Road to Wem­b­ley: Round 2

● Top marks for Barston ● Wye rated A+

Anglers Mail - - Front Page -

HE sec­ond set of votes are in for the An­gler’s Mail sur­vey to dis­cover which venue de­serves the mod­ern era’s ac­co­lade of ‘The Wem­b­ley of Match Fish­ing’.

After ma­jor for­mat and rule changes for the 2018 Au­gust Bank Hol­i­day Week­end fes­ti­val on the War­wick­shire Avon at Eve­sham, An­gler’s Mail can­vassed opin­ion from over 50 lead­ing match scene fig­ures.

Eve­sham was dubbed the sport’s Wem­b­ley in the 1980s, and it’s a tag that is still heard to­day, but many top fig­ures feel the ti­tle now be­longs else­where.

Last week the first batch of 15 re­spon­dents de­liv­ered their ver­dict. Here are the views from Week Two, from an­glers who nom­i­nated com­mer­cial and nat­u­ral venues…

TCom­mer­cial fish­eries

Jamie Hughes, twice Fish’O’Ma­nia cham­pion: “Barston Lake. I love how it’s such a ver­sa­tile venue, where win­ning weights can be of large carp on run­ning line or skim­mers on a pole.”

Andy Old­ham, Fren­zee­backed South York­shire ace: “To qual­ify as match fish­ing’s ver­sion of Wem­b­ley, I think a venue needs to hold most species and to of­fer all types of wag­gler, feeder and pole fish­ing. Lar­ford Lakes fits the bill. An even depth on 99 per cent of the pegs gives a level play­ing field.”

Rob­bie Tay­lor, Daiwa Dorking team­ster: “Barston for me. It can host a full match on just the one lake, and lots of dif­fer­ent meth­ods come into play, de­pend­ing on where you draw and the con­di­tions, which tests your skill set all the time.”

Steve Open­shaw, Wir­ral­based fish­ery owner and com­mer­cials specialist: “Partridge Lakes, be­cause like Wem­b­ley is for Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, it’s my home venue.”

Con­nor Bar­low, 2015

Bri­tish Open champ from Manch­ester: “Older an­glers who grew up fish­ing nat­u­ral venues will favour those, but for me Partridge Lakes is the best venue, with great sport, fa­cil­i­ties and scenery. It also has enough pegs to hold big matches ev­ery day.”

Gareth Lam­bert, feeder ace from Manch­ester: “Barston. A stun­ning venue with stun­ning fish, where feeder and pole for carp and sil­ver fish both work.”

Les Thomp­son, West Mids­based former Maver Match

This champ: “Sev­eral venues could lay claim to match fish­ing’s Wem­b­ley. Cud­more, Hay­field and White Acres spring to mind, but for me Lar­ford Lakes takes it. The venue that gave us Match This and now Golden ■ Andy Old­ham Reel, also host­ing sum­mer and sil­ver fish fes­ti­vals, pairs champs, and a sell-out win­ter league. Great for spec­ta­tors and a very cen­tral lo­ca­tion.”

Nat­u­ral venues

Dean Bar­low, Eng­land Feeder in­ter­na­tional: “I’d have to say the Trent, be­cause the Who’s Who of Angling has fished it.” Hadrian Whit­tle, Here­ford match ace: “For me it has to be Bel­mont on the River Wye, which of­fers ex­cep­tional and unique sport through au­tumn and win­ter. It’s the ul­ti­mate test, with big bags of many species, and lots of dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, from low and clear, to a rag­ing flood with 12 ft of ex­tra wa­ter. Whip, pole, Bolo’, stick, wag­gler and feeder all come into play. Sim­ply a stun­ning venue.”

Paul Turner, Wolver­hamp­ton match ace: “The StaffsWorces­ter Canal at Wom­bourne. Just full of fish!”

Lee Har­ri­son, Dren­nan Barns­ley Blacks team­ster: “The River Wye takes some beat­ing as a mod­ern era Wem­b­ley from a nat­u­ral venue per­spec­tive. Sev­eral com­mer­cial fish­eries host ■ Con­nor Bar­low big pres­ti­gious Fi­nals, but I pre­fer events where carp are not in­volved.”

Danny Martin, Wi­gan MG: “Most would say the Trent, but for me my lo­cal Leigh Canal was al­ways Wem­b­ley, watch­ing the leg­ends that lined its banks.”

Scott Geens, Sen­sas Star­lets: “The Nene at Peter­bor­ough hosted the Win­ter League Fi­nal, which was al­ways the hard­est team match to win, com­ing through a hard re­gional league, then a semi-fi­nal against some of the best teams in the coun­try. To fish and win a Fi­nal on the Nene was al­ways the most sat­is­fy­ing, and that’s why it’s my Wem­b­ley.”

Colin Oak­man, Brown­ing Hotrods: “The Trent or Nene Win­ter League and Match­man of the Year Fi­nals were the pin­na­cle as I was grow­ing up.”

Nick Moss, Dren­nan Le­ices­ter skip­per: “There are sev­eral Wem­b­leys nowa­days. As a team an­gler I’d most like to fish the AT WL Fi­nal on De­coy and the Fen Drains around March.

For carp an­glers I think it’s The Glebe, with Tun­nel Barn Farm a close sec­ond. Then there’s the Trent and Bough Beech for nat­u­ral venue feeder fans. And Ire­land’s Erne sys­tem is like an over­seas Wem­b­ley!” ■ Lee Har­ri­son

■ Spec­ta­tors en­joy­ing the ac­tion at Barston Lakes. Could it be match fish­ing’s Wem­b­ley?

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