Round three of the East Midland winter league on the Old Nene at Benwick fished better than expected with all those in the frame breaking into double figures, writes Ken Wade.
Top rod from the fancied B section at the Benwick village end of the match length was Godmanchester tackle dealer Stan Binge.
The pressure is always on when you draw well but Stan is no stranger to the big match atmosphere, having fished for his country not so long ago. He caught a decent net of roach before switching to his chopped worm and caster line to bag three good tench to give him the nod over the chasing pack with 14lb 8oz. Runner-up was Pete Vasey, the Maver Image rod caught roach and a bonus tench for 13lb 9oz. March rod Alex Bates was third on 13lb 6oz, followed by Colin Oakman with 12lb 5oz and Andy Spence with 11lb 13oz.
On the team front Browning Hotrods came out on top with 24 points just ahead of Maver Image on 25 and Stanjay Gold with 29. At the half-way stage it looks to be a three-horse race between league leaders Browning Hotrods on 4 points followed by Maver Image on 7 and Stanjay Gold with 8. If Sensas Mark One are to make it through to the final they will need to win at least one of the remaining fixtures, a tall order this year given the form of the teams already above them.
Sunday saw the big Riverfest take place on the Old Nene at March which is one of the few waters right across the country that seems to get better and better as winter arrives. Unfortunately we have not had a lot of cold or wet weather yet, hence the lower weights than we have come to expect. There has to be a winner though and I am pleased to report that local rod Dave Cooper topped a field of very experienced anglers. Drawn on hot peg 1, the very same peg that won last week, Dave caught steadily all day, netting roach and skimmers on bread punch for a match winning 12lb 1oz. Danny Mason came second with 11lb 14oz, followed by Rob Hurn with 11lb. Three section winners now go through to the grand final on the River Wye in a couple of weeks’ time. They are A section Dave Cooper, B section Danny Mason and C section Andy Moss.
Townsend Lakes fishery owner Colin Begbie once again showed the field he knows his venue well, topping the latest open on the Woodpecker pool with 62lb 2oz. He started on a small pellet feeder, then switched to the long pole line with pellet and sweetcorn to put 62lb 2oz to the scales. Not far off the pace was Andy Adams. He caught on the long pole with pellet for 57lb, followed by Steve Hillman on 45lb 13oz.
Ricky Ashwell has come close to qualifying for the winter final at Rookery Waters over the past couple of weeks. Last week he went right to the top of the list to see him safely through, putting a fine 90lb 2oz net of carp to the scales from Magpie Lake peg 7. Runner up was Tony Dawson with 82lb 12oz and in third place on 53lb 12oz was Vince East. In the regular Wednesday over 60’s match, Will Hadley took the honours with 85lb 12oz from peg 5. Tony Dawson came second with 74lb 10oz, then came John Belshaw with 73lb 10oz.
I think it’s fair to say Fenland Rods match secretary John Smith has had a pretty torrid time at the draw bag this season and when he has drawn well the fish have moved on. Thankfully in the very last match on the clubs fixture list for 2015 it all came good for him as he drew well on the Yew Lake on the Decoy complex, making the right decision to get plenty of maggots and fish for the barbel. He drew peg 13 and fished a bunch of maggots close in to finish the day with 34lb 10oz. Kev Lee came a close second with 31lb 14oz caught on the long pole with cat meat. Then came Tony Nesbett on 29lb 4oz and Dick Warrener 26lb 15oz.
The North Level Drain once again showed some improved form for those fishing the Tydd Gote club match. Match winner Colin Burton caught on small pieces of worm to record a level 10lb.
Coming close was Sammy McSpadden with 9lb 6oz, followed by Andy Greenwood on 7lb 10oz.