THE all-conquering Drennan Barnsley Blacks side followed up February’s Winter League triumph with top spot in 2022’s Sensas Challenge Final on the Gloucester Canal.
Scoring 22 points across the weekend, Barnsley’s B team (Lee Kerry, Nick Crooks, Tom Noton, Tom Barlow and Gavin Leversidge) ended up three clear of their A team of Alan Scotthorne, Frankie Gianoncelli, James Dent, Oliver Scotthorne and Jordan Holloway, third spot going to the Scotland Blue side on 29 points.
England A team star James won the individual event as the best of three anglers on a perfect two section wins, his 19-420 total seeing him finish ahead of Scotland’s James Woodrow on 16-260, Tom Noton of the champions coming in third with 4-000.
Now join winning B team skipper Lee Kerry as he reveals how Barnsley dominated a notoriously tricky venue…
Practice as a ten
“There was no such thing as the A and B teams mentally. The idea was to pool what we’d learned in the two official practice days and draw up a plan for both sides to use. Every angler chipped in with something, which I was delighted about.
“With a pole length limit of 13m and no feeder fishing allowed, we settled on fishing two pole lines, one in the deep water at 13m and the second shorter, in an area where the depth changed from, say, 12ft at 13m to 9ft. This might have been on a top kit or at 10m.
“Feeding revolved around trying to catch everything. Six balls of leam, Van Den Eynde G5 and Black Turbo went in at the start on both lines with just 150ml of joker across those 12 balls. We also set up a lot of rigs, as we’d noticed that changing to a lighter or heavier float definitely got you more bites.
“Just as important as the bream were the small fish, so we based our plan and feeding around being able to catch everything. That said, the bream did turn up in odd places, and in numbers too. Jordan Holloway caught two on day one and then, on Sunday, he drew two pegs away and caught 23 of them!
“Coming back with 10 points for the B team and 15 points for the A team respectively on day one, we knew we’d cracked it and at the team meeting on Saturday evening, we couldn’t think of one thing that needed changing for the next day’s match. That’s rare in team fishing.
“It was a bit colder on Sunday, but that didn’t affect the fishing. The same two-line approach, topping up to your bites, saw us come back with 12 points. The A team scored a better 10 points as it was their turn to have three section winners, including overall champion James Dent. At the HQ, we felt we’d done enough as 22 points is a great score. However, the Scotland Blue side had done equally well with 29 points, and for a moment we had a few doubts, but not many!
“I think we averaged second in section across our five men in the B team and not far off that in the A team across the two days. The overall performance is not down to drawing 20 good pegs when the scores are that consistent!”
On for the hat-trick
“Up next is the Commercial National at Lindholme Lakes, which will be a totally different environment and style of fishing!
“Seven of the team who fished the canal will be there, but we’ve got a big enough squad to bring in anglers who are a little more in tune with commercial fisheries. It’s a really exciting time, to be honest!
“The Feeder and Division One Nationals are still to come too. I think our wins in the Winter League and on the canal owe a lot to the way we’ve decided to operate as a squad this year. We’ve tweaked things and tried to get everyone pulling in the right direction, and it’s worked well so far!”