Canals throughout the region were finally clear of ice last weekend, though the fishing could hardly be described as prolific.
Todmorden AC expect big things from their length of Rochdale Canal at Castleton, but each time a match has been planned of late they have been hit by the weather.
This stretch is capable of wonderful nets of big roach, but it was the smaller variety only that were willing to feed for the 29 anglers who turned up on Sunday.
Contested predominently by Maver North West anglers the prolific Alan Crook led the way with 3lbs 12oz on the bread punch. He would have increased that but for the influx of dirty water due to the heavy rain. Dave Bradley was runner-up with 3lbs 1oz, Roger Priestley came third two ounces back and the rest of the frame was made up of Steve Ashworth 2lbs 5oz, Paul Cryer 2lbs 1oz, Frank Szakerley 1lbs 10oz, Dave Brierley 1lbs 8oz and Saints star Mark Webb with 1lbs 7oz.
It proved a tough day for members of Brighouse angling club and local match squad Tri-Cast Calder as they tested out various lengths of the Calder and Hebble Canal ahead of the teams of four event which starts a week on Sunday.
The 'Brighouse' is a notoriously difficult venue and suffers more than most in cold conditions with fish becoming very tightly packed.
Series organisers already knew the section by the Barge and Barrel had plenty of fish in it, but with a minimum of 12 teams taking part needed to see where else they could make the series an even contest.
Those who travelled to Lockwoods apparently drew a blank, while few fish were caught from the match length. Red Beck thankfully threw up plenty of small fish.
One hopes everyone acknowledges the lengths to which the lads have gone to give us a good day's sport.
The Angling Trust's legal arm Fish Legal has kicked off the New Year with a 19,632 settlement for one of its member clubs - the Derwent Angling Association - whose fishing in the upper reaches of the River Derwent in Northumberland and County Durham was wiped out in February 2009 when sodium hydroxide escaped from a bank-side water treatment works operated by Northumbrian Water Ltd. The pollution which wiped out brown trout and grayling stocks occurred when a delivery of the chemical was pumped into a damaged plastic storage tank at the Mosside Water Treatment Works from which an estimated 3,200 litres escaped.
HOT PEG: If you fancy a trip out you'd do worse than give the Yorkshire Ouse a bash at Hunter's Lodge on a Leeds book or day ticket. If the river is at normal winter level then you will score with pole, stick, slider, feeder or straight bomb on the bronze maggot or caster. Roach are the main target though there are a few good chub, some exceptional bream and big perch too.
TIP OF THE WEEK: In clear water use as dark a groundbait as you have. And choose one that has little feed in it.