PRESTON Innovations Blackhorse have won the 2024 Angling Trust Winter League Final in a tough contest on the Fenland drains and Decoy Lakes.

Blackhorse’s victory came courtesy of a solid team score of 51 points headed by section seconds from Alan Oakes and England U20 international Alfie Nicholls plus thirds for Andrew Rayment and Dan Theakston.

Runners up were Wakefield – a side fishing their first winter league final – who carded 59 points, while Mosella Quaker finished on 61, just edging out Drennan Oxford into third on a section countback.

Over 70 clubs and match groups fished through 13 regional leagues starting last October to earn an invite to the big final, with 30 teams going head-to-head in what is the first ‘major’ of the new year.

Signs were promising for an action-packed final with the drains around March and Benwick and Whittlesey’s prolific Decoy Lakes hitting top form in the weeks prior to the match.

However, torrential rain and widespread flooding in the lead up, coupled with one of the hardest frosts of the winter so far, greeted anglers on the day of the competition. It meant bites were at a premium for many.

That wasn’t the case for Nicky Crooks and Zak Wolby-Smith though who took the individual honours on the drains and Decoy, respectively.

Fishing for Drennan Barnsley Blacks, Nicky weighed an impressive 26k 525g from the Old Nene at March’s allotments section where he picked off silvers steadily on the long pole.

Second on the drains was Peter Vasey. Leading the way for Matrix Dynamite Image, the former England international’s catch of 23k 525g of rudd came to his waggler and corn fished to a moored boat downstream of the Health Centre bridge in March town centre.

Over on Decoy, Sensas Hotrods’ Zak powered past the opposition with a flying start which saw him reach the 100lb mark after the first hour at his peg in the middle of Elm lake and finish the day with 81k 150g of carp.

Runner up on Decoy was Chris Jones, Sensas Starlets, with 64k 050g from the freshly stocked Oak Lake.



* The Angling Trust would like to thank the staff at Sir Harry Smith Community College, Decoy Lakes, March DAA, Stan Binge, Bob Fitzjohn, Paul Marriott, Yaxley AA, Alex Bates, Steve Welford, Pete Emery, league organisers, the amazing stewards, and anglers – without your support this competition wouldn’t be what it is.

You might also like