This year’s Winter League series at the popular Midlands-based bagging mecca that is Tunnel Barn Farm recently came to a close after ten fiercely competitive rounds fished in arctic conditions for the most part. Fished between 28th October last year and 10th February, twenty three (23) teams of four went head to head across the whole complex in a bid to be crowned 2017-2018 Winter League Champions.
The league, which runs every year, attracts some of the biggest names in the sports and is notoriously difficult given the nature of the intended quarry – F1s – and due to the calibre of competing angler being so high.
Maver Gold entered three teams into this year’s series in Maver Gold Oak and Maver Gold Yew and Maver Gold Willow.
Below, team Captain Clive Nixon reflects on what has been a very successful winter league campaign overall, which saw two of his squads finish inside the top ten with team Oak taking runner-up position, second only to a dominant Guru side.
Round 1 – Sunday 29th October, 2017
“The team needed to ensure a good start on this popular winter league series given the standard of the competition and we managed just that! Maver Gold [Yew] finished fourth overall on the day, Maver Gold [Oak] secured a sixth place overall, and Maver Gold [Willow] finished in sixteenth place overall on the day“.
“Individually it was Jamie Jones who led the way for Oak from Jenny’s peg 26. Jamie started on a Dynamite 4mm Pro-expander pellet searching all around his peg catching the odd F1. He later switched to maggots on a two plus two to his left and never looked back going on to catch some big F1s and a 14lb mirror carp to weigh 66lbs 10oz for a superb lake and section win“.
“Team mate Alex Hulme (Oak) drew peg 6 on High pool. Alex started really slow catching two carp, and F1s, but with only ninety (90) minutes left and just seventeen (17) fish in his net, he then dropped onto his short line where he fed maggots and finished up catching a further seventeen (17) F1’s to weigh 63lbs and finish in ninth place overall“.
Round 2 – Saturday 11th November, 2017
“Maver Gold [Oak] won on the day with a total of 82 points with a margin of two points over second place. Individually, Maver Gold [Oak] angler Matt Barwell ended up fourth overall in the match from Top pool on peg 31. Matt caught predominately F1’s on pellet first, then maggots later in the match to weigh 91lbs 4oz“.
“Also claiming eighth place overall was team member Jamie Jones. Jamie drew peg 50 on High pool and started short on pellets for a quick burst of fish. When this line slowed down he then went long to 14 metres in the deep water for a few more fish, but ended up coming back short on maggots where he stayed until the end of the match to end up with 83lbs“.
“To cap a fantastic second round for the Maver Gold [Oak] team, the other two anglers in the side – myself and Alex Hulme – ended up in the top three in their respective sections. The win on the day pushed the team up to third overall in the league, only two points behind second place“.
Round 3 – Saturday 18th November, 2017
“Maver Gold [Yew] angler, Ash Davies came out on top on this third round of the league“.
“Ash was given peg 48 on High pool and started the match by dobbing bread at 17 metres towards the island, catching carp and F1’s. He stayed here for the first three hours of the match before caming short where he had been feeding maggots and started to catch F1’s until the end of the match to end up with 84lbs, which was enough for a match and section win. Rig wise, Ash used the new MV-R Finesse series 1 float tied to the new MV-R rig line in a 0.14mm to a 0.12mm MV-R hooklength coupled with the new Dual Core Pro 6-9 elastic. Ash also used one of the new MV-R Series 2 pole floats tied to MV-R rig line and hooklength for his maggot rig“.
“Fellow team member Nathan Matthews also won his section from Canal peg 1 with 46lbs. This, coupled with good section points from team members Phil Moore and Wayne Bailey, put the team joint first on the day, but they got knocked back to second place overall on weight countback. This result pushed the team up to seventh place in the league overall after three rounds“.
“Maver Gold [Oak] also had a steady day finishing in fifth place overall on the day and remained in third place overall in the league reducing the gap between third and second places“.
Round 4 – Saturday 2nd December, 2017
“Maver Gold [Oak] stayed in third place overall in the league after a consistent day from all anglers. Leading the way for the team was Daz Johnson who was handed unlucky for some peg 13 on Extension. Daz caught twenty one (21) F1’s picking fish off numerous lines throughout the day, all on maggots to weigh 36lb and finish fourth in his section“.
“This, combined with good backing scores from team mates Matt Barwell, Clive Nixon and Alex Hulme, helped the team to an overall 11th place finish on the day and put the team nine points clear of fifth place overall“.
“Maver Gold [Yew] ended the day in seventh place overall on 61 points to move them up a position to sixth place overall in the league. Leading the team home was team member Nathan Matthews. Nathan was on High pool peg 27 and started the match by dobbing bread and caught eleven (11) F1’s throughout the first part of the match. Nathan then went onto his long line at 14 metres in the deep water to catch a further seven (7) F1’s to end the match eighteen (18) fish and weigh 33lb, which was fourth on the lake and good enough for a section win“.
“Backing Nathan up was team mate, Ash Davies who was second in his section. This combined with steady section points from team mates, Phil Moore and Wayne Bailey ensured the team stayed in contention for a podium finish in the league“.
Round 5 – Saturday 9th December, 2017
“Anglers on the day were greeted by ice on the lakes and freezing wind. However, conditions on the day didn’t stop the team from recording another fantastic set of results“.
“Alex Hulme led the way for Maver Gold [Oak] by securing seventh place overall and third on his lake. Alex caught nineteen (19) F1’s at 11 metres fishing maggots, then caught nine (9) more F1’s where he had been throwing maggots at 6 metres to weigh 63lbs. Also, backing Alex up, were team mates Matt Barwell, who was second in his section and myself with a section of 52lbs giving the team a total of 72 points on the day and consolidating third place overall in the league“.
