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Match Report - Canterbury Open 2014

posted 27 Jan 2014, 23:56 by Gaskit

Truckloads of tench at Canterbury Open!!

The 6th annual Canterbury Open Coarse Fishing Champs was held at the end of January withtwo Nelson based anglers, Dave Dixon and Pete Bowden, joining 11 keen locals for two days of competition at Lake Rotokahatu.

The fishing had been very good in the lead-up to the event with pegs 7, 8, 39 and 41 the pre-match favourites. Peg 41 was also drawn as the Golden Peg, and when this was plucked out of the draw bag by Tony Cooper the chances of a pay-day were high. Steve Gaskell looked to be a threat on peg 39, and with Dave Dixon on 38 and Dean Sole on 37 it had the makings of a real “section of death”.

Across the lake, last year’s champion Gary Dallimore was well-placed on end peg 16, with Julian Barnett drawing 8 and Ray Bricknell 7, but it was visiting angler Pete Bowden who took everyone by surprise by hauling out 91lb from unfancied peg 14, and he would have easily cracked the tonwere it not for a large number of fish lost in the underwater snags. Barnett bucked the bait trend and fished luncheon meat to claim second in section with 77lb while Dallimore was just a couple of fish behind with 71lb. Jason Pullan chose to fish feeder on peg 15 but was busy enough netting 51lb, while the two top end pegs were relatively quiet, Ray Bricknell the best with 33lb off peg 7.

Surprisingly,  the early action in B section came from the middle pegs with Dixon and Sole in a fish-for-fish battle. Cooper had a brief run of fish on 41 but then his peg dried up, while Gaskell couldn’t even buy a bite on the usually reliable peg 39.  For some reason the hot pegs went coldand it was Dixon who took out the section with an excellent 88lb. Sole was safe in second with 75lb and Cooper third with 40lb. Tom Barker (peg 36) put 35lb on the scales to hold off Dave Merrit (peg 42) with 31lb.

An air of excited anticipation surrounded the draw on Sunday. The lake was fishing the best ever known with any peg capable of winning and the Golden Peg was still in at a new total of $75!

First day winner Pete Bowden found himself on end on Peg 16 in A section, with Dixon at the opposite end on peg 6. Julian Barnett was happy to draw Peg 8 for the second time and knew exactly where to find the fish. Dean Sole had also drawn in A section so the individual title would be fought out on the trees side of the lake.

In B section, Steve Gaskell and Tony Cooper both moved one peg to their left, Ian Alty sat on 41 and Gary Dallimore had to face the forecast northerly storm on peg 34. Luckily, the bad weather didn’t appear but as the breeze turned from north to south the lake went flat and bites became very picky. Things did pick up again towards the end of the match and Dallimore made the most of a frantic last 30 minutes to finish with 68lb and surge past Gaskell for the section win. Steve’s 55lb just edged Tom Barker on peg 42 with 54lb. Again the “flyers” flopped with only 30lb coming off 39 and 41 combined.

Over in A section, the bottom end returned lower weights  than the previous day with Pete Bowden 53lb, Dean Sole 45lb and Ray Bricknell 24lb totalling just over half of Saturday’s catch. Up at the top end however thing were different. Jason Pullan put 38lb on the scales from peg 7 but any fish entering his peg were being picked off by Dave Dixon and Julian Barnett to each side! Dixon’s 80lb looked impressive but when Barnett hauled his bulging keepnet from the water it was game over! After three weighs his total of 109lbs was just 3 or 4 fish short of the lakerecord (taken in a seven hour match) but easily enough to win the section leaving both anglers onthree points. So once again the championship was decided on weight count-back, and for the third year in a row Dixon found himself second best!

Pete Bowden and Gary Dallimore were next, tied on four points, but third place overall went to the Nelsonian by 144lb to 140lb. Dean Sole claimed 5th position and 23 year old Tom Barker 6th.The anglers below were hurt by the draw bag more than anything else as any of them could have made it onto the podium with a little more lady luck on their side.

Once again Lake Rotokahatu has proved itself to be the best tench fishery in New Zealand, and quite possibly the world. An incredible total of 1244lbs of tench were caught and released over the weekend at an average of almost 48lb per man per match!  This picturesque lake is very well-managed, with crystal clear water, healthy aquatic plant growth and abundant bird life, and huge credit goes to the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council, Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury Coarse Fishing Club who have worked together so creatively for the benefit of the angling community.  



Dave Dixon