I was busy on Wednesday and couldn’t make the White Acres mid week match, by Sunday I was chomping at
Preston Innovations White Acres
Waiting in the draw queue for the Preston Innovations festival was quite daunting. The quality of