CANALS may be declining in popularity, but they are still capable of providing spectacular spring sport, as Dave Dixon proved by amassing a phenomenal 97lb 11oz of quality fish in just five hours.
The Leeds-based ace took full advantage of favourable conditions and a good draw in a recent event on Yorkshire¹s Aire and Calder Canal to compile one of the biggest match weights taken from a canal in recent years.
Colmic-backed Dave obliterated the previous match record for the entire canal by a huge 51lb after he opted to fish worm and caster at 13 metres under the willow tree on peg 47 of the notoriously wide stretch at Woodlesford.
Action was instant for the 43-year-old CNC engineer, with a constant stream of chub and bream to 4lb coming to his net within minutes of the all-in.
Dave believes the secret to his success lay in the feeding regime he adopted for the day, which helped him to hold the mammoth shoal of fish in his snaggy swim throughout the duration of the competition.
He told Angling Times: "Every time I caught a smaller fish I knew it was time to re-feed. During the match I went through two pints of casters and a kilo of worms to keep the fish in my swim. If you feed like this on most canals where bonus fish are present you have a good chance of keeping them where you want them." The keen match angler, who was just one fish away from breaking the magical ton barrier, believes anglers who dismiss the nation's canals in favour of more fashionable commercial venues don't know what they are missing:
"People came up to me after the match and asked whether I was bothered that I hadn't quite got 100lb. To be honest, I'm not bothered at all. I've just more than doubled the match record, so I can't complain!
"This canal is superb, people just don't realise how good the sport can be.
There are bream, chub, roach, perch, tench and carp it's like a river and a stillwater rolled into one!" said Dave, who finished well clear of second-placed Jeff Allinson, who managed a superb 25lb all-roach net.