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WEEDER AND OPENSHAW CLAIM MASTERS AND VETERANS NATIONAL TITLES
TWO of match fishing’s most consistent anglers have scooped the top prizes in the 2023 Angling Trust Masters and Veterans Nationals at Partridge Lakes.
Bright sunshine in the morning gave way to downpours by the afternoon at the beautiful Warrington, Cheshire venue but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the 127 rods who’d travelled from all over the country to compete in the two big events for over 55s.
It was a pair of North West legends who shone the brightest though, with Chris Weeder Snr taking the Veterans National honours with an impressive 93k 300g – the biggest weight on the day – and Moreton, Wirral ace Steve Openshaw netting 60k 950g for the Masters title.
When St Helens-based Chris drew peg 123 on the in-form Covey 5 there were some who thought it was all over from the start, especially given his recent record on the venue.
But the swim proved tougher than initially predicted with an early look down the edge yielding just three fish. By regularly feeding maggots at five metres, it wasn’t long before Chris could see fish swirling in front of him and a switch to a 12ins deep, shallow rig with double maggot on the hook soon got his landing net wet again.
“It was a case of feed, drop in, keep feeding and at that point hopefully get a fish and then feed again ready for the next one,” explained Chris who revealed he worked his way through six pints of mixed red and white maggots during the day and finished with a 60 fish total.
“The key to picking out the better F1s was selecting the biggest maggots from the tub; it didn’t really matter what colour they were as I’d got the fish competing and it was a case of picking them off with a big bait.”
Chris’ haul was too strong for Kelvin Emlyn who finished in the runners-up spot with 77k 500g from peg 119 on Covey 5, ahead of regular framer Phil Barwell who took 63k 775g from Covey 3’s peg 54.
Natural baits also scored for Masters National winner Steve Openshaw who opted to fish casters shallow on the pole.
Last weekend’s Fish O Mania finalist piled 60k 950g on to the scales from Ribbon lake’s peg 10 to hold off the challenge of Dave Brown Snr who was over on Willow peg 4 and took 54k 425g on the pole fished tight to far bank reeds. This was just a couple of fish ahead of third-placed Mike Astbury on 53k 700g, his weight coming from Pine peg 11.
It was Spey, Marsh, Willow, Ribbon, and Pine which hosted the 55- to 65-year-old Masters contest while the Veterans were pegged on Covey 1 to 6 for their over-66’s match. The top three in each National led a strong field with some close section scores across all the lakes.
“This event is getting harder to win,” added Chris.” You only have to look at who the anglers who are fishing these Nationals these days to see the standard you have to beat.”
* The Angling Trust Competitions Team would like to extend a huge thanks to Nellie, Ellice, and all the team at Partridge Lakes for hosting this year’s Nationals, and to all the anglers who support the events.