Following qualifiers held across much of the canal network and in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, 56 pairs contested the Angling Trust & Canal and River Trust Pairs Grand Final of this prestigious and unique competition, held on the Erewash canal, Long Eaton on 21st October 2017.
The weather forecast was, for once, pretty accurate so whilst the day remained fairly dry there were strong winds throughout with gusts up to 40 mph. Clearly not good for fishing. However, as the results show the anglers coped extremely well and the canal, hosting its first big match for a decade, produced a really good match. Indeed 1.840 kilos was needed to make the top twenty.
Individually it was Paul Turner from the West Midlands, arguably the most in-form canal angler around at the moment, who took the honours. Paul drew peg A1 below Sandiacre Lock and made no mistake putting a mixed bag of perch, roach and skimmers on the scales for a total of 6 kilos. Indeed A section provided all the top weights with Lancashire angler Daz Shaw taking second with 3.880 kilos and Jason Evans from Bromsgrove finishing third with 3.250 kilos. Fourth was James Carty with 3.050 just shading Ian Freeborn with 2.950.
Of course the Pairs event was the main feature of the day. Stafford anglers David Brown and Robert Lloyd became the 2017 Pairs Champions with a magnificent 105 points out of a possible 112. David scored 50 points in A section whilst Robert scored 55 in B. Runners – up were local angler Tony Barker and his partner Mick Hatchard from Walsall with another great score – 100 points. Third pair were Jason Evans and Mark Robertson from Bromsgrove with 97 points. Two Pairs, individual winner Paul Turner and his brother Neil and Lee Newson and Graham Smith tied for fourth place, but with Paul’s winning weight it was the Turners who secured the final top spot.
Further up the canal near Ilkeston 16 youngsters up to the age of 16 contested the AT/CRT Junior Championship. Again they coped pretty well with the sometimes ferocious winds with the top five all recording very respectable weights.
Champion was Liam Murphy from Liverpool with a particularly good weight of 1.620 kilos from peg 75. Another angler making the long journey, Billy Kirk, narrowly finished second with 1.490 kilos. Billy from West Sussex drew peg 80. Third spot went to another West Sussex lad, Thomas Clark, who weighed 1.290 kilos at peg 89. Fourth was James Peet with 0.900 kilos. Fifth Billy Pitman with 0.750 and sixth was Kieran Woodward with 0.720.