AN almost perfectly executed team plan resulted in victory for Preston Innovations Thatchers in this year’s Angling Trust Feeder National on the Gloucester Canal, with team member John Harvey also taking home individual gold.
After a good draw the night before, team captain and local expert Mark Harper explained his squad’s tactics.
“We had to catch skimmers to win, and having fished the canal a fair bit in the spring, we knew how we wanted to go about it,” he said.
“It’s a deep shipping canal, and the fish like to feed slightly up the far shelf, away from the silt. We were looking for a count of eight, which we found was about right.
“The plan was to bait up with five or six feeders of Sonubaits F1 and Thatchers Original mixed 50/50, feeding mainly pinkie and maggot, with just a small amount of worm. Worm works for the proper bream, but maggot and pinkie gets you more bites and crucial section points.”
The team finished with 35 points in the 20-team event, qualifying for the World Club Feeder Champs. However Mark finished last in his section, and messaged the lads after the final whistle to apologise.
“They were as surprised as I was at my result,” he told us.
“However, they did so well that it didn’t matter in the end.”
Top individual bounces back
Among the Thatchers team members, Welsh ace John Harvey came out on top with 30-890. He’d only just returned to angling after having three months off following a bad burn after slipping in the kitchen while carrying a kettle.
“Since I’ve been back I’ve had some great results,” John told us.
“My first match back was a Fish O’Mania qualifier, which I fished, still in my bandages, and won. I’ve done well in local festivals, too, but winning double gold in the Feeder National is hard to top.”
John, having drawn a great peg in Section 2, peg 1, entered into a battle with Drennan Bordon’s Matt Barnett next door, pipping him in the end by just 460g.
“With 90 minutes left I was probably 20lb behind Matt, so I had 10 quick casts with a larger, four-hole feeder, putting plenty of worm out. On my fourth normal cast after that I had a liner, then a bite, and from there it was crazy,” said John.
“The tip would go round as I was sinking the braid! I landed a fish right at the death, which proved to be the one that sealed individual gold. Winning hookbaits were two or three redworms tipped with a fluoro pinkie. The water was a bit coloured, and the fish could pick out that hookbait easily.
“Overall, it was a brilliant day, and it’s so nice to be back out fishing.”