THERE was a close contest on the latest Burton Angling Supplies match on the canal at Shobnall and experience triumphed in what was a hard-fought match.
Winner on the day was Brian Johnson, who made good use of the top end peg with a nice net of quality roach for 5lbs 2oz.
Johnson used a tried-and-tested method of fishing hempseed across to the far shelf of the canal. This tactic requires a lot of patience, sometimes taking two hours or more of careful feeding to get the fish interested.
When hempseed works it can pay dividends big time, with good match-winning catches.
Having the end peg, closest to Shobnall, paid off for Johnson who started on the squatt and pinkie while feeding hempseed and caught steadily.
But it wasn't until he switched over to the seed on the hook that his catch rate went up in both numbers and quality.
Another angler who is no stranger to hempseed fishing is John Harper.
He had to wait for three hours before he got his first bite on the bait.
A procession of quality roach followed, but Harper fell agonizingly short on 5lbs for second place.
Rich Hemming is happy when he is feeder fishing for bream, with canals not being his forte. So he did very well to finish third against a talented canal field with 4lbs 7oz.
His catch consisted of mainly small roach, skimmers and perch caught on pinkies.
Rob Harper loves this bit of canal and has won many a contest here in the past. Again, he used his vast experience to amass 3lbs 15oz of roach, skimmers and perch taken on a variety of baits, from squatts to pinkies and casters to finish fourth.
The top four weights all came from the fancied section above the footbridge and the next three came from the other section, which also saw a close contest.
Ted Yearby, sponsor of these matches, is one of the most respected canal anglers around and he put together a net of 50 small fish for a section-winning 3lbs 10½oz.
A gnat's whisker behind Yearby was another experienced angler, Pete Fern with a hemp-caught net of quality roach for 3lbs 10oz, which was an excellent result as he drew on a canal boat that had a radio blasting out and people on the far bank all day.
He was followed by another fine canal angler, Dave Walkerdine, on 3lbs 9oz.
The next match will be on the River Trent at Cuttle Brook.
The Trent is so far fishing better than it has for many years. Whether this is due to the rainfall at the right time or whether the river is really fishing well, I will give it the benefit of the doubt. Only time will tell.
On the still waters, Saturday's match at Stoppos was won yet again by Mick Harvey with another ton-plus weight. Drawing the same peg he won the previous match with a record 141lbs-plus, he again fished meat up in the water for 112lbs 4oz.
Starting on the waggler, Harvey caught carp early on but had to switch to fishing the lead to keep in touch with the fish as they followed his feed down.
Martin Ricketts was a long way behind on 31lbs 8oz of carp and bream caught on the feeder and meat or maggots.
Mark Ricketts finished a close third with a similar net of fish for 30lbs.
Pat Weeks was fourth on 27lbs 8oz and John Wayte fifth with 22lbs 8oz.
The Tuesday evening match was a closer affair, with Reg Whiston taking the honours with six carp and a tench on the method feeder for a winning 35lbs.
John Harper was second again with six carp for 32lbs, taken on pellet or meat up in the water on the waggler.
Phil March stuck to his favorite method feeder and put together a net of carp for 28lbs 8oz and third.
Colin Talbot had a couple of epic tussles on the pole with big carp, losing one huge fish in weed, eventually weighing 21lbs 12oz for fourth.
Tony Torrosian finished fifth on 20lbs 8oz of feeder-caught carp.
The Ferry Bridge Angling Club fished at the Thorpe Constantine Fishery and while it was a glorious day for fishing it proved a frustrating day for most as there were plenty of fish cruising around the surface but few were interested in feeding.
The winner was Kev Redman with 44lbs 12ozs, an all-carp net that he constantly had to swap and change for. He used sweet corn and pellets on a method feeder, alternating his swims between the far and near shelves.
Not far behind was John Moore with 39lbs 2oz, again an all carp net that he caught up in the water on the pellet.
Tony Torrosian had to go into the water to retrieve his top four sections that he lost in the reeds. He still managed to finish third with 35lbs, just beating John Harper on 34lbs.