A bold approach proved the best way forward during the Angling Times Winter League semi-final on the Loughborough Canal, with big fish playing a major part in both the team and individual events.
With temperatures plummeting to well below zero in the weeks leading up to the match, the majority of the teams had expected it to be a tough small-fish affair, but the sudden mild spell which hit the area saw bonus skimmers, perch and tench switch on to the feed for vital points.
Those that opted for a bloodworm attack from the off were punished for their decision, while their rivals, who had adapted to the late change in conditions, were rewarded with the glory.
Several teams put in an impressive performance in an effort to reach the prestigious final, which is set to be held at Willen and Furzton Lakes on September 11, but only three were destined to succeed in their quest – and it was Drennan North West that topped the pile.
Despite having only practised on the canal a handful of times before the event, the star-studded team – which included the likes of Mark Addy, Richard O’Connor and Stuart Conroy within their ranks – created a deadly approach that saw them scoop three section wins, two seconds and a third. More importantly, though, not a single squad member fell outside the top six of their zone, giving valuable points throughout the field.
“We felt the venue didn’t have enough small fish to mount a serious challenge by targeting bits, so we agreed to fish caster down the track for the bonus fish,” said Drennan NW captain Lee Addy.
“It has worked a treat and more than half of us have gone in on the first put-in and come back with a proper stamp fish within minutes of starting,” he added.
Consistency was the key for runners-up Maver Bait Tech, who managed to scoop two section victories and had all but one of the rest of the team in the top five.
Completing the frame and also booking their spot in the final was Hankat. A solid effort saw four of their men finish top of their section.
1 Drennan NW, 31pts
2 Maver Bait Tech, 35 pts
3 Hankat, 37pts
4 GH Lincs County, 43 pts
5 Garbolino Ossett, 49 pts
6 Quorn Van den Eynde, 57pts
7 Sams Tackle, 72 pts
8 Tackle 2 U Bradford, 73pts
9 Oakengates AC, 74pts
10 Daiwa Cleveland, 75pts