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I thought I would write something a little different from the norm to highlight that some anglers don’t have the luxury to make an impact on their local commercial or natural water like most anglers have. I speak for all the Armed Forces anglers but in particular the British Army.

As an ex-serviceman myself I can fully appreciate how hard it is for these guys to find the time to fish as an individual but even harder to come together as a team; obviously each one signed up to carry out a duty to the queen whether that be based at home in the UK, abroad at an overseas regiment or on operational tours worldwide.

Throughout the calendar year these guys may only get to see the bank a handful of times and be expected to compete under their individual Corps or Army banner, so when it comes to events like nationals or inter service events they have to fight even harder to compete against the already established and shall we say, match fit teams.

A Corps is basically a section of the Army that specialises in a certain area: Infantry, Engineers, Artillery, Logistics and so on, there are 21 different Corps throughout and some are sub divided again. This in itself produces a huge rivalry between each division that leads to good competition.

When it comes to selection it could be, and is very likely at times of high operations throughout the world to be very difficult to not only pin enough anglers down to fill a team but also for those anglers have the time to be allowed to practice.

They not only have issues with availability of anglers but they also have to fight against all other sports throughout, as we all know the Army is a physical unit so when requesting time off to go fishing for a weeks practice it is always very challenging as fishing is not seen as a serious sport mainly because it doesn’t involve running around in some capacity.

Over the past I have spent some time with several guys practicing on the banks of the New Junction Canal and said I wanted to write an article which will hopefully highlight to each Regimental Commanding Officer how serious fishing is as a sport not just for serving guys but as a whole in the UK and Europe.

We know as anglers how demanding and tiring it can be but those who don’t participate in it do not. Something I tried to change when I was serving, but with the power of media and particular social media we hope we can bring its attention to the powers that be to make an imminent change.

So how does angling work in the Army?

Basically, the UK is split into 6 groups and units serving in both Germany and Northern Ireland used to each form a group but due to the Armed Forces moving away from these countries they no longer have the numbers to take part; so for anyone that is based within a group catchment area will form part of their league for the season.

Each group fish the same number of matches throughout the year in which several have to be held on natural waters creating a good all-round anglers rather than those just suited to commercials. At the end of the season each group will hold an AGM where the secretary will put forward a list of names to the Fosters Army Team Captain and Manager who he believes is of high enough standard to compete at Army level.

From here they will attend scheduled practice sessions and this will result in the team for that event being selected; this is why the need for natural waters also being a part of the calendar to ensure that the team is as strong as it can be.

At the end of the season the whole of the Army Angling come together for their annual festival, each group have a turn at hosting the festival so it is usually widespread at the larger venues throughout the UK, venues that can comfortably house the 100+ anglers taking part.

The festival is split into different events ranging from individual, charity, through to team events. It is always a great weeks fishing wherever it is held and is the seasons highlight. This year’s festival is being primarily held at Woodlands Lakes in Thirsk, with an event taking place on the River Tees and also the team event on The New Junction canal, so even during the festival it is varied.

The festival also serves another purpose, it is a great opportunity to bring all of the anglers together, to encourage and coach those who are just starting within the federation or less experienced.

The Events

There are individual two events which are held over two separate days; The first is the Masters, this is for the more experienced anglers and those that are deemed good enough to compete at Corps level. Whilst this event takes place the less experienced anglers can sit behind any angler and watch, ask questions and learn as much as possible for 6 hours.

The second day is the Clubman this is the reverse of the masters where the experienced guys can go around and coach people as they fish also, anglers who fish in the masters are no longer eligible to fish the clubman again as they have made the step up.

There are other matches such as a charity fundraiser, to an open plate which involves any reservist or ex serving guys and the individual Army Championship to determine the years Army Champion; but the one event that I have always loved through the festival is the Inter Corps team event, again selection was always a part of the process to make the 6-man team but the one where pride takes over any individual result.

