A decade ago the Gloucester Canal seemed to have seen the last of matchfishing on its 16-mile length following a string of disastrous results – but that could be about to change following the efforts of local match squad Daiwa Gordon League.
For years they stood by and watched their canal go into decline, until last summer when they decided to do something about it. Running matches and pushing the forgotten fishery into the spotlight, Gordon League’s next target is to get the canal lined up for a big event such as the National or Team Champs – and they’ve got the fish catches and results to back it up.
The big bream that the Gloucester is famous for are still there, along with increasing numbers of roach and skimmers. A recent spring league event saw the first 60-peg match on the place for years won with 30lb of bream, with back-up weights including double figures of roach from all along the matchlength. The Gordon League boys couldn’t be happier.
“You’d hardly recognise the canal from the old days – so much of it has been surrounded by shops, industrial estates and houses. Not only does that make long walks a thing of the past, but it has also encouraged the fish to spread out more as opposed to shoaling tightly, which they always used to do when the banks were more open. As a result, that makes for better fishing,” said Gordon League skipper Mark Treasure.
The Gloucester was, in its heyday, the stomping ground of the likes of Kim Milsom and Max Winters, and Mark is hopeful that the team’s efforts, plus the returns, won’t go unnoticed by those behind the UK’s big team and individual matches, as well as open anglers looking for a bit of a change.
“I know that England boss Mark Downes is always after venues that reflect fishing closest to the Continent for his Sensas Challenge, and the Gloucester is just that, being deep, wide and full of quality fish,” Mark continued.
“For the short term, though, we want to spread the word about how good the canal is and wipe out the memories of a decade ago. The canal is completely different today, and when we’re crying out for proper venues for matches, it seems mad not to give it a long, hard look.”