A fine balance between targeting both carp and silverfish saw Dynamite Fox Match Trentmen home in the first of the Northern semi-finals, with their 37 point score enough to top a strong field at Woodlands.
Newly sponsored Ultimate Barnsley Blacks clinched second spot, with North West-based Sensas Rod n Reel taking the final qualifying place by just two points, ahead of much more fancied sides such as Shakespeare Superteam and Maver Midlands.
It was a case of ‘what a difference a year makes’ for Nottingham outfit Trentmen – in this fixture 12 months ago they failed to qualify for the final and the squad parted company with seven key members. Since then, new captain Rob Perkins has recruited some talented young anglers and rebuilt the team, and a thorough practising policy has paid off.
“We’ve been on several opens and even booked a couple of the match lakes ourselves so we could use keepnets and get an idea of the weights we’d need to catch.
“You couldn’t put together a bag of carp on every peg so we also targeted the skimmers and roach and set ourselves a target of around 20lb for good points. We had a couple of carp pegs in our draw but these pegs tend to take care of themselves,” he said.
Most team members started on the Method feeder, with micro pellets and a few 4mm pellets wrapped around the frame, and a 6mm hair-rigged Source pellet on the hook.
But if those carp didn’t show it was on to the pole lines between 8m and 13m for those vital silverfish.
“In practice we discovered that although the fish wanted quite a bit of bait, they’d sit half a section past it. We fed for silvers, even in the carp areas. Bait for them was both maggot and pellet, feeding micro pellets and switching between hookbaits.
Skimmers were the mainstay on Kestrel Lake and roach on Partridge and Skylark. I felt we had a decent draw – we didn’t want to draw any pegs near the corners because the middle of the lakes were consistently better for all types of fish,” he said.
On their silverfish rigs the Trentmen anglers employed double No5 and No6 elastics in conjunction with the puller kits, because there was always the chance of a carp, or one of the surprising number of tench which showed on the day. This versatile approach saw them post two section winners, a second and three thirds.
“We’ve had a couple of stand-out performances. Ben Holmes has done brilliantly to win his section on Kestrel with 34lb, which was all skimmers and one little carp. Sam Randall has done well in his first-ever semi-final and Lee Wright was on the carp on Curlew and caught 50lb to win that lake. Making the most out of the poorer pegs has made all the difference today,” said Rob.
For Ultimate Barnsley Blacks, it was a match of two halves. Their exploits on the Kestrel, Skylark, Curlew and Wagtail Lakes had seen them score three section wins, two seconds, a fourth and a fifth – and what looked like a convincing victory. But it was the Partridge Lake which proved a real bogus, and it saw their three anglers on there finish near the bottom of their sections. It had captain Glen Lawrence worried, but a 44 point total eventually proved more than enough.
1 Dynamite Fox Match Trentmen, 37pts
2 Ultimate Barnsley Blacks, 44pts
3 Sensas Rod n Reel, 47pts
4 Shakespeare Superteam, 49pts
5 Fox Match Stanjay, 54pts
6 Maver Midlands, 56pts
7 Maver Newman Scott, 58pts
8 Hull and District, 63pts
9 Sensas North West, 68pts
10 Hirst Tackle; 75pts