Match fishing circuit ravaged as ounces make the frame

Sub-zero temperatures, biting winds and inches of snow once again wiped out the UK match circuit for a second weekend running as anglers voted with their feet and stayed at home rather than navigating treacherous roads to break the ice and catch very little.

Some fisheries didn’t even bother opening over the weekend, while those that did might as well not have bothered, with as little as 2lb being enough to make the top six on some of the most heavily-stocked complexes in the country.

Rivers didn’t escape the icy blasts either, with almost half the field in the 100-plus-peg River Wye Team Championships failing to weigh in. The weather’s grip reached much further than failing to catch though ¬ one match on the Stainforth & Keadby Canal had to be cancelled as bloodworm and joker supplies couldn’t be sourced!

“The Wye fished well considering the very low temperatures, and there were at least 15 double-figure weights, but half the field did blank ¬ not surprising as it was -9ºC when I drove to the venue” said match organizer Pete Goulding. “Anglers were casting out and by the time they had reeled back in, everything was frozen up. Even the keepnets and weigh slings froze during the weigh-in!”

Several fisheries have kept the aerators on to keep the ice at bay, with Puddledock Farm in Essex running all four pumps, and Moorlands Farm also following suit, although sheer back-breaking hard work from fishery owners and anglers smashing the ice has been the main way of getting matches underway. Some, though, have said enough is enough and are riding out the cold before re-opening.

“People can’t get here and if they do manage it the ponds are frozen over so they can’t fish,” said Tom Kay of the Oak Lakes in North Yorkshire, which has received some of the worst of the weather.

“We’ve been open every day since the weather turned to the cold, but there is a lack of customers, although on the bright side it’s not as bad as last year ¬ the ice is only 3ins thick compared to 14ins last winter!”

“Financially, there could be problems if the weather is prolonged. Last year we had a match on December 12 and then didn’t have another one until early March. We were shut for a long time, but you have to be prepared for it,” Tom added.