Inter Corps Team Event

As I am no longer serving I am unable to fish the event, but was asked by the current Royal Engineers captain Gaz Arnold who I served with during my time in the army, if I would do some coaching and practice sessions with his current squad in readiness for this event.

The last time my Corps won the event was 5 years previous on my very last day in the Army on the same section of the same canal. I jumped at the chance as I wanted the title to return to us in an event where we dominated for many years going back into the 80’s but have recently lacked experience on natural venues. To give us a further boost, I also arranged a coaching day with England International Lee Kerry at the end of the week, he would offer his invaluable input to the team plan something I can’t recommend highly enough.

After speaking to local tackle shops and Lee himself we had a very good idea of how to approach the week, and it was great to see three of the anglers who had never fished a canal before adapt to it as quickly as they did. This was one of the main reasons for the week’s practice especially when they would be fishing against some fantastic anglers and some even better natural water anglers.

Understanding a venue is key to success to be able to adapt to any given situation, and throughout the week noticing the changes in conditions such as water clarity and weather conditions and how they affected the feeding, once the guys figured out the changes they could react to keep the bites coming.

One key area which the less experienced anglers learned was feeding and how crucial this was, not only playing a part in their event but something they now have a much better understanding of which they can adopt into all their angling.

I know that some areas of the approach that were discussed, highlighted and practiced up to the day were not initially grasped by eberybody, but once you see one of the world’s best in Lee Kerry doing it and proving how important it is, it sunk in and they all went away as ready as they could be.

After some last minute pointers and sound words of advice the team was ready. The next night a match plan was made and discussed making best use of the tips that Lee gave to ensure that on the day the team could make the best start possible.

The Match…

The match itself got off to an absolute flyer with all the teams anglers catching fish from the word go, it was my job to ensure they kept catching throughout the match making minor adjustments along the way, we had heavy rain the day before and with the sun beaming down the canal it made it very difficult later in the match.

There were several other guys bank running the canal helping their own teams out so it was down to keeping the guys concentrated and themselves remembering what they were taught and when to notice the changes to keep bites coming. It was in no way fast and furious something Lee stressed to them would be the case so it was hard to judge just how well they were doing.

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Once the scales arrived it was nervous for us as a team as the other teams knew how much preparation had gone into the practice week, only a win could save any blushes from the abuse we would receive if we did not win.

When the scales arrived at our sixth man it was a mixture of elation, pride and relief to see the lads take the win and in some style. They finished with a near perfect score of eight points out a possible six with four section wins and two section seconds. Achieving what the guys did in six days I have never felt so proud and it’s one of my best moments in angling having played a small part in their achievement.

The Royal Engineers Corps Team consisted of Sergeant Gaz Arnold (Team Captain), Staff Sergeant Tez Proud, Staff Sergeant Graeme Dickson, Corporal Mark Kirkbright, Sapper Ryan Gibson and Lance Corporal Bobbi Sands.

One angler in particular I was very impressed with was Ryan after a nervous and shaky start to the week he became very consistent and during the match he performed fantastically by not letting others around him who caught bonus fish break his concentration.

He remained focussed and very disciplined throughout and to say a week earlier he had never fished a canal before, he has even gone on to win the open plate over the last two days with a perfect two-point score. A fantastic effort by all who fished on a very hard day to turn up from as far as Germany and put in a performance and massive well done to Mark Kirkbright for taking the overall win.

Results:

Main

1st – Royal Engineers (RE)   8 points
2nd – Adjutant General’s Corps (AGC)      20 Points
3rd – Royal Signals (R Sigs) 23 points
4th – Royal Logistic Corps (RLC)           27 Points
5th – Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) 30 Points
6th – Infantry (INF)   31 Points
7th – Royal Artillery (RA)     32 Points

Individual:

 
1st – Mark Kirkbright (RE) 4kg 120g
2nd – Tez Proud (RE) 3kg 270g
3rd – Garry Evans (AGC) 3kg 250g

 

 

 

Des Shipp’s Pellet Waggler Masterclass

 

Des Shipp explains when fishing the waggler can give you the edge over other methods…

Fishing the waggler is a tactic that requires almost unparalleled hard work and perseverance. However, done correctly, in the right situation it can prove to be devastating, just as I proved in a recent Maver Match This qualifier at Gold Valley Lakes, where I qualified for the £65,000 grand final!

