Angling Trust Division One National (Sat)
Grand Union Canal, Northampton (42 teams)
After being cancelled due to Covid in 2020, the Division 1 National finally took place on the Grand Union canal in Northamptonshire.
Popular winners were West Country outfit Sensas Devizes MG, who lifted the famous trophy after what turned out to be a very closely-fought affair.
Scoring 301 points from their 10 anglers, Devizes got the nod by just 15 points from outgoing champions Barnsley DAA. Another of UK match fishing’s big hitters, Starlets AS, took bronze with 284 points, meaning that it really could have been any one of the three sides’ title to win, given the tough nature of the canal.
Many were expecting a real grueller of a match dominated by mainly small species, but catches proved far better than anticipated, with bonus fish early in the match proving absolutely key. Catch a few and you were set for good points, as the chances of building a big net of roach and other small fish were few and far between – and that’s exactly how Devizes planned their match to perfection.
“We adopted a simple approach of feeding two lines at the start, looking for 2ft 6ins of water,” said Nigel Franks, from the winning team.
“One was fed with 250ml of liquidised bread and the other with a ball of groundbait. The mix was a combination of Sensas Canal Noire, Magic and Formula Supreme, and knowing that the first 30 minutes were going to be critical for catching skimmers, no time was wasted feeding and fishing anywhere else. We concentrated on these two lines.
“Starting on a 7mm punch, we all tried to catch some decent fish early on. This worked for most of the team, and after the bread line died it was felt best to look on the groundbait line with maggot or worm and only then feed other lines.
“The rest of the match was a case of making the most of your peg and catching what you could. Fortunately, with years of experience fishing a similar Kennet & Avon Canal on our doorstep, we all found fish for those important extra points.”
Stand-out Devizes performers were Rich Whitmarsh, who took a section-winning sixth overall with 8-400 from K section, a second in section from Adam Carter in D section, and a section fourth from Nigel in J section.
Bream help Dave to individual national glory
IndivIdual glory went to Midlands star Dave Brown. The Penkridge-based angler, fishing for Preston Innovations Black Horse, took 19-170 of bream and skimmers to the scales from peg B30 at Weedon Bec.
“Mine wasn’t a noted peg, but everyone I spoke to said it was steady. I was next to a bridge with a bit of room, so I felt it had to be home to some fish,” Dave explained.
“After feeding across to the far-bank wall at 14.5m and down the track with groundbait, I thought I’d start on bread, and on the first drop with a 7mm punch, I caught an 8oz skimmer,” he revealed. “It was then a bite every drop-in, and after an hour I’d got 15 small skimmers. By the end of hour two I was up to 30 fish, including the odd 3lb bream. Every time a boat went through, the peg faded, so I fed another ball of liquidised bread and they came back.”
Reaching the halfway point, the bread line was all but dead so Dave moved across to the far-side wall with single maggot to nick two 3lb bream in as many drops before that died too.
The rest of his match was then spent nicking perch on bits of worm down the central track, giving him around 2lb of these to bump up his overall weight.