Angling: Topcliffe receives a big seal of approval

A common seal spotted at the weir pool at Topcliffe on the River Swale.
A common seal spotted at the weir pool at Topcliffe on the River Swale.
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Yorkshire Water’s Thruscross, Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs in the Washburn Valley continue to produce top sport despite weather conditions changing daily.

The wild browns of Thruscross are now responding to nymph, buzzers and spyder patterns, though open water remains difficult, those casting to tree line cover are catching well.

Lower down the valley Fewston is the place to go if you are in need of more action as the more densely stocked water produced over 825 rainbows to visiting rods last week giving an average of 7.3.

Best fish of the week awards went to Vincent Jones with a rainbow of 4-08 and John Peck with a stunning blue trout of 4-02, both fish fell to the now mandatory black buzzer.

Coarse anglers are not missing out as roach and skimmers have decided to feed on neighbouring Swinsty and catches approaching 25lb are easily achievable, normal distance feeder tactics are proving best though the waggler will come into its own as the weather warms up and winds drop. Day tickets for all reservoirs and methods are available by machine from the site office.

Following the near ton up weights recorded from the Aire and Calder canal around Great Heck and Pollington, things returned to normal last week though were still pretty impressive.

Mirfield’s Brian Farrar was disappointed to draw unfancied peg 80 but kept the bream trend going with 10 quality skimmers for a winning 20lb, showing the shoals are on the move before spawning and no-one should be beaten before the start.

Runners up spot was again filled by Pontefract’s Gary Brown who is quickly becoming one of the most consistent anglers on this circuit.

His weight of 18-12 was taken using the usual chopped worm and caster groundbait feeder from a distance past the boat channel.

What originally was thought to be an April fool’s joke has now turned into a costly search and rescue operation involving one very large and bemused common seal.

Over the years most of our older river anglers have witnessed seals following spring running fish up tidal reaches of the Ouse and Wharfe, their trips usually ending at the tidal limits of Naburn and Tadcaster weirs.

This year’s marathon mammal has pulled out all the stops and unbelievably made it to the River Swale’s iconic weir pool at Topcliffe, one of Leeds and District’s premier angling venues and a swim of about 90 miles from the sea.

For over a month I have been following various animal, marine and angling groups comments on how and why the seal arrived at Topcliffe, one quote from a supposed expert has to be shared; he claimed: “We think the seal must have swam and travelled through York.”

I do hope this chap’s words of wisdom are not paid for through our rod licence money, How else did it get there? Taxi.

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Results

Aire & Calder, round 5 Great Heck: 1, B Farrar 20-00; 2, G Brown 18-12; 3, M Highe 17-08; 4 S Wright 16-00. League to date: 1, A Beech 186pts; 2, S Haigh 183pts; 3, S Clegg 173pts.

Yorkshire Tykes Poppleton Horseshoe: 1, B Rymer 96-08; 2, M Hare 60-10; 3, B Turner 47-08.

Bradford Fun Poppleton Railway: 1, A Streetly 64-11; 2, D Lunn 53-12; 3, R Earnshaw.

Horseshoe Wednesday Anglers: 1, G Chalk 89-12; 2, B Pallister 85-10; 3, S Holmes 75-08.

York Nomads Poppleton: 1, G Peak 96-08; 2, G Fennell 49-04; 3, D Rollinson 48-00.

Allerton Bywater Aire & Calder Fleet Lane: 1, Chris Musgrave 9-05; 2, Ricky Gaunt 7-07; 3, Manny Haigh 4-10.

JT Rodgers Forest Lane Oakland: 1, S Phelan 61-03; 2, D Shaw 57-03 ; 3, A Jackson 47-03.

Summer League Tollerton Heron: 1, I Jordan 62-08; 2, D Ball 50-12; 3, D Watson 47-13.

JT Rodgers Southfield Reservoir: 1, A Conboy 67-04; 2, T Biggins 58-12; 3, M Pearson 32-11.

Park Piscatorials Highfield: 1, C Broadley 36-00; 2, D Hicks 28-06; 3, T Spooner 15-13.

West Yorkshire Wagglers Raker: 1, J Brierley 121-00; 2, J Slater 70-08; 3, G Hargreaves 52-10.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover: 1, Garry Watson 78-07; 2, Gordon Wright 74-04; 3, Adrian Bolton 73-01; 4, Paul Gallagher 54-01.

Moor Monkton Pools, Spring Series: 1, Tom Bainbridge 111-15; 2, Graham Broadley 111-02; 3, Kenny Priestley 83-11; 4, Alex Warren 81-15.

Kippax Park, Lapwing: 1, Jonny Kenning 108-10; 2, Steve Howie 98-02; 3, Andy Barker 86-06; 4, Steve Pearson 81-15.

White Horse AC, Viking/Deer: 1, P Sharp 83-06; 2, D Hurley 75-06; 3, I Day 71-00; 4, D Brier 70-04.

ArmleyAC at Raker Horseshoe: 1, M Cooper 81-12, 2, C C Greenwood 42-7, 3, P Howard 28-12, 4, R Lightfoot 27-0.

Viking Saturday Open (Deer): 1, S Conlon 63-0, 2, S Gibbins 57-01, 3, R Green 54-12, 4, R Padgett 52-06.

White Horse (Armley) AC (Viking Deer): 1, R Sharpe 83-06, 2, D Hurley 75-06, 3, I Day 71-0, 4, D Brice 70-03.

Merlin AC (Viking Fox): 1, D Coote 122-0, 2, A Jackson 102-0, 3, C Baldwin 66-0, 4, W Sefton 61-02.

Rothwell AS (Viking Hawk): 1, F Britton 137-10, 2, G Davey 76-08, 3, D Taylor 67-06, 4 J Fell 63-14.

Match Diary

Saturday

Kippax Park: Saturday Open, Lapwing or Osprey 07967000746.

Poppleton: Saturday Open, pools £15. draw cafe 10am, contact Roger 01904737279.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscars draw 8.30, 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, Deer Pond, 24 pegs, £16, (01405) 785206.

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

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 50’s: 30 Pegs, tickets £15, contact 01845 520110.

Langwith Lakes over 60’s: 30 Pegs, tickets £10, contact 01904 431874.

Tollerton Ponds over 50’s: tickets £16 contact 01347 838115.

Tuesday

Kippax Park: Over 50’s Draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.

Wednesday

Leeds & District: Moor Monkton Pools, Draw 10am, contact 07967000746.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscars draw 8.30, 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 evening, draw car park 5pm, pools £11, contact Roger 01904 737279.

The British Divers Marine Life Rescue Team search for the common seal at Topcliffe.

Angling: Rescue team led a merry dance by Topcliffe seal

Wildsociety supremo Vittoria Conti (far right) with just a few of the day's workers on the River Aire clean-up at Thwaites Mill.

Anglers show app-titude to forge new friendships