Benwick Old Nene is HAJAC season opener pick for angler Rob

HAJAC winter League winner from Round 1' 'Rob Hewison
HAJAC winter League winner from Round 1' 'Rob Hewison
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Match anglers from across the area have been eagerly awaiting the start of the HAJAC Winter League since the turn of the year.

Despite the wintry weather the venues chosen often produce some top quality winter action.

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Round One on Factory Bank at Ramsey and the Old Nene at Benwick did not disappoint those taking part – in fact the series has attracted quite a few top anglers from outside of the area.

In years-gone-by quite a few of the anglers fishing on Sunday would not have been allowed to enter, but times have changed and the league has drawn in teams and anglers to keep the numbers up, producing a very healthy and competitive event.

Everyone was expecting Factory Bank to produce all the leading weights but in fact it was Rob Hewison taking the individual honours from the Old Nene at Benwick.

He drew in the favoured pegs at the village end and caught well all day, fishing the whip and pole with pinkie over ground bait for a match winning 14lb 6oz. Pushing him all the way to the final whistle was Anthony Williams. He had a similar catch but came up just short with 13lb 11oz. On the team front a strong Tackle and Bates “A” team topped round one with 24 points, followed by Sensas Mark One White with 27.

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Full result: 1 R Hewison, PI Black Horse 14lb 6oz; 2 A Williams, Sensas Mark One 13lb 11oz; 3 A Curless, Browning Hotrods, 13lb 8oz; 4 A Bates, Tackle & Bates, 13lb 7oz; 5 S Cable, Browning Hotrods, 12lb 5oz.

Teams: 1 Tackle & Bates A, 24pts; 2 Mark One White, 27; jt 3 PI Black Horse and Stanjay Silver, both 29; 5 Bagpuss Select, 30.

On to the local match fishing scene now and over at Townsend Lakes it was fishery boss Colin Begbie back in top form, putting 37lb 9oz to the scales taken from the Kingfisher Lake.

Drawn on peg 28 Colin alternated between a small method feeder and a long pole line, taking a net of skimmers on soft pellet.

Runner-up from 29 was John Whitcombe; he opted to fish maggot on a small cage feeder, topping up with skimmers on the pole with maggot over groundbait. Third place went to Derrick Upson on 9lb 14oz.

After several successful silver fish only matches at Buttonhole Fishery the weekend saw the first normal open match at the venue since the turn of the year, so anglers could try to tempt a few carp, even at this time of year.

The lake had ice on it after several hard frosts so expectations were not that high, but most of those fishing were in for a shock as the carp fed in numbers.

Leading the way with a weight more akin to summer action was Steve Poole. He drew peg 21 and had an excellent three net haul for a weight of 140lb 12oz of carp.

Steve fished the bomb with banded maggot, a clever adaption that has been working well over the past couple of months at several other waters.

In second place was Dave Berry. He put 73lb 8oz to the scales, followed by Richard Francis with 66lb 4oz.

This Saturday the fishery reverts back to a silver fish only match. To get booked in call Chris at Buttonhole on 07928 222462.

It was rough, windy and cold for those fishing the midweek Tydd Gote match on the North Level drain, but thankfully there were still fish willing to feed. Match winner was John Taylor who just happened to be on peg 6, which was the Golden Peg, so his match-winning 9lb saw him going home with two winner’s envelopes! Fishing the pole with pinkie over groundbait John caught small roach and rudd all day. In second place was Dave Williams with 5lb 3oz, followed by Sammy McSpadden on 4lb 2oz.

The March Twenty Foot Drain hit top form just after Christmas.

Alistair Ogilvie topped a small but very good field in a match run by Rookery Waters manager Alex Bates with a fine 33lb 12oz net. Bates also ran a very successful New Year’s Eve match on the Old Nene, at March, a venue that nearly always fishes well at this time of year.

Leading the way with 30lb 11oz was Bates, with the March rod knowing the water so well.

He put together a net of roach with the odd perch and skimmer for a very good match win.

The in-form Ogilvie was not too far behind, catching 28lb 3oz, ahead of both Tony Watling on 22lb 1oz and Martin Roper with 21lb 13oz.

With the carp not really feeding in numbers during the cold spell over Christmas, Buttonhole Fishery organised a number of silver fish-only matches.

In the latest match, Liam Wagg, 16, showed the more experienced anglers the way to go with a very respectable 19lb 14oz net of roach.

Sam Hawkes weighed in with 19lb 8oz and Mykie Pollard was third with 16lb 12oz.