On the hottest weekend of the year so far Browning’s Nick Crooks fished a brilliant two days on the river Tees to win the Covid delayed 2020 Northern River Masters final. Here’s Nick’s story of how the even unfolded. 

Day 1 – Bowesfield peg 42

I had never seen this part of the river before, but my peg on the inside of a bend looked stunning. I made a couple of phone calls before the match and it became apparent that I had drawn a very good area. 

Plumbing around the peg I found two lines on the pole; one in 10.5ft of water at 7m, where I fed four balls with pinkies and a few casters in. The second line was at 13m in 12ft of water, where I fed six balls containing worms, casters and dead maggots in the hope of some skimmers. 

I also set up a Sphere 13ft 80g feeder rod to feed a line at 58m at the start, but never had to pick this up during the match. 

It was a pretty simple match in all honesty, just rotating lines and swapping hookbaits kept the bites coming for most of the match. It was never solid, but just good enough to be patient and know that when I caught a fish it was of a good stamp. I lost a big perch of over a pound and a big eel did me in a snag, which wasn’t ideal and could of been decisive.

I weighed 13lb 14oz. This was enough to win the match so the perfect start. 

Day 2 – Yarm peg 192


End peg in the match, although not a great area for skimmers recently, but I was hoping I could catch some small fish and keep busy. The target was just 5lb, as I knew it would be rock hard again in the 30 degree heat. 

I fished three pole lines this time, and a feeder line at 45m touching the far side grass. 

The peg was deep, and in all honesty, when I plumbed up I really didn’t fancy it. I managed to find somewhere to fish in 10ft, this had been the best depth recently, but my long line was in 16ft plus. 

The day was spent rotating lines just trying to catch anything that might come over one of my lines, as topping-up with more feed was the kiss of death on the river. 

I phoned Ian Rodger ‘roachy’ Rockgod Exley who I knew had caught. 

He said you need another 2lb 7oz to beat me. I told him it was close but I really did think I was short. Luckily my fish went 3lb. 

My total of 16-14 was enough to pip Ian and take the title and a nice £5k cheque too. James Dent took third too so well happy for him, Iv spend all weekend with him and without his help along with Alan Le Patourel and Michael Bower I wouldn’t have come close to winning. 

Big thanks to the Northern RIVER Masters team, it’s been hard to get this final on with all the stuff that’s gone off in the last 12 months.

Loved spending the weekend on the bank with my dad as I never get to do it, that for me has been the highlight of my weekend.