 

Why The Waggler?

The first and probably most obvious reason for choosing to fish a waggler over the pole is its versatility and range. You can simply fish much further out using a waggler than you can the pole; it is therefore suited perfectly for large lakes or up to features where the pole cannot reach or using a feeder isn’t suitable.

It also thrives on tightly pegged venues where fishing the waggler can create space for yourself by fishing an area of the lake nobody else is venturing into.

In modern commercial fishing, when somebody refers to the waggler, nine times out of 10 the pellet waggler is what is being referred to. However, I would be perfectly happy to reach for an insert or straight waggler should the conditions suit.

To help, here is a quick run through of what each variety is useful for:

Float_Choice.jpg

 

Pellet Waggler

My number-one choice for carp in the upper layers and arguably the busiest method out there, but hard work definitely pays dividends!

A nice dumpy pattern helps with hooking fish; the buoyancy of the float can aid with self-hooking – don’t go too big, though, you are looking for a plop that imitates that of a pellet landing in the water when casting!

 

Insert Waggler

A sensitive pattern of waggler, perfect when a degree of finesse is needed, this is my go-to float of choice when fishing for roach, skimmers and even F1s on commercial fisheries using baits such as maggots, casters or worms.

The tip is thinner than the rest of the float and this aids sensitivity and bite indication.

 

Straight Waggler

A more buoyant alternative to the insert waggler, this has a multitude of uses.

The straight waggler comes into its own when there is a tow on the lake; its buoyancy means you are able to lay line on the bottom of the lake without the float being dragged under by the tow.

It also makes a brilliant float for fishing shallow for carp using baits such as meat or pellets; its structure means it has a dibber effect.

Pellet_2.jpg
A Simple Hook bait!

 

Got It In The Locker?

Having the ability to fish with any type of waggler, and being completely comfortable in getting it out of the bag whenever I feel it’s suitable, puts me on the front foot at a lot of venues.

To use the Gold Valley Lakes Maver Match This qualifier as an example, I opted for a pellet-waggler approach to the match. On the day I drew Peg 50 on Gold Lake, which gave me plenty of room to go at and draw fish from. I knew that I stood a good chance of the match win from there!

It was a particularly hot day with plenty of fish cruising around the lake. I therefore expected to catch in the upper layers of the lake, an area where the pellet waggler is particularly prolific.

Gold Lake is large in size and is occupied by some big, wary carp. These tackle dodgers have seen it all before and are often the wisest occupants of a lake, so will back off from the hustle and bustle of anglers on the banks towards the middle of the lake… prime waggler territory. Due to the size of the fish often caught on this method, between 20 and 25 fish was almost certainly going to be good enough to do the business on the day.

I found having the rig set at three feet deep worked best, although ordinarily I would fish anywhere between 12 inches and two feet. The lakes at Gold Valley are quite deep so I felt that this extra depth meant I had given myself more of an area to target while still focusing on the upper layers of the swim.

My 23 fish on the day weighed in at 172lb which was just over 20lb clear of the runner-up; averaging just over four fish an hour but each of those weighing on average 7½lb it is clear to see how a weight can be built up quickly.

The key is to not stop working. Feed, cast (past feed area), feed, reel into feed area, feed, reel in and repeat. You should never have your rod or catapult out of your hand!

 

The Setup

This could not get any simpler!

Float size depends on how far I am likely to be casting, and on the day a 4g Preston Innovations Dura Pellet Wag was just about perfect. It features a small, interchangeable disk that stops the waggler from diving on landing, and being a small, dumpy float that is extremely buoyant helps with the hooking of fish as they can often hook themselves against the resistance of the float.

