Canal ace Matt Herbert takes top honours on Grand Union Canal

Teams looking to practise for the forthcoming AT Team Champs semi-final on the canal have been out in force.

Although melting ice chilled the water, making for low weights in the majority of sections, Matt Herbert enjoyed a runaway win with 17-0-0.

Drawing peg A1 on the Bailey’s section, Drennan Oxford rod Matt won with over 10lb to spare from Shakespeare’s Paul Abbott – enjoying a dream start with 5lb of skimmers in the opening hour on breadpunch to take a lead he was never to relinquish.

Switching to his far-bank joker lines, more skimmers followed among the roach and a trio of perch – the biggest around 2lb  – helped seal the win for a quite remarkable weight given the context of the match.

“Bread can either last an hour or all match so I was amazed to be still catching on it in the third hour,” Matt said. “Within the first half-hour I had bubbles coming up in the peg and was wondering whether any skimmers were about when I hooked one of 1lb 8oz.

“The peg just got better from then on and although I wasn’t bagging, I was always getting bites. But those perch were a real bonus at the end. Strangely, I fed a chopped worm line and never had a bite on it!”

On the team front, canal kings Fox Match Black Horse showed their class to win by a point from reigning Team Champs holders Kamasan Starlets, although most will be hoping the canal improves in time for the second round!