Shakespeare Redditch Superteam secured a coveted matchfishing ‘double’ after they followed up their victory at the Angling Times Team Champs with an emphatic victory in this prestigious event.
The Angling Trust Division 1 National Championships was fished across three interconnecting Midland canals - the Shropshire Union, Trent and Mersey and Staffs-Worcester.
And the talented Redditch-based squad’s confidence shone like the summer sun as they drew upon their considerable canal-based experience to post an outstanding 607 points.
It will also be a victory that will be remembered for the disappointing performances from some of the most successful matchfishing outfits in angling history, which saw the likes of Barnsley DAA, Daiwa Trentmen and Dorking and Drennan North West failing to break into the top 10.
The rightful winners finished 58 points clear of their nearest challengers, and with only two of his men finishing outside the top eight in their sections, ecstatic captain Mick Hatchard had every reason to be happy: “The successes we have enjoyed this summer sends the message out to the match angling world that there is another team in the mix again at the top,” said Mick.
“We have a great squad of all-rounders, and when you consider that none of them are internationals and all have regular jobs, it makes these victories even sweeter.”
With small fish in mind, and the chance of ‘bonus fish’ in the best sections, the squad’s approach was largely based around red squatts,
breadpunch, with light groundbaiting. This proved just right as bright sunshine, little wind and plenty of boat traffic saw them start short and venture over to their far lines as the match progressed, which proved to be the winning tactic.
North West-based canal experts Collins Green, consisting of many of the Saints team members, showed their canal class and experience to comfortably land second place with 549 points. Captain Derek Bennett was proud of his team’s efforts on the day: “Our approach was to target big fish from the off on all pegs, as they were likely to fade as boat traffic increased.
“That decision added bonus fish for a good number of the lads, while the mainstay of our tactics was based around white squatts and groundbait, a 50-50 mix of Sensas Matchblend and Silverfish.”
Doncaster DAA worked hard to secure third place on the day with a creditable 522 points.
More used to larger, deeper canals on their home patch, the South Yorkshire-based outfit also utilised a squatts-based approach, one with which they are well versed, to tempt the mainly small fish, but four ‘blow outs’ relegated them to a bronze medal.