DRENNAN Barnsley Blacks showed their class at this year’s World Club Feeder Championships, taking home silver at the challenging rowing canal in Plodiv, Bulgaria.
Fishing against 34 teams, the side – managed by Glenn Lawrence and made up of Lee Kerry, Matt Godfrey, Mick Vials, Will Freeman and Frankie Gianocelli – put in a sterling performance over the two-day event, being beaten only by Dutch team, JWP Waterservice.
The result was even more impressive given the difficulties the venue posed. As a rowing course, it’s hardly ever fished, and when it is, the style of fishing is far from what UK anglers are used to.
Strange species like the filter-feeding silver carp are present, but these didn’t count in the match. The main target species – carassio – are notoriously tricky to catch. Although they’ve been stocked into some UK commercial fisheries, here they’re a totally different ball game, as manager Glenn explained.
“The water is freezing cold, and the fish aren’t used to feeding on angler’s baits,” he told us.
“We showed up for the five days of practice prior to the match, and although we caught lots of fish early on, they disappeared quickly as the week went on.”
But come match day one, the team had a plan in place.
“There’s a rope running down the middle of the canal that’s 55cm-60m out, depending on where you draw,” Glenn revealed.
“We started here, feeding two feeders of Van Den Eynde G5 mixed with Black Turbo, and then put four feederfuls of the same on a shorter line at 40m.
“There were lots of bleak in the venue, so the only feed we introduced with the groundbait was minced worm. Introducing joker or anything small just drew too many of them in, and we needed to focus on the carassio. The hookbait would usually be two pieces of redworm.”
In big, international matches, there can be a small tweak a team makes to their approach for an extra bite, and while there was little they could do to buy a few more carassio bites, other than rotate their lines, Barnsley did have one trick up their sleeves.
“In practice, we noticed that the chub would come into the margins and mop up leftover bait, just as carp do on commercials,” Glenn told us.
“We figured that they must swim along the nearside shelf, so we also had a sneaky maggot feeder line at 10m to drop on to if we needed a bite. I don’t think any other teams did this, and it really paid off for us, with everyone landing a chub or two over the two days.”
After day one, the team sat in second place, and come the second day, despite some tricky draws, they held on to their position.
“The lads are a brilliant set of anglers, which is why the team have such a strong reputation,” said Glenn.
“On foreign venues you must get it right, and we managed to crack it pretty well. Ultimately, drawing in hard areas cost us the win, but we had some fantastic performances, in particular Lee Kerry, who won his section on both days. Although there are no individual medals, I think he’d have finished second overall.
“Considering we’re using groundbaits that work on our local Yorkshire canals for totally different species, against European sides used to this style of fishing, the result is a fantastic one that we’re so proud of.”
Team Ringerbaits - Phil and Steve Ringer, Adam Wakelin, Rob Wootton, Jamie Harrison and Graham Morris - were the other English side at the event and finished ninth.