Rita flies the flag for the locals at the British Pike Championships

British pike champion Chris Wade (left) with Whittlesey AA chairman Dave White.

British pike champion Chris Wade (left) with Whittlesey AA chairman Dave White.

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Saturday saw one of the biggest matches of the year take place on Whittlesey AA controlled waters.

Anglers from all over the country fished the Angling Trust British Pike Championship grand final and despite the heavy rain and strong winds the venue held up well.

Glassmoor Bank produced the top three anglers with Leicestershire’s Chris Wade taking the honours.

Drawn close to Pondersbridge, Wade caught a small pike on his very first cast and went on to take five more, including a brace of double-figure pike for a total of 44lb 2oz.

The win saw him crowned British Pike Champion and he also went home with a handsome £1,480 pay-packet.

Rob Ellis came in second with three fish for 31lb 8oz and his catch included the biggest pike of the day going to the scales at 23lb 4oz.

Boston angler John Robertson was third putting three fish to the scales for 24lb.

There was little joy for local anglers taking part so it was left to Rita Clarke to fly the flag. She made it a hat-trick of wins in the ladies event by putting a 5lb fish to the scales taken from the notoriously difficult Twenty Foot Drain to be crowned top lady angler.

So, despite the poor conditions over 100 pike were caught weighing 548lb 10oz which was a record for the match.

Once again it was well run by Ann and Ted Rowe, ably assisted by the Whittlesey club and all the stewards who braved the driving rain to ensure fish were weighed in as quickly as possible and returned with out due stress.

EAST MIDLANDS LEAGUE

The Old Nene at Benwick and Factory Bank at Ramsey were joint venues for the East Midlands Winter League practice match and those fishing enjoyed some very good returns from both.

Out in front with a level 18lb was Graham Welton. The Stanjay Tackle-backed rod caught roach on pinkie over groundbait and then switched to a worm and caster line to pick up perch and some very good eels.

That was just enough to see off the challenge of James Drakulic. He caught roach and small skimmers along with a few perch to put 16lb 15oz to the scales.

Then came Sensas Mark One rods Alex Bates with 16lb 14oz and Josh Pace with a level 16lb.

BRITISH LEGION SHIELD

Yaxley, Farcet, Holme and District AC members fished the Royal British Legion Shield match on the Bower at Whittlesey.

Ivan Marriott used his knowledge of the venue to put 10lb 11¼oz of small roach and skimmers on the scales to take home the shield.

Bread punch fished on the pole at 4m was his approach.

Similar tactics saw Lionel Whaley catch roach and skimmers close in for 7lb 14¾oz. Then came Frank Bevilacqua with 5lb 4oz.