How the waggler enters the water will be the difference between getting a bite or not in the majority of cases. The float should enter the water with a nice ‘plop’ (similar to the noise of an 8mm pellet landing in the swim) and sit upright instantly. Not crash into the water, dive two feet down and slowly rise back to the surface! Like I said, this can be the difference between getting a bite and not and you would be surprised how far a little bit of practice goes.

The float is then attached using the Preston Innovations Float Stop Kit, which comes supplied ready to slide straight onto your reel line and each setup comprises four float stops and a link swivel.

One float stop sits above the float and the remaining three sit below the float and act as a boom to keep the rig from wrapping around itself, reducing the risk of getting tangled or running into any problems throughout the match. This is vitally important when casting and reeling in on a near constant basis.

Float_Stop_Kit.jpg
You don't need locking shot with these!

 

My rod of choice depends on how I want it to perform. I have two main options, either an 11ft 6in Power Float, which has an all-through action that I like to use when bigger carp are on the cards, or a 12ft Super Float rod that I see as more of an all-rounder and its action is very ‘tippy’.

Both of these rods allow me to fish with relatively low-diameter lines as the action of the rods cushion any darts the fish may make. A 4 or 5lb Power Max reel line is as heavy as I would fish even when targeting big fish in this manner. You would be surprised how much stick it takes to have this snap.

To finish off the setup either a PR 36 or PR 38 hook tied to 0.15/0.17mm diameter Reflo Power will handle anything I am likely to come up against. A band in a hair and an 8mm pellet is my number-one bait of choice.

 

Work Hard, Reap The Rewards

Fishing the pellet waggler is all about hard work and getting into a rhythm. It is a method that needs your full attention in order to get it right on the day. Although you are only feeding on average three pellets at any one time you may do this three times every minute during the match and in between this you will either be casting, reeling in or playing a fish!

Similar to fishing shallow on the pole, finding the depth at which the fish want to feed will help with catch rate. A good starting point for the pellet waggler would be two feet. You then also need to work out whether the fish want to feed inside the feed area or off the back of the feed. It is therefore important to cast two metres or so past your feed area, feed, then reel into the feed; this will give you two opportunities to get a bite.

The key is to keep busy. If you are sat there impersonating a garden gnome you are doing something wrong. If nothing is happening then you need to make it happen. What you have got to remember is that when this method works, the size of the fish you are catching is generally big.

This is where match management comes into play; if the fish that you are catching are averaging 5lb a piece you only need four fish an hour to finish a standard five-hour match with 100lb. Breaking your session up in this way will help you to work out whether something needs to change or you are on the right track. However, it is those who keep working that will consistently produce weights capable of winning matches…

 

Venue File -

Woodland View Fishery

Location: Hay Lane, Droitwich, WR9 0AU.

Day ticket: £8

Contact: 01905 620872

Website: www.woodlandviewfishery.co.uk

 

Angler Profile -

Des Shipp

Age: 43

Lives: Bristol

Sponsors: Preston Innovations, Sonubaits

Angler's Name Weight (lbs/oz) Peg # / Lake
Perry Stone (Spro) 198-12-00 80 (Lake 5)
David Brown (Maver Midlands) 182-10-00 22 (Foundation)
Frankie Gianoncelli (Preston Innovations / Sonu Baits) 181-10-00 88 (Lake 6)
Matthew Higgins (Neptune Angling) 153-00-00 50 (Lake 3)
Ben Hagg (Guru / Daiwa) 137-00-00 7 (Lake 1)
Jason Collins (Preston Innovations / Sonu Baits) 133-12-00 17 (Lake 1)
Ryan Lidgard 123-02-00 105 (Lake 7)
Jake Fowles (Pole & Match Fishing Magazine) 117-12-00 27 (Lake 1)

 

The 2016 Mega Match This qualifier campaign finished on a high with another sell-out event at The Glebe. Conditions on the day were not ideal with the fishing proving difficult for some on account of the bright sunshine and lack of any ripple. That said, weights were still exceptional, especially given recent events - testament to just how well the Glebe as a venue is managed and one of the reasons why this particular qualifier venue always proves so popular amongst anglers.

