Here are Dean Barlow’s highlights from another eventful year.
Well another year has flown by and to be fair it’s been a pretty good one. I have moved house twice in six months and settled in Wiltshire. Family life is good, which makes your fishing better!
The year started off pretty good with catching plenty of fish on the local Kennet & Avon Canal and also qualifing for the Barston Masters. Barston has become one of my favourite venues as you can catch on any method and the silverfish sport is second to none. I’ll definitely be going every month on next year’s Masters qualifiers.
As soon as March came around it was time to think about the World Feeder Champs. This year Preston Innovations England were defending champions, so we went over to Holland several times to practice on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal.
We have been fishing this large ship canal for the past three years knowing this was going to be the World Champs venue. The result was another gold medal by the smallest of margins – just half a point! With an hour to go we probably wasn’t even in the top three, but we did our job and with a bit of luck we managed it. I like to think we made our own luck as the amount of times we practiced the venue over the years paid off.
After coming back from the World Champs I spent a couple of weeks with my family to help recharge the batteries! My next interest was the Evesham Bank Holiday Festival. This weekend has always been close to my heart, as I used to come and watch my dad fish this festival when I was a small boy. Also this year I had chance to fish the team match again with Team Drennan, comprising of Wayne Swiscoe, Jon Arthur, Dan Varney, Steve Winter and myself.
First, however, we had to qualify, which we did the first time of asking. I fished a couple of bloodworm matches leading up to the event to get ready for the big weekend. On the Saturday Evesham Individual Championship match I drew a poor peg and caught 2lb. On the Sunday Wychavon Championship I drew Peg 6 which can be a good area if the roach feed. Luckily they did and I won the competition with 9lb. This win meant a lot to me as my dad had won the same competition back in 1984, so to have the trophy is a dream come true.
Unbelievably, the next day’s Match Fishing Team Championship draw put me on the same peg! luckily again the roach fed and another 9lb weight put me 2nd individual. The team finished 4th overall, which was a really decent result for our ‘new’ team, as the top three were Drennan Barnsley, Kamasan Starlets and Daiwa Dorking – arguably the best three teams in the country.
Productwise, the release of the of Acolyte Feeder rods was massive. Having been involved in the development of these rods it was a proud moment to release the best feeder rod I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Check out the video we did earlier in the year.
One product I have Been using a lot more is Supplex Flurocarbon. On both the feeder and pole it’s definitely worth a try. With less spin ups when feeder fishing it’s definitely a winner.
Since Evesham, I’ve just been fishing local on the canal with the odd trip to Barston. The canal has been fishing really well with weights up to 20lb of skimmers and perch gracing the net. I also managed to squeeze in a couple of days on the Drennan Rive Silverfish Festival at White Acres.
So that’s my year in a nutshell. My aims for next year is getting selected to fish for England again. The World Champs are in Serbia where England will be trying to win three in a row; something no other team has achieved. Also the start of a new competition, the Feedermasters is going to be high on my list.
So that’s me done for another year. I would like to thank Drennan who have supported me in all the fishing that I do. Also Bait-Tech for their brilliant bait products and a special mention to Preston Innovations who sponsor the England feeder team and make it possible for us to win our Gold medals.