ENGLAND ace Kayleigh Dowd has won the 2023 Angling Trust Ladies National title at Rookery Waters in Cambridgeshire in a big match double header which also saw Perry Bloor claim the Anglers with Disabilities honours in style.

This year saw 55 ladies and 27 anglers with disabilities compete in the two Nationals with the Ladies competition fished over the complex’s Magpie, Jay, and Crow lakes and the Disabled contest on Raven lake.

It was Magpie which produced the best weights on the day with Leeds angler Kayleigh piling over 123k 775g on the scales – one of the highest weights in the competition’s history – from peg 36 to take the crown.

The victory earns her a place in the Fish O Mania Final at Westwood Lakes on July 22 in a busy summer which will also see the new mum represent Team England in the Ladies World Champs in Serbia in August and the England Ladies Carp team in France at the end of September.

Last year’s champion Sarah Taylor came close to a dream double with her 112k 925g catch earning her the silver medal this time out, with a trio of 108kg-plus weights from Chloe Raynor, Abbi Kendall, and new England cap May Potter.

“I started off with caster shallow fished to the lily pads, but I knew it wasn’t quite right,” admitted Kayleigh. “I’ve looked over to May and saw she was on a jigga, so I changed and started catching.

“I’d been feeding pellets down the edge too and in the last hour and a half it was solid there and so I’ve gone shallow and had a carp every chuck.”

The anglers had to contend with muggy temperatures and the threat of thunderstorms at the Pidley, Cambs fishery with shallow fishing with maggots and casters doing the damage for most.

But it was paste which worked for new Anglers with Disabilities champion Perry Bloor who found the carp on Raven peg 21 in obliging mood, fishing the bait towards the far bank at 13m to take fish up to 7lb.

The Hilton, Derbyshire angler piled 90k 300g onto the scales to claim his first National title ahead of England international Ethan Etherington on 67k 275g, and 2022 champion Steve Lovell with 53k 600g.

Team-wise it was the Aquaholics – Kayleigh Dowd, Sarah Taylor, Leanne Knott, and Brooke Hodgkiss – who ran away with the gold medals with a combined weight of 325k 050g ahead of Lilly’s Ladies on 283k 600g in second and Maver Misfits third with 215k 900g.

This year saw the youngest-ever team compete in a Ladies National as teenagers Lucia Archard, Lauren Stevens, Ella Preston, and Isabella Gibbins all took advantage of the Angling Trust’s Young Angler Exemption scheme to aid their development towards England teams.

Bristol-based Lucia, coached by Dave Marshall from Ramsbottom AA, was awarded the best young angler trophy following a superb section win and seventh overall with her 81k 125g net of carp from Magpie peg 2.

* The Angling Trust would like to thank all the anglers who took part and Alex Bates and the team at Rookery Waters for their support in hosting the two Nationals.



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