After a series of two-day team trials held around the country over the past few months, the 17th & 18th  May saw 17 exceptionally talented anglers battle it out for the 6 available places for the 2014 Angling Trust Team England Lure Squad.

This final eliminator was held on the magnificent Llangorse Lake in the Brecon Beacons. A venue which has a well acknowledged track record of fantastic pike fishing.

The selected England squad along with reserves and management will represent the Angling Trust at the FIPSed 7th Carnivorous Artificial Baits Boat World Championship’s being held on Lake Bourget at Aix-Les-Bains in South Eastern France this coming October.

Saturday morning saw the anglers set up ready for the off at 10am with the day’s finish set for 4pm. With the weather being ultra bright, little cloud cover and barely any wind rippling the water, conditions for fishing were far from ideal.  With a mixture of pleased and disappointed faces to behold, it was obvious as to who had done well or not.  The Top 6 at the end of the first day were: – Eric Edwards, Gary Palmer, Dan Brackley, Evaldas Skablauskas, Jan Henrik Munnik & Ron Dalton. However, with everyone else very close behind and with another day in prospect it was all to fish for. 

The cloudy start on the Sunday quickly disappeared to leave bright blue skies with the wind dying out by the afternoon; leaving a light breeze rippling the waters surface.  A slightly earlier start to the day gave all the competitors the chance to take advantage of what cloud cover they had to tempt early fish to their nets before the sun came out and made the fishing harder.

Once the figures had been collected and collated, the final results were ready to be announced to the anxious and waiting competitors. A dropped fish here or there meant that more than a few missed out on the squad by just a few centimetres or just that one extra pike making the difference between positions.

The 2014 Team England Lure Squad to represent the Angling Trust at the  FIPSed 7th World Championships are: – Gary Palmer (Captain), Sam Edmonds, Eric Edwards, Daniel Brackley, Rikki Cooper, Gary Edmonds, and Mike Skipper (Manager).

Due to the rules imposed by the governing body of FIPSed, the team can only include one non-national born angler in the squad and that place was taken by Daniel Brackley who was born in Zimbabwe. Despite Lithuanian born Evaldas Skablauskas, who represented the nation in last year’s squad scoring more points than Gary Edmonds, this rule sees him on stand-by to replace Daniel if anything happens. Second reserve for any of the other English born anglers will be Ron Dalton who lives in Bury St Edmunds.

Mike Skipper, England Manager stated “To see 4 of those first 6 make the team once again through a full trials experience made all that initial work seem more valid than ever; and with one other making the reserve list that little bit sweeter. My congratulations to Gary Palmer who I believe will make an excellent captain. To father and son pairing Gary & Sam Edmonds, who really pulled themselves up to the level required from them on Sunday, and to Eric Edwards who never ceases to amaze me with the way he has adapted to the competitive style of fishing. Finally, to Evaldas Skablauskas who’s determination to try to overtake Daniel throughout the final simply stunned me with the amount of effort he put in. His spirit was a shining light to all, just how much it means to individuals to represent the nation at these World Championships.”

Joining us for the first time, Daniel Brackley brings a huge amount of knowledge and that little extra flair that will add an extra competitive edge to the make up of the squad, whilst the other newcomer Rikki Cooper brings us an extra strength and depth to the squad with his multi-skills approach that will assist us greatly on Lake Bourget this October.  I am so proud of the attitude and effort given by all those that took part in the trials process, and would like to personally thank each and every one for making it such a great Final. The resulting outcome of this process is a strong squad that I feel has the ability to do extremely well this October. To say I’m pleased as punch with the squad we have selected would have to be an understatement.”

Dick Clegg OBE, International Events Manager, Angling Trust stated “’When I discussed the possibility of entering a team into this FIPSed competition I wasn’t aware of the amount of interest it would raise. I am pleasantly surprised by the numbers who want to get involved and I can see that it won’t be long before the team has its first podium place.  Mike Skipper has done a sterling job in organising the squad and the trials to select this years team to compete in France. I am sure we all wish them the best of luck in England’s second attempt year at World level.”