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Ted Carter Southport - Division One National Champions 2017

Team Captain Chris Gorrell reflects on this weekends result:

Saturday 19th August 2017 is a day that will never be forgotten as we managed to lift the title and become Division One National champions on the Shropshire Union Canal around Market Drayton.

In the weeks up to the event the team put a lot of time into practice, as many teams did. Many of the members fished the opens, canal pairs, RAF national and individual nationals to give themselves every opportunity to get in touch with the moods of this varied venue.

Dave Trafford in particular was clearly in touch with the venue and enjoyed most success in practice and was quickly pointing the lads in the right direction having picked up on some tactics that worked well for him.

The teams selected for the day was myself, John Brogden, Dave Trafford, Paul Hughes, Kev Lavelle, Stuart Bird, Richard Yates, Marc Ellement, Ste Butler and Barry Thomas. Choosing the final ten was a difficult task with Dave Denton, Dave Lister and Damo Brierley bringing lots to the table in practice. We also had Paul Lavelle there on the day supporting his son Kevin.

Dave Lister spent a considerable amount of time in sorting the bait for the lads on the day, in his role within the Ted Carter shop itself. He really did us proud and all of the bait was top notch!

After the draw itself it appeared we had some pegs we were confident of a good return from and one or two others less so. All the lads were keen to get off and set about their days fishing.

In terms of tactics we kept it simple and settled on a lob worm line down the middle, chopping up to 70 lobs throughout the day. A ground bait and squatt approach in depths between 2ft – 12 ins, some of the lads were more confident of a bread and hemp approach on this line. This decision was left up to the individual. Finally if any of the lads had features across this line was fed sparingly with casters and a few chopped dendrabena worms.

Ground bait was a mix of Sensas Match Blend and Etang, if lads wanted to darken off the mix then some added some canal black. The bread line was a combination of Sensas punch crumb and liquidised bread itself. Thanks to Paul Hughes and his Sensas colleagues for sorting out the ground bait for the lads.

The key in practice, and has been documented by many teams already was to catch bonus fish early. At the meeting we decided to remain positive and commit the first hour of the match to catching a bonus perch, skimmer or bream. Fortunately, several of the team managed just this!

In essence though the success lies with the ability of the others to then catch small fish for the remainder and the lads did this well. In practice we had caught well in the harder areas fishing small punches of bread over loose fed hemp, occasionally fishing a piece of hemp over the top. If lads felt plenty of Gudgeon were present then they focussed on fishing squats for these.

Upon return to the presentation it appeared we had done well as a team. You can never be sure but we felt confident of a top three finish. The tension as the results were announced was massive. In third were Drennan North West, then the Angling Trust announced Maver Midlands in second, meaning we had WON. The lads were ecstatic and it was a proud moment for the team as we lifted the trophy to the applause and cheer from the rest of our competitors. The sportsmanship displayed by all was exemplary and our rivals and friends of which we have competed against for years were quick to congratulate the success.

Special mention must go to Barry Thomas and Stephen Butler in making no mistake of their good draws and both catching section winning weights! Barry has made far more appearances for the team over the years than any other member and his national record is something to be admired, well done mate and keep up the good work!

On behalf of the team we would like to thank Ted Carters, Graham and his family for their ongoing support of the team. The lads really appreciate everything you put into the team. Other thankyous must go to my best mate John Brogden, unbeknown to many John actually sorts out all the administrative and financial aspects to the team and has done for many years, his support is invaluable!

The team looks forward to the opportunity to represent England and compete in the world club championships in Hungary next year and of course trying to retain its Lancashire Winter League title in the coming months.

On a final note thank you for all the messages of congratulations on social media and phone calls, I know the lads have been inundated since the win. This achievement means such a lot to the team and is a day none of the lads will ever forget!

Ted Carter Champions!

Tight lines,