Ridgemere AC lift Angling Times Bait-Tech Supercup

Angling Times/Bait-Tech Supercup 2014 Final
Barston Lakes, Main, Match & Daisy’s Lakes (15 teams)

Is local knowledge all it’s cracked up to be in team fishing? Ridgemere AC will have words with you if you doubt this after the Birmingham side dismantled all-comers to be crowned 2014 Supercup champions with a super display that owed a lot to knowing the lakes of Barston intimately.

Holding regular club matches on the lakes as well as fishing the recent Barston Masters series, Ridgemere came into the final well-armed with lots of snippets of information and known how for dealing with certain pegs and they put it all to the best of use by scoring 23 points and lifting the trophy by 10 clear points.

Closest to them were Bill’s Tackle on 33 points, who did at least have the satisfaction of improving on last year’s Barston final when they finished second from last, third going to North Yorkshire outfit Strayside Anglers on the same points but without the number of section seconds that Bill’s posted.

Ridgemere’s win maintained the dominance of West Midlands sides as DECCA AC were champs 12 months ago but the new kings are the ones everyone was talking about post-match after a great set of scores that owed everything not simply to fishing for the skimmers, which so many observers thought would provide steady points, but going for carp and F1 hybrids at the right time.

“We’re local, we fish Barston a lot and we came here today with a lot of confidence – some of the lads would have walked over broken glass to be here today, that’s how much they love fishing the place,” said Ridgemere skipper Aubrey Lovell. “However, today was a big final with some great teams so it was quite a bit different to what we’re used to when we come here. The fishing remains the same though and a couple of the team had qualified for the Barston Masters Final the day before and had some useful bits of information that paid off today.”

Two weeks ago, Ridgemere would have put a lot of faith in the Method feeder but seeing how the lakes changed, with the mass of skimmers on the Main Lake and the emergence of the pellet waggler as a key method, a few hand grenades were hurled into the middle of the team plan and that left the new champions with no solid plan as such. Pegs were analysed and some ideas worked out but the anglers would be firmly in control of how they fished their swims.

“We knew that the feeder had stopped working and that the waggler could catch fish in the right areas but we also knew that on the Main Lake, the skimmers might not feed for the full five hours and a couple of back up plans would be needed to catch a few better fish to get us over the line in the sections,” Aubrey said. “We felt the Match Lake would look after itself while the Daisy’s Lake was a real unknown quantity and any half decent score would do there. As it happened we got a great peg and Paul Hubbard scored five points, which was brilliant.”

Methods were mixed up on the Main Lake with Craig O’Brian winning his section on the pellet waggler, Paul Terry returning 53-14-0 of skimmers for section third from what looked on paper a tough draw in a corner and Neil Carless cracking 60lb to win. Backed up by Steve Daly with fifth on the Main Lake and nine points from Paul Ainsworth on the Match Lake, Ridgemere seemed to have one hand on the cup after just a few weigh ins but nothing in team fishing can ever be taken for granted.
“What we felt might happen did happen with two hours to go as the wind dropped and the sun came out – those skimmers stopped feeding,” Aubrey revealed. “That’s when the carp lines came into play and we knew once we drew which pegs gave us the most realistic chance of a big fish or two. If it didn’t, we carried on catching what we could.”

“To win is a terrific feeling – we’re a proper club that’s fished the Supercup since the start. We finished third at tunnel Barn Farm a few years ago and that really whet the appetite!” Aubrey finished.

For runners-up Bill’s Tackle there was obvious disappointment at finishing second but given they were second from last in 2013’s final, there was great progress and a feeling of close but no cigar from the Essex men.

“We live 200 miles away from the lakes, hadn’t practiced and only had a walk around last night – I don’t think we could have expected more,” said captain Danny Mason. “Our plan was all about skimmers, skimmers and more skimmers on the Main Lake fishing pellet and feeding little bits of groundbait short on the pole with the pellet waggler as a back-up. On the Match Lake we wanted a good peg and got it with peg 1 while Daisy’s wasn’t a lake you could plan for as no one seemed to know much about it!”

“We all agreed that small fish would give us a steady score so it was blinkers on, get you head down and catch what you can. A target of 100 fish would give us a good weight and it worked by and large but I think we missed out on a few bonus carp and F1s that would have given us a few more points – that’s where Ridgemere’s local knowledge came in,” Danny added.

Team result: 1 Ridgemere AC, 23pts; 2 Bill’s Tackle, 33 (section seconds); 3 Strayside Anglers, 33; 4 Stainforth Angling Centre, 38; 5 Mosborough Tackle Box, 41; 6 Burton Angling Supplies, 43; 7 Finedon AS, 45; 8 Poplett’s, 47; 9 Kinky Pellet Club Aston, 52; 10 Beaufort 21 AC, 54; 11 Devizes, 55; 12 Ashmole, 57; 13 Alliance & Leicester Liverpool, 63; 14 Guildford Angling Centre, 65; 15  Knighton Angling, 72.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better peg” was the frank admission of individual champion Stu Naylor as he was handed peg 22 on the Match Lake by his captain, a flier that provided second overall in last year’s final and which was to see the Derby angler go one better with top weight in 2014.

Weighing in 117-2-0 from the narrow snake lake, Stu took the day’s only 100lb-plus weight but it was close as Mosborough Tackle Box’s Gary Dodsworth chipped in with 91-10-0 from the peg on the dam wall of the Main Lake that saw Paul Holland take a massive 200lb in the UK Champs just days earlier.

Knowing little about the lake, Stu did however work out that the peg was highly fancied, being an end peg draw with a lot of room to his right but after a couple of hours of the match, things weren’t exactly going to plan.

“I’d planned to fish worm across to the far bank at 13m but was plagued by very small carp and couldn’t catch anything of a decent size,” he said. “After a few hours I decided to open up another line to the far side but further along with the hope that the better fish might be hanging off where I was fishing originally. It worked and I had a good little run of carp before that slowed up.”

Starting on worm head and feeding chopped worm and caster, Stu soon changed to potting in just groundbait and fishing a whole worm on the hook to pick off the better fish. Carp to 4lb responded but it was a change to the right and margin close to overhanging bushes that really kickstarted the peg.

“The edge was an obvious place to fish given the room I had and I went there with just short of two hours to go,” he explained. “I’d been feeding groundbait there and went in with a whole worm and enjoyed a steady few hours. The carp were decent with a few close to 10lb but the average a lot smaller. I think I had around a dozen down the side but was worried about peg 1 on the other side of the island to me as that’s reckoned to be a great peg too but I heard that the angler on there was struggling to catch in the edge.”

Individual result: 1 S Naylor, Burton Angling Supplies, 117-2-0; 2 G Dodsworth, Mosborough Tackle Box, 91-10-0; 3 S Hodgkinson, Burton Angling Supplies, 82-12-0; 4 D Theakstone, Poplett’s, 72-13-0; 5 N Carless, Ridgemere AC, 64-14-0; 6 R Hearn, Bill’s Tackle, 63-4-0.

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