Remembering Two Angling Greats

Dean Barlow and his section-winning catch.

Dean Barlow reports back from the Frank Barlow & Steve Toone Memorial. Now in its 18th year, it’s an event that pays respect to two larger than life characters who are sadly no longer with us.

This year’s Memorial Match had a change of venue to the upper reaches of the River Trent around Burton. River legend Wayne Swinscoe has been running some matches here and the fishing has been good to say the least. So the 65 anglers who turned up all had high hopes of a few fish. Looking around the room in the morning for the draw there were some real legends of our sport present, including the likes of Pete Warren and former England international Tony Scott!

Peg 16 on Sherratts was my destination and according to ‘Swino’ it was not a bad area. Then, Wayne went in and pulled Sherratts 18 out of the bag for himself, so I was in good company!

I haven’t seen this part of the river for a good 20 years, when we had to walk miles with our kit, but now you can park behind your peg! Above me was Tony Scott who I used to watch as a kid (a brilliant river angler!) then below was Geordie Dennis Armstrong (another good Trent angler) then Swinno below him!

Listening to the info at the draw the method was to start short then feed a hemp line on the long pole and also a waggler. Plumbing up I had about 4ft of water everywhere. The river was flowing at a good pace but the strong downstream wind was going to make things difficult.

Five sections of my Acolyte pole were set up with a 0.75g float with a 20 Drennan Carbon Match hook for the near line. The long hemp line was attacked with 0.2g and 0.4g G-Tip 2 floats, both with size 16 Kamasan B511 hooks. Both these rigs was set up on a top 4; the extra line designed to keep the pole tip well away from the float in the clear water. A 13ft Acolyte Ultra with a 3AAA waggler finished my set up.

Dean was never sure what species he was going to hook next!

The whistle sounded and I cupped in three small balls of Bait-Tech Pro Natural Dark on my short line with a few maggots in and half a cup of Super Seed on the long line.

First run through close in I caught a small perch, then a dace and then a small grayling! Little fish kept coming and I was really enjoying it. I kept feeding hemp on the long line so when the short line started to dry up I switched to the seed. After 15 minutes I didn’t have a bite on it, but a switch to maggot on the hook caught me the odd fish. I decided to carry on feeding hemp, hoping the decent roach would come later on.

Out went the waggler where odd roach and dace were coming, but it was quite difficult with the strong downstream wind. I felt that I wasn’t really going anywhere so I went back on the hemp line. Still no bites on hemp so with an hour and a half left I had to make a decision whether to carry on feeding hemp hoping the better fish would eventually feed or cup some grounbait and pinkies in to try and catch some smaller fish.

I went with the latter decision and three balls of Pro Natural laced with pinkies were cupped on the long line. A couple of alterations to my rigs were made and I was soon shipping out a 0.75g float with double pinkie on the hook.

This grayling was an unexpected bonus!
This grayling was an unexpected bonus!

The float only went down the peg a yard before it shot under and a stamp roach was swung to hand, then, a small skimmer and another graying! What a difference the switch made. I started catching in small runs and when it dried a small ball was introduced again to get the fish back. It worked a treat and even attracted a lovely grayling knocking on a pound and a half!

After five enjoyable hours I was hoping I had done enough to win the section and that my change of tactics wasn’t too late. Swino had weighed in over 8lb and was the best on our bit until I put 11lb 10oz on the scales to win the section. I had nearly ever species you could think of and really enjoyed the match.

Sam Merry won it overall with a superb 19lb of mostly roach on hemp. He is really in form at the minute. Second was hemp king, Tony Marshall, with 15lb all caught on his favourite bait.

The river fished well with 12lb needing to frame and every section but one was won with over 10lb. A fitting day’s fishing for a good cause!

Sam Merry was a worthy winner on the day!
Sam Merry was a worthy winner on the day!

I personally would like to thank Tony Vandome and the Coors Angling Club for organising and weighing in and for giving us the pegs for free. Also Swino for running it on the day. To all the tackle companies that donated prizes for the raffle, I really am truly grateful.

I always say we are there for a reason, which is to remember two great anglers and to raise some money for the hospital where my dad and Steve were treated. With everyone being so generous with the raffle and the day ticket money donated by Coors AC we managed to raise an amazing £650 for the cancer ward at the Nottingham City Hospital.

Next year will definitely be on the same venue, so book in early to avoid disappointment.

Tight lines!