A Merry Memorial for Sam

T K

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A Change of venue after 18 years brought a breath of fresh air to the annual Toone-Barlow Memorial Match, after Steve and Frank's old haunt of the Trent at Long Higgin was exchanged for further upriver at Burton.

The attendance increased to 65 from last year's 43 for the midweeker, and almost the whole field enjoyed silver fish action with roach, dace, chub, perch and grayling in the faster and shallower water.

Man on a roll Sam Merry (Bait-Tech) showed he can do no wrong at the moment with an impressive 19 lb 12 oz mixed bag topped by a bonus 2 lb 8 oz chub.

Fresh from second place in the Coors AC three-day festival and fourth in the RiverFest qualifier on the same banks, he added a 200 pay-day in this memorial match, which raised 650 for the cancer ward of Nottingham General Hospital, where Frank and Steve were both treated.

Instead of stick float or waggler, Sam chose 16 m pole to tackle peg 15 on the Coors AC stretch at the back of the Washlands Sports & Social Club to land mainly roach of 2-6 oz on hemp and tares.

Using a pint of hemp and half a pint of tares and size 16 and 14 hooks respectively in the 4 ft deep swim, to .10 mm main line and .08 mm hook length, Sam's only stick float fish was the big chub, on single bronze maggot.

Only a hungry pike threatened to come between him and a win in his first ever Barlow Memorial match, as it tried to snatch fish off his hook and even grabbed his keepnet, rolling crocodile-style with the mesh in its mouth to try to tear it.

Sam, who starred as an up-and-coming 16-year-old in an Angler's Mail feature in December 1997 on Cambridgeshire drain thingy Bank, only got back into fishing three years ago after a ten-year lay-off, but is now "as keen as mustard" again.

Runner-up from the other end of the same section, at peg 2, was Shakespeare angler and Coors festival winner Tony Marshall, who opted for stick float and various baits, but in particular casters, for roach, chub, dace and grayling weighing 15-12-0.

Third was Nigel Trueman (Dynamite Matchman Supplies), who drew on the Baileys section and fished stick float a rod length out and waggler four rod lengths out on the far side with hemp and tares for perch, roach, dace, chublets and a good number of mini barbel totalling 14-8-0.

Thanking the tackle companies who generously sponsored the event with raffle prizes, Dean Barlow said: "This is going to be the venue for the match from now on," citing parking behind each peg and plenty of fish as the reasons for the boost in attendance.

Others: Pete Morris (WB Clarke) 14-4-0; Steve Pierrepoint (WB Clarke) 14-0-0; Ed Warren (Preston Innovations) 12-4-0.
There are still a few copies of The Best of Barlow book, including a sale of the last few leatherbounds, on 0208 320 3886.

Nearly 20 lb of Trent silver fish for on-form Sam Merry at Burton.

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Memorial match organisers Dean Barlow and Wayne Swinscoe present Sam with the trophy.

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