Silver In Serbia

Dean Barlow reports back after a hard-earned silver medal with the Preston England Feeder team at the World Feeder Champs.


Now the dust has settled, it’s time to reflect on the World Feeder Champs in Serbia. This was always going to be a tough test, as this year we were flying out to the DTD Canal in Novi Sad, where our Preston Innovations England team was hoping for a record-breaking third gold medal in as many years.

The official practice started on the Monday and it was clear to see that the venue had changed from our previous trip four weeks earlier. Catfish had become a prominent species along with three different types of skimmers! We worked out that there was probably 20 different species of fish to catch!

The canal itself has two steep concrete banks with rocks at the bottom. We found it was important to not fish on the hard rock and to find the softer bottom where most of the species fed. This was around 22 to 24 metres out.

By Friday the team was picked and a plan was made ready for the start on Saturday morning. I must add that the weather was unbelievable. One day it would be 37 degrees and the next we would have thunder and lightning!

Day One

barlow-feeder-champs-2016-3Saturday morning I was handed peg B20, which I wasn’t too bad about as this section didn’t have an end peg. With 28 countries competing the section was split evenly into two 14-peg zones. I had Belarus on the next peg to my left and Germany to my right, with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Ireland also in my section. It was going to be a hard section.

I settled on 23m where the bottom was soft. I also had a short line where we had been catching small fish as a backup. I fed 10 feeders of worms and joker during the official prebaiting period then got myself ready for the start.

First cast produced a catfish so I was up and running. One problem I had was there was some line in my peg, so I would have to stand up and play every fish to stop them becoming snagged! There was an odd bite from tiny bottletop skimmers on the drop and odd catfish on the bottom. It was plain to see there wasn’t any amount of catfish in the area, which was a little worrying, so I got my head down and kept putting fish in the net.

What we found is that you would get a ‘visit’ meaning you would get a shoal of fish move into your peg and you’d get bites instantly! By halfway through I was in the top three with my fish count, when the Belarus angler on the next peg had a visit, netting five big skimmers. Then, the other side had his visit of four big skimmers. Mine came with three skimmers and that was pretty much how it went until the end. I had three good visits while either side had four, which I can only put down to the fact they were fishing a little further out. I ended up with 3.7kg to finish 5th in the section and being beat by 20 grams for 4th. Belarus won the section next to me.

The other guys had done superbly, each winning their sections, leaving the team on top with 9 points, closely followed by Germany and Austria, both with 11 points.

Day Two

barlow-feeder-champs-2016-2With us winning the first day our tactics didn’t change. I found myself on peg D10, which was a very difficult area on the first day. It’s set back in the start of a big bay with the good pegs to my left in the main channel. Also this area is renowned for snags with people losing whole setup during the practice days.

I started at 24 metres, with two catfish in the first 30 minutes then nothing. A change to my short line was needed where I caught odd little skimmers. The teams to my right had started to catch odd carassio, so a slight change to catch them was needed but it never materialised. The section was fishing really poor so I kept the small fish coming.

Word came down that we were fighting for silver medal as Germany was in the lead by some margin. At the scales my catch of small fish weighed just under 2kg for 8th in section and 3kg won the section, but 2.1kg was 4th, so it was very close. On reflection chasing carassio probaly cost me some points but even a section win wouldn’t have had made any difference to the end result.

Steve Ringer and Adam Wakelin both won their sections again with Phil Ringer 7th and Mick Vials 8th. The Germans had another good day winning with just 10 points and a total of 21 for gold, so congratulations to them!

England finished on 34 points for a silver medal with Austria on 36 points for bronze. Steve Ringer also managed a silver individual medal with a perfect 2-point score and Adam Wakelin ended up 4th also with the maximum score but missing out on a medal on weight.

barlow-feeder-champs-2016-4A silver medal is not to be sniffed at, but it’s not every day you have chance to make history so it was a bitter sweet feeling. One thing is for sure, the Three Lions will be roaring to get the title back next year in Portugal.

barlow-feeder-champs-2016-5I would like to thank Preston innovations for their brilliant support. Without them we would not be able to do what we do. Also to Tommy Pickering, Glenn Lawrence, Will Freeman, Eddie Bridon and all the bank runners who gave their all in some very difficult conditions.

For me now I have Evesham and Feedermasters to concentrate on, so a busy time ahead. Tight lines!