A WORD FROM THE CHAIRMAN
As we will soon be embarking on another Uxbridge Rovers Club Championship series, I thought it would be good to take some time to reflect on the 2016/2017 season and consider some of the highs and lows that made it such an interesting and successful year.
Once again the match series has been very well supported. The total attendance across the nineteen matches was 383, that’s an average of over 20 anglers per match, a record that I’m sure many clubs would be proud of these days. In deciding the fixture list I have tried to include a good balance of natural and commercial venues, and there are a number of reasons for this:
Firstly, it creates a diverse and challenging club championship series that requires a good deal of versatility from the angler, as the various types of venue demand a wide range of techniques and approaches to enable him to compete effectively.
Secondly, by carefully matching the time of year to the venues we choose, hopefully, we can exploit their full potential and get the best out of them, especially in the case of natural waters. As an example, we wouldn’t want to be fishing the Thames in February in possibly freezing and flooded conditions. Probably far better to fish the river in the summer/autumn when it’s likely to be at its best and to go to a commercial fishery in winter where there is a much better chance of catching some fish.
And lastly, the majority of the anglers who attend the club matches that I have spoken to seem to prefer this type of format, and I believe this is reflected in the attendance figures.
Of course, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and It could be argued that we aren’t getting the best out of the commercials by fishing them during the winter, but remember, we are creating a fixture list that has something for everyone, and having commercials in summer would virtually mean a commercial’s only fixture list that would not provide the same diversity as the mixed venues scenario. However, I am always open to suggestions for venues and included twice in this year’s list is Willows Lake. That was put forward by a couple of the lads who fish there on a regular basis, and they inform me that the venue would be suitable with sufficient pegs to stage a club match, and also Old Bury Hill returns after many years, again taken under advisement from several of the match group regulars.
Some of the high points of the past year have been the excellent match winning weights and specimen fish taken on both commercial and natural venues. Let me mention a few:-
Richard Day’s heaviest weight of the season, a superb 100lbs of carp at Royal Berkshire. Fred Fairman’s 85-9-0 at Wood Lane and Dave Mustoe’s 84-12-0 from Pondwood.
Also the biggest fish of the season, Mick Catten’s excellent 14-4-0 carp caught from the prolific Wood Lane fishery.
And what about Ryan Fairclough’s brilliant 28lbs of roach which won him the Knockout Cup, also at Wood Lane!
There were also some fantastic weights from natural venues such as the 66-15-0 of bream caught by Glen Briggs from the Thames at Strand on the Green in July, and Bill Parker’s 56-13-0 haul from the same venue in October. Both of these matches had excellent back up weights and this same venue has thrown up the best roach of the past two match series, both caught by Dave Cook, and this year a superb 8-10-0 bream was caught by Bill Parker.
Also worth a mention is Dave Mustoe’s 46lbs of bream at Goldsworth Park, Mick Catten jnr’s 45-8-0 of bream to win the river Colne match, and on the same day there was a magnificent chub of 5-15-0 caught by Mark Radcliffe and a beautiful rainbow trout of 5lbs caught by Declan Kelly. Incidentally, Declan hooked that trout twice in the match, the first time it snapped his line but the second time he landed it and removed both of his hooks!
On the down side, the incident involving the pole float going through Bill Parkers finger was particularly nasty and I’m sure that anyone who has seen the horrific photo will now think twice when pulling for a break if they are using an elasticated pole.
And then there was the time we turned up at Wood Lane in January to find it frozen….
Unfortunately there were several blanks on that day and again it could be argued that maybe we shouldn’t be fishing this venue in January but what are the options? Go to the river (I don’t think so) or stay at home. I know what I’m going to be doing… I’m going to be going fishing with the lads. And by the way, Mike Smith wasn’t complaining about that Wood Lane match, he won it with over 35lbs of carp….
And finally there was the dramatic incident in the last match of the series, involving an estimated twenty pound carp that was brilliantly landed by Mike on a size 18 hook and 0.12 line only to be lost before it could be weighed in. Poor Mike looked totally bemused following the incident but he has broad shoulders, and I know he will not mind it being highlighted here and also in the Billet Lane match report.
Finally, a total of £6,118 was paid out during the nineteen club matches and for the various competition winners. I’m sure we all know though that it’s not about the money, it’s all about the taking part, the competition, the banter on the bank, and the company and friendship that we get from these matches.
I hope that those of you who fished the last series got as much enjoyment out of it as I did and I hope you all enjoy the next series equally as much.
Let’s do it all again, and the very best of luck to everyone…..
Uxbridge Rovers Club Chairman