Decision made by the gaffer yesterday this final round was going ahead and 41 brave souls turned out in the snow and ice. The staff had done their best yesterday to clear as many pegs as possible of thick ice, unfortunately there was still ice breaking to do for some, whilst others like me were fortunate enough to have some clear water in front of them.



Attendance not surprisingly was down slightly so only seven anglers were competing in my section today instead of the normal 12, but I didn't expect it to be any easier as the five pegs left out would have been poor anyway, so all seven of us were on the better pegs or at least you'd have thought so.
As I arrived at my peg 44 on scarecrow point I could see I was in good company, the other 3 anglers around me were all sitting comfortably in the top 12 places and therefore would be trying their damn hardest to stay in the money positions (top 15) post the next five hours.

My inside line and up to 20 metres was clear of ice so I had a limited chuck to the middle which is where I kicked off with a small window feeder loading it with micros and slipping a 4mm pellet into the micro band. No bites after 25 mins so I mixed it up a little trying the maggot feeder and a combination of hook baits. After an hour 3 of us were still bite less with only Matt Brayfied catching a few silvers at 14 metres on the pole from peg 45.
This pattern continued with Matt catching the odd small roach whilst the rest of us were really struggling. Eventually I caught a tiny tiny skimmer on the pole at 14 metres so I kept trying this line hoping for a few more, but it wasn't to be. So for the last hour I gave myself a target of catching just one F1 that would be enough for the section, however the F1s had shut up shop due I guess to the melting ice water dropping through layers of water - not one F1 on the whole of Molands had been caught which is so hard to believe.

Tony Taylor on my right blanked. Matt on my left won the section with 1lb of eyes. And Newt on 46 managed 4 tiny silvers to record 3oz........enough to win the section money by default. Matt would take the main section pick up (lake Win) and my single 1oz fish was enough for 3rd as all the other guys blanked from peg 52 to 60.

The two leaders had both drawn better than average pegs so that was good to see and a head to head battle commenced....... In the end though and as predicted Phil Canning did just enough to record a 3rd in section and therefore retain his crown from last year. But well done Jack Shirley for pushing Phil all the way to the wire and failing by just one single point......unlucky son but I'm sure tonight you'll be happy with the £500 runners up envelope.

In Summary it's been a very tough league to crack, the wintery icy blasts have tested the angling ability and durability of us all, so with a sigh of relief I'm glad to see the back of this league and won't be looking back in despair wondering if only this and that - I was never at the races from the start having to miss the early rounds due to health reasons but still enjoyed competing in a very talented field of anglers. I can now look forward to the Spring festivals at White Acres and the 3 Fish O mania contests I've entered over the next few months.

And finally
A big Thank you to John Burchall and Packington fisheries for running another great winter league. To Cadence Tackle for donating some wonderful prizes today and to all the competitors who mucked in together in a cheerful spirit throughout despite the elements thrown at us. See you all again in October.

AB

The brilliant Phil canning on retaining his winter league crown.



The final top 20 league placings with the top 15 sharing £3400 in prise money 👍.

Picture - very thick ice for one competitor.

Picture - Top 3 more young anglers dominating Phil Canning, Jack Shirley, Shane Whitaker in that order.

I finished 26th - better than I thought given my results and draws lol.