“Maver Gold [Yew] put in a fantastic performance on the day to total 74 points and take first place overall on the day, moving the team up to a creditable fourth place in the league after five rounds“.
Round 6 – Saturday 6th January
“More ice and frost greeted the anglers attending this latest round. On the individual front Maver Gold [Oak] angler Jamie Jones topped the impressive field after being handed House pool peg 31. After Jamie broke the ice he started by dobbing bread over to the island and, after a slow start, started catching F1’s and the odd carp. Jamie stayed on this line most of the match to weigh 58lbs to claim that all important section win, and also a match win“.
“Team mates Alex Hulme, myself and Matty Barwell backed Jamie up with good section points to earn Maver Gold [Oak] a third place finish on the day, just a single point behind first and second places. This result moved the team up to second place overall in the league with only four rounds remaining. Also staying in the hunt for a podium finish was Maver Gold [Yew], who remained in fifth place in the league“.
Round 7 – Saturday 13th January
“Leading the way for Maver Gold [Yew] was Nathan Matthews. Nathan drew High pool peg 44 and started at 15 metres against the far bank ashes where he dobbed bread at 3.5 ft deep and caught F1’s and carp for the first four hours. Then, when this started to fade, Nathan went onto his short line where he had been feeding maggots to end with a nice little burst of F1’s to finish the match with sixty one (61) fish to weight 88lb 7oz for third place overall“.
“Contributing with good section points were Nathans team mates, Ash Davies, Wayne Bailey and Phil Moore. This placed the team in eighth place overall on the day to also stay in fifth place overall in the league“.
“For Maver Gold [Oak] team it was Alex Hulme who led the way by drawing peg 32 on High pool dobbing bread and maggots over to the far bank to weigh 49lb 9oz for the all-important section points. This, coupled with good section points from Alex’s team mates, Matt Barwell, Jamie Jones and myself, placed the team seventh overall on the day and keept Maver Gold [Oak] in second place in the league with three rounds remaining“.
Round 8 – Saturday 20th January
“Snow and ice greeted the anglers fishing round eight. Needing a good result to consolidate their second place position in the league was the Maver Gold [Oak] team. Leading the way for the team was the ever consistent Jamie Jones. Jamie was handed peg 28 on New pool and thought it would be damage limitation, but instead Jamie put in a fantastic effort to weigh 44lb, which consisted of two carp for 12lb and F1’s to over 6lbs. This was enough to give Jamie the match win and the all important section win. Jamie caught most of his fish on dobbed bread and later added some F1’s short on maggots“.
“Also backing the team up was myself weighing in 18lbs to win my section. Matt Barwell and Alex Hulme avoided the dreaded blowout for the team, with the team finishing in ninth place on the day to stay in second place overall in the league with only two rounds remaining“.
“Maver Gold [Yew] finished the day in sixth place to stay in fifth place overall in the league. Leading the way for the team was Wayne Bailey who won his section with 32lb“.
Round 9 – Saturday 3rd February
“The penultimate round of the Tunnel Barn teams of four Winter League took place on Saturday 3rd February with Maver Gold [Oak] needing to avoid a blow out to retain their second-place position in the league“.
“Leading the way for the team was myself on Jenny’s peg 2. I started the match dobbing bread between 2ft and 4ft deep in open water and caught steadily for most of the match, then with an hour to go I caught a few F1’s at 6 metres on maggot. At the all-out I weighed 51lb, which was enough for the all-important section win and lake win“.
“Backing me up were team mates Jamie Jones, Alex Hulme and Matt Barwel, who all came back with consistent section points. The team ended up in eleventh place on the day with 49 points, which keepy them in second place overall in the league with only one more round remaining. Maver Gold [Yew] had a mixed day off a poor set of pegs with the team totalling 33 points to drop down a place to sixth place in the league“.
Round 10 – Sunday 11th February
“In order to secure their second place finish in the league overall after ten rounds, Maver Gold [Oak] needed to try and avoid a blow out. Leading by example, once again, was Clive Nixon“.
“Clive was third in his section from Top pool peg 15 with a weight of 30lb. Also coming back with consistent section points from some very average draws were Clive’s team mates, Alex Hulme, Jamie Jones and Matt Barwell. A special mentin should also go to Daz Johnson, who fished three of the ten rounds to contribute to the team’s overall performance“.
“The team ended up 11th on the day with 53 points, which meant they stayed in second place in the league to cap a fantastic end to the Winter League“.
“Maver Gold [Yew] had a fantastic day also with team member Ash Davies coming seventh overall on the day from Peg 24 on Jennies. Ash caught mostly F1’s from all around his peg to end the match weighing 42lb 9oz. Backing Ash up was team mate Phil Moore, who won his section from peg 2 on High pool with a weight of 41lb 2oz. This, combined with good backing results from team mates Nathan Matthews and Wayne Bailey saw the team finish the league in fifth place overall to cap a fantastic winter campaign for the lads fishing under the Maver Gold banner“.
Upon the league reaching its conclusion team Manager, Clive Nixon, commented “I would just like to thank all the lads for their time and effort and also for them putting in a fantastic performance to finish in second and fifth place in what is widely regarded as one of the best Winter League’s in the Country. I would also like to thank on behalf of the team our sponsors Maver and Dynamite Baits for all their continued support and backing“.