The monkey of the Stainforth & Keadby Canal is finally off Maver Barnsley’s backs after they won the Angling Times Team Champs semi-final in devastating fashion after several attempts at trying and failing to qualify in previous matches on the venue.
The ‘Stainy’ if often seen as a ‘home’ water for Barnsley, but in the past they’ve stumbled - but not this time! A 17 point score destroyed the opposition with 22 points between them and runners-up Saints, Browning Hot Rods taking third and Shakespeare fourth.
As a measure of their dominance, the winner’s score card read seven section wins, two seconds and a sixth including three of the top six individuals to boot. According to Barnsley captain Glenn Lawrence it was all to do with the number of fish to catch and the approach needed to catch them.
“The canal hasn’t fished like it has this winter in previous semis,” said Glenn.
“Before it was peggy with every chance of a blank in hard areas but this winter there have been lots of fish to catch and that form has continued all the way into today. When it’s a fair fish-catching match we will always fancy winning and we were confident - I set the lads the target of top three in every section and they’ve almost done that.”
With roach replaced by small skimmers and silver bream it meant that Barnsley could feed more and get a better response. Their groundbait and leam mix was packed with joker, to get a rousing response from the fish, many of the team having a bite on every single cast.
“We find that setting targets is dangerous in team fishing, so it was up to the individual to fish the peg and decide what they would be aiming for,” Glenn continued. “It could be 7lb or it could be 10lb. The same went for where to fish.”
One thing not on the Barnsley agenda though were bonus fish on caster.
According to Glenn, that would take the focus off the small fish bloodworm race, a race that his team were to win hands down.
Saints captain Derek Bennett knew that long before the final whistle, but with a highly experienced bloodworm and joker canal team he knew that his side could get ahead in the race for second place despite the distance involved in travelling to the canal cutting down practice time.
“We’ve been a few times this winter but have fished the canal a lot in the past but never when it’s been as good as this,” Derek revealed. “We needed to make a slight adjustment to our feeding to cater for more skimmers and less roach showing but all that meant was feeding more regularly as the fish were taking plenty of bait being thrown at them.”
Six joker-packed balls went in at the start on 9m and 13m pole lines, topping up when the bites died off. Every man flicked a few loosefed casters over the top to try and catch on later. With the team’s bloodworm expertise, Derek always felt that small fish alone would be enough to see them home.
“There were always going to be hard pegs even with so many fish around - I think Steve Clegg had one of the worst end pegs in the country at Stanilands!” he added.
Team result (top four qualify)
1 Maver Barnsley, 17pts
2 Saints, 39
3 Browning Hot Rods, 49
4 Shakespeare Superteam, 55
5 Fox Match Trentmen, 58
6 Team DATON, 69
7 Mosella Black Country, 70
8 Hirst Tackle, 74
9 Newman Scott, 75
10 Scunthorpe Tackle, 83
11 Sam’s Tackle & Bait, 86
12 Total Angling, 90