Securing the final 2016 Match This Grand final place was Perry Stone. Perry is no stranger to competing in Match This finals having already fished two to date as well winning the 2011 Match This 'Runner-up' final - the only year this particular final was staged. Perry started his match fishing paste short to take a dozen fish early on before switching to the long pole offering casters up in the water. Perry found all carp up to 7lbs to weigh in 198-12-00 from peg 80 on lake 5. Perry will now also fish the Maver British Pole Championship final - an event he has won in the past.

Finishing in second place and also qualifying for this year's British Pole Championship final was Maver Midlands rod, Dave Brown. Dave drew peg 22 on Foundation and secured a lake win with an excellent 182-10-00. Dave fished caster up in the water for the majority of the match to find carp up to around 7lbs.

Preston's Frankie Gianoncelli (Sonu Baits) took third place from peg 88 on lake 6. Opting to fish the pellet waggler, Frankie found quality carp to 12lbs to weigh in a final 181-10-00 at the end of the five hours.

Maver are proud and excited to announce a new sponsorship deal that has been agreed with angling charity Match-Aid.

Match-Aid is an organisation whose vision is to raise money to support young people participating in Angling including cadets and juniors who require that little extra support. Everybody connected with Match-Aid offer their time and support on a voluntary basis and dedicate a huge amount of personal and family time, ensuring that all funds raised are used for promoting an inclusion for all interested in angling and supporting UK charities.

For 2016 and beyond the charity intend to organise, promote and support junior angling, which will be achieved by organising fund raising matches and Junior Match-Aid events. We are delighted to confirm that Maver will be at the centre of all future Match-Aid events offering help, support and prizes as well sponsoring the Match-Aid junior squad.

The charity already work very closely with our own Sarah Taylor, who has recently joined Match-Aid as a sponsored team angler. We are aware of all the hard work Match Aid undertake in encouraging youngsters into the sport and have offered our full support as a form of recognition of the charities continued efforts. To this end, Maver's Sarah Taylor has also recently agreed to join the Match-Aid team as a sponsored team angler. Therefore, a mutual sponsorship agreement seems the prudent thing to offer at this stage.

sarah-taylor-match-aid.jpg

Hallcroft Fisheries, Retford, 6th August 2016

Angler's Name

Weight (lbs/oz)

Peg # / Lake

Matt Arnold

161-14-00

16 (Bridge Island)

Chris Kitchin

120-01-00

74 (Moat Outer)

Paul Wright (Halkon Hunt)

104-06-00

8 (Reed)

Oliver Stringer

95-15-00

20 (Reed)

Frankie Gianoncelli (Preston Innovations / Sonu Baits)

85-10-00

2 (Canal)

Craig Owen

83-10-00

31 (Reed)

Les Marshall (Barnsley Bait Co.)

79-02-00

49 (Moat Island)

Darren Oldham

72-00-00

26 (Bridge Outer)

The best turnout to date on a Mega Match This qualifier at Hallcroft Fishery saw one hundred and nine (109) anglers attend this Saturday qualifier event. Conditions on the day were extremely warm with very little cloud cover about. However, a slight breeze gave some anglers, depending on where they had drawn, a slight ripple which made all the difference to those that caught compared to those that didn't.

A new competition for disabled anglers launched in the East Midlands

 

A brand new competition for disabled anglers is being launched in the East Midlands. The inaugural East Midlands Disabled Angling Championships will be taking place on Thursday 22nd September at Rycroft Fishery, Derbyshire (DE74 2RE) on Moat Lake.

The competition has been established in partnership with the Angling Trust to create more opportunities for disabled anglers to fish in competitions. The match will form part of an on going calendar of local matches for disabled anglers taking place at accessible fisheries.

Steve Barraclough has signed an individual sponsorship deal with Browning Fishing, part of the Zebco Europe group of brands. Steve, from Wakefield, West Yorks, will be representing the brand a major fishing events and assisting with future product development. A9.jpg

Browning has also signed two new teams in the North and South of the country. Browning Osset are a long established Yorkshire team who have competed at top level for many years.  They are the current Angling Trust National Champions having won the 2016 final on the Fen Drains and Decoy Lakes. Browning South East are a well known and respected team based around North Kent area. They compete with success in team events and as individuals on the busy SE match circuit. The teams will receive support in their match fishing activities and will assist with promotion of Browning products and brand.

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Frerk Petersen, Director Europe Marketing & Product Development: "We are broadening our sponsorship scheme in the UK to get more product exposure in areas where we are under represented. Sponsorship is very important to us as we expect our teams to be ambassadors for our company and a test-bed for our products.  Anglers can always approach our sponsored anglers to see and try our products." 

Stephane Pottelet Joins Garbolino

One of the highest profile names on the world championship stage has joined SERT as Garbolino brand manager. Stephane Pottelet is highly regarded by anglers across the world, as one of the very best pole and waggler anglers of his generation and his record in team and individual events over the last 10 years is incredible! His achievements include team gold, silver and bronze medals at World and European level with the French national team, as well as individual silver and bronze medals at the world championships. The three-time champion of France also has other key skills that he is keen to apply to the Garbolino brand.

Garbolino’s Jerome Mio has stepped up to take over the responsibility of sales and marketing manager and is delighted with the appointment of Stephane, who he believes will add even more strength to the brand, which is growing rapidly across Europe.

Garbolino UK’s Darren Cox also commented: “This is fantastic news for the brand. Stephane is at the top of the tree when it comes to international match fishing, has a very technical mind with lots of great ideas that will enhance the brand and our product offering. It’s exciting times ahead for Garbolino.”

Tunnel Barn Farm, Shrewley, 13th August 2016

Angler's Name

Weight (lbs/oz)

Peg # / Lake

Stephen Openshaw (Lingmere Fishery)

224-00-00

6 (Jenny's)

Richard Bond (Matrix Image)

206-13-00

12 (Canal)

Marc Rodger

197-08-00

8 (Jenny's)

Connor Barlow (Daiwa / Guru)

192-09-00

40 (New)

Frankie Gianoncelli (Preston Innovations / Sonu Baits)

185-12-00

6 (Extension)

Kieron Rich (Middy / Burt Baits)

181-12-00

11 (Jenny's)

Jon Jowett (Preston Innovations)

166-12-00

2 (Canal)

Steven Knowles

145-15-00

16 (Jenny's)

A good turn-out at the ever-popular Tunnel Barn Farm saw one hundred and two (102) anglers attend this penultimate Match This qualifier. With just one more qualifier remaining, time is fast running out for those anglers hoping to book their place in this year's Grand final that have yet to do so. Conditions for this latest qualifier were warm and sunny with the resident carp and F1's responding well and feeding in numbers up in the water. As per previous year's events, the standard of fishing was exceptional with twelve of the thirteen sections being won with in excess of 100lbs!

Claiming the last but one place in this year's Match This final was Stephen Openshaw. Steve is no stranger to the Match This final having narrowly missed out on a cheque for £3,000 back in 2013 when he finished just outside of the main frame in fourth place. Steve drew peg 6 on the prolific Jenny's lake and fished caster shallow for most of the match to weigh in a superb 224lbs at the end of the five hours. Steve will now take part in this second Match This final and will be hopeful of bettering his 2013 finish.

Finishing runner-up on the day was Richard Bond (Matrix Image). Richard secured a lake win from peg 12 on Canal with an equally impressive 206-13-00. Richard caught on caster fished both over to the far side and up in the water before coming down his edge late on to find some bonus carp up to 6lbs to boost his overall weight.

Rounding off the top three finish was Marc Rodger. Marc drew peg 8 on Jenny's and also fished caster up in the water for most the match to end proceedings with 197-08-00.

Sometimes you just have a day's fishing that you will never forget, well last Thursday I had one, catching my personal best match weight ever.

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