Morris is out in front in Woodford Winter League

Woodford Winter League round two winner Darren Haggan. INNT 49-902-CON
Woodford Winter League round two winner Darren Haggan. INNT 49-902-CON
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The 11th annual Woodford Greys Winter League is under way with anglers travelling from Maynooth, Dundalk, Armagh, Moria, Swatragh, Newtownards and Belfast to take part.

Fishing got off to a slow start in the opening round with only a few caught in the first hour and things didn’t improve much throughout the day with the competitors struggling in windy conditions.

At the final whistle no-one had caught the five fish limit, and best bag went to Gareth Morris, a previous Winter League champion, with three fish (128 points). Local angler Jonny Hoad was second with three fish (115 points). Linda Straghan was third with three fish (111 points). Newtownabbey’s Joe Hughes finished fifth with two fish (86 points).

In round two the 23 competitors couldn’t believe their eyes when they were greeted with an unusually calm Woodford. Floating lines and intermediates were the order for the day.

Round one winner Morris got off to a great start, lifting three fish in the first half-hour session from peg four, using lures.

Hughes also began well with a fish measuring 50cm+, fishing nymphs on a floating line. Irish Ladies International Straghan was keeping the pressure on with another 50cm+ fish, again sticking to floating line and nymphs.

Uel McClure was enjoying his return to the Winter League after a break of a few years with a good brace of trout best one measuring 49cm.

Irish Lake Champion, Darren Haggan was having a steady round using a mixture of lures and nymphs to catch his fish all of which were over 44cm, best one measuring 49cm.

Irish Ladies international, Julie Gerry used lures to tempt her three fish, best of which was 46cm.

Competition regular Huw Morris fished his diawl bachs on a midge tip line to catch his four fish, all over 40cm, best one 45cm. Neil Hall, having caught one in round one, doubled his catch with two in round two while local man Colin Scott broke his Winter League duck with a double hook-up, ending the day with three fish and a fifth-place finish.

Top spot went to Haggan with a bag of five fish (231 points). Gareth Morris was runner-up with five fish (214 points), keeping him at the top of the leader board.

League top five: 1st Gareth Morris (342 pts); 2nd, Darren Haggan (231); 3rd, Huw Morris (215); 4th, Jonny Hoad (205); 5th, Linda Straghan (200).