The Preston Innovations England Feeder team put their money where their mouths were with a day two comeback to claim bronze in Belgium, clawing back two places from their overnight position with second overall behind champions the Netherlands and leaving the team and manager Tommy Pickering pleased with their weekend’s work – and lamenting what could have been.
By now Darren Cox’s day one misfortune with a bream landed after the hooter has been well-documented and all were hoping it wouldn’t have had that big an impact overall but to rub salt in the wound England fished nine points behind the Dutch and three in arrears of silver medallists Hungary, that ineligible bream affectively costing the team either colour gong.
But putting their misfortune aside, there was a match to be fished and work to be done and England went about it in a most efficient manner, scoring a section third from Steve Ringer, a fifth from Mick Vials and sevenths from Tommy, Dean Barlow and Phil Ringer – close, but not quite close enough.
“It was so very tight,” said Tommy. “At one point we hadn’t won a medal, then we had, then I didn’t think we had and it went on and on and we couldn’t quite work out the final picture so to win a medal is an almighty relief. I felt so sick at the thought of coming away empty-handed but we fished well today but just had a little too much to make up, as I thought we would last night.”
England’s two-pronged approach centred around catching bream early and late on worm or bunches of bloodworm fished halfway across the rowing course and a shorter line at 16m for roach with smaller baits for those swims where bream were few and far between. It worked well and after 90 minutes all but one England man had bream in the net but the final hour proved hard, Tommy having to fish for roach all-day as his peg held no bream at all.
“The venue changed so much over the weekend as in practice the second and third hours were key but when it came to weekend we quickly noticed that hours one and five gave you the best chance of bream,” he continued. “That meant getting your feed in quickly and concentrating on the bream line first and last knockings. In between out roach swim came into play to keep a few fish going into the net as on many pegs six or seven bream over the five hours was as good as it got.”
Bream or roach? That was the choice for every team lining up on the rowing course and while the smaller fish would give you bites an hour’s hard work could easily be wiped out by one bite and a 3lb bream. However, with the venue fishing so indifferently, some pegs held no bream and some only a handful and nerve and a little luck came into it big time.
For the bream England settled on an attack down the middle of the lake using a fishmeal groundbait holding plenty of joker and a little bloodworm and chopped worm, four feederfuls going in at the start but no more, the team relying on each cast to keep the swim topped up. Hookbaits varied with small pieces of worm or a bunch of bloodworm.
When it came to roach, a low feed approach worked best using a groundbait mix of Sensas Lake and damp leam with a little joker and chopped worm with a small piece of worm head being England’s secret weapon on the hook as it got them bites when all else failed. This line went in at 16m, a little past where the pole line in normal any method matches would be, the team working on the principle that the fish were used to feeding here.
Rigs were simple running groundbait feeder set ups with relatively short 50cm tails as when a bite came from a bream or roach it was normally pretty quick after casting in, which suggested the fish were coming to the feeder rather than backing off.
England’s day two scores:
A section – Phil Ringer 3-270 – 7 points
B section – Steve Ringer 4-560 – 3 points
C section – Tommy Pickering 2-820 – 7 points
D section – Mick Vials 6-250 – 5 points
E section – Dean Barlow 5-220 – 7 points
The final result:
1 Netherlands, 53pts
2 Hungary, 58
3 Preston Innovations England, 61
4 Ukraine, 67
5 Italy, 80
6 Austria, 84
7 Belgium, 87
8 Russia, 89
9 Moldova, 102
10 Germany, 111