With the Gloucester Canal coloured up from overnight water movements to the Bristol reservoirs the 120 competitors of this year’s Angling Trust Winter League Final on 6th July were expecting a few bites especially after last week’s good practice match. 

Unfortunately for most it was a struggle and a long wait between bites as most of the fish switched off in the bright and sometimes breezy conditions. 

Only with a couple of hours to go did the bream on Hempstead Bend started to feed and four anglers here started to catch on the pole, one angler even subduing a 7lb carp on his light bream gear.  With little major action reported elsewhere the winner was expected from these pegs.  

So it was a complete surprise when the weights were in to find that peg K1 at Castle Lane threw up the winning weight for Preston Innovations Delcac rod, Robbie Taylor. #

It turned out that with 90 minutes to go Robbie was virtually fishless when suddenly his tip kept flying round and he ended up putting 13.320kg of skimmers to 2lb into his net, and so recorded an unexpected but well earned victory. 

Another angler too, just pipped the Hempstead Bend pegs and Daiwa Gordon League rod, Paul Waddington used his local knowledge to perfection to put 12.700kg of skimmers on the scales from peg H10 at Pilot, catching on long pole and feeder.  Third place finally went to a Hempstead Bend peg 47, where Alistair Chisholm caught 7 bream to 7lb on long pole and bloodworm for 12.100kg. 

On the team front probably the best four teams in the country took the top four  places in a very close fought battle which saw Drennan Barnsley Blacks take the title of Angling Trust Winter League Champions 2014 with a points total of 81 points, winning by a mere single point, and despite not having practiced.  So if you needed proof ‘Practice does not make Perfect’. 

The unlucky runners up were Team Daiwa Dorking who’s 80 points total fell agonisingly short of regaining the title they lost last year.  Mark Addy gained bragging rights over his England Manager partner Mark Downes as his Drennan North West team finished third with 77 points and Starlets were fourth with 75 points.

The Angling trust would like to thank Mark Treasure and his team for all their hard work in running this event.