown 49-05; 4, Johnny Wake 48-06.

Kippax Park Fishery, Saturday Open, Osprey: 1, Steve Pearson 56-01; 2, Andy Middleton 50-12; 3, Andy Rymer 46-14; 4, Jimmy Redmond 45-00.

Kippax Park Fishery, Tuesday Open, Lapwing: 1, John Brogden 71-00; 2, Cliff Bacon 61-12; 3, Luca Wilshaw 58-00; 4, Steve Pearson 50-14.

Kippax Park Fishery, Saturday Open, Lapwing: 1, Neil Rymer 95-06; 2, Dave Cockrill 42-05; 3, Carl Cronei 38-01; 4, Steve Pearson 33-13.

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk): 1, D Sawyer 55-09; 2, S Gibbins 45-08; 3, B Hardcastle 40-12.

South Leeds Cons AC (Viking Fox): 1, B Stanley 51-08; 2, R Rodgers 40-04; 3, M Jackson 33-14.

Colton AC (Viking Hawk): 1, D Stainthorpe 45-08; 2, I Asquith 41-08; 3, J Mackenzie 31-04.

Corner Pin AC (Viking Deer): 1, J Taylor 45-04; 2, S Walker 39-00; 3, A Rix 32-08.

Angel Lakes, Sunday Open Lookout: 1, John Dryden 75-04; 2, Davey Pearson 55-08; 3, Rob Emery 42-08.

Match Diary

Saturday

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: Saturday Open, Hawk Pond, 30 pegs, £18, contact 01405785206.

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

Kippax Park: Winter Series, Osprey Lake only, contact Stan 0796700046.

Sunday

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.

Monday

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.

Tuesday

Kippax Park: over-50s, draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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