Angling: Revelling in the lure of inner-city trout stalking

Darren Starkey's  tench  from Lowther Lake, Allerton Bywater.
Darren Starkey's tench from Lowther Lake, Allerton Bywater.
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Steve Fearnley is away for a week taking advantage of a last-minute invite to fish the River Ebro in northern Spain, where he is hoping to beat his personal best catfish of 148lb.

Meanwhile, the ever-improving water quality in Leeds’ River Aire and its tributaries has brought about a welcome return of wild brown trout.

I, and a number of other anglers, have been lure fishing in and around the city, in the many becks and streams Leeds has to offer, and have had some tremendous sport stalking and catching these little beauties.

So, anyone fancying a spot of urban fly and lure fishing should get out there and try their hand. You might not catch a monster fish but it’s great fun, so give it a go.

My last hour-long session on Farnley beck, with Anthony Glasgow jnr, resulted in six of these ‘little fellas’!

May is traditionally the time of year when many English match anglers make the exodus across the Irish Sea to fish the lucrative Irish Festivals, and whilst the massive nets of fish that used to be caught are no more, the competition is still as fierce.

The biggest and most prestigious festival is The Classic, which is fished over three days in and around Enniskillen on upper and lower lough Erne.

And although Yorkshire hopes were running high after the first day, which was won by Leeds angler Lee Kerry, this year’s event was dominated by local Irish match anglers.

The top-four places were taken by the boys in green; this year’s winner was Jordan Hall from Lisnakea with a total weight of 59.4 kilos.

Best of the Yorkshire contingent this year was Andrew Hampson, from Chapel Allerton, who finished in ninth place.

Local match ace, Dave Armitage, is running a series of matches on the Aire and Calder Canal at Pollington and Rawcliffe.

The latest match was won with over 36lb of bream. In fact, 30lb-plus weights were recorded in every section and the lowest-recorded weight was over 10lbs. Dave told me that most weights have come to the swimfeeder method, with some skimmers also being caught on the pole.

These matches are open to all and are being run every Sunday up to and including June 12, with an additional match on Spring Bank Holiday Monday.

If you would like to fish any of these matches call Dave on 07939 35808.

Local still waters are eventually warming up after what seems like an eternity, and specimen hunters are enjoying some early-season evening/night sport.

Lowther Lake has been producing the odd specimen fish and, although this is not an easy water, for those prepared to put time and effort in, the rewards can be worth it.

Darren Starkey, from York, enjoyed an evening session there last week and was rewarded with a tench over 6lb and an 8lb-plus bream, both falling to small boilies fished on ledger tactics, casting 40-50m into the deeper water.

Aire and Calder Spring Series: 1, D Armitage 18-14; 2, P Duffy 16-12; 3, G Bateman 10-06; 4, K Weighell and P Thurlow 8-10.

Bobco BSR A/C at Brafferton (Ghost Lake): 1, S Rodgers 95-11; 2, D Wright 84-08; 3, S Rodgers 64-12; 4, G Wright 45-06.

Sunday’s Result (Pollington): 1, A Thompson 36-00; 2, S Edson 30-14; 3, D Armitage 30-06; 4, H Cutts 30-00.

Viking Saturday Open (Hawk Pond): 1, J Kenworthy (Willy Worms) 102-07; 2, C Shaw 51-10; 3, R Summerscales 48-15; 4, T Davis 47-01.

AJ Tackle at Viking Fishery (Deer) May Day Bank Holiday: 1, B Smith 52-06; 2, D Beggs 51-07; 3, N Easter 46-15.

South Elmsall AC (Viking Deer): 1, G Barker 63-04; 2, G Clarke 37-09; 3, J Morris 37-00.

Meanwood AC (Viking Hawk): 1, W Scales 92-05; 2, M Brotherton 64-10; 3, C Benyon 55-01; 4, D Glovere 54-09.

South Leeds Cons Club AC (Viking Fox): G Williamson 96-13; 2, A Longbottom 91-02; 3, B Stanley 82-12; 4, M Jackson 49-06.

Merlin AC (Viking Deer): 1, M Scaife 73-08; 2, S Burdekin 62-02; 3, A Burdekin 56-06; 4, D Coote 48-08.

Rodley Barge, Raker – Horseshoe: 1, D Lawson 76-06; 2, M Rockingham 64-10; 3, J Squires 59-04; L Hook 51-00.

Angel Lakes Open Lookout: 1, J Foster 98-14; 2, T Wilson 77-04; 3, L Slater 58-03; 4, C Owers 49-08; 5, A Medows 45-12; 6, C Gowling 42-07.

Angel Lakes Open Bowes: 1, J Dryden 70-13; 2, D Pearson 56-07; 3, J Foster 49-05.