It’s been a good year for Barnsley Blacks, victory in the qualifier at Evesham in September giving them a shot at the World Club Champs, and the Yorkshire side will be contesting another final next year after their young side won this opening round by a single point on a prolific Barston that saw big fish make a lot of the running.
Led by Parkdean champion Lee Kerry, the team of Joe Carass, Andy Geldart, James Dent and Steve Barraclough scored 24 points, including second overall in the match for Steve, with runners-up Drennan/Banbury Gunsmiths also booking their place in the spring final with 25, followed by Starlets Green in third on 27.
Winners of the opening round in last year’s event, Barnsley went down the same route as 12 months earlier, pinning their faith in just the one 13m pole line, aiming to catch both roach and big fish there, simply upping the amount of feed going into the peg as skimmers and F1 hybrids started showing – and that’s exactly how the match panned out.
“We try and cover all of our bases and feed a roach line with the plan of catching big fish over the top when they arrive,” said Lee. “By feeding a roach groundbait mix rather than going down the fishmeal route, we’ve always found that you can catch the roach, and then by adding more dead maggots, casters and chopped worm to the top-up feed, you’ll get the big fish too – and it soon became clear in this match that it wasn’t going to be a day dominated by roach.”
Balling in a mix of Van Den Eynde Superlake and damp leam holding around 150ml of joker and a pinch of maggot, caster and choppie, Barnsley began fishing single bloodworm for early roach before making the all-important top-up decision based on what they were catching and what was being caught around them.
“If the peg was producing only roach then we topped up with 50/50 groundbait and leam plus joker, but if bream and F1s were showing then we put in just groundbait with much more in terms of particles, with a heavy emphasis on chopped worm,” Lee revealed.“Using bigger baits like bunches of bloodworm, double red maggot or small pieces of worm gives you a much better chance of catching the better fish. I basically say to the lads to fish the match as you would on a commercial, always with an eye on bonus fish, as it takes a lot of roach to match a 2lb skimmer.”
“To win the opening round is a good job done as it puts us in the final, but it doesn’t alter how we fish the remaining rounds,” Lee continued. “We want to win them, but as it gets colder our approach will change, and the next round at Barston will see us use the waggler a bit more as the fish back off. Today we knew with it being mild and breezy it was going to be a pole match.”
Team result: 1 Barnsley Blacks, 24pts; 2 Drennan/Banbury Gunsmiths, 25; 3 Starlets Green, 27;
jt4 Barston, Dorking Gold and Dorking Black, all 33; 7 Starlets Blue, 34; 8 Starlets Silver, 35; 9 Preston Innovations Thatcher’s, 36; 10 Maver Bait-Tech, 37; 11 Maver Tipton Bait-Tech, 39; 12 Super Starlets, 45; 13 Sensas Mark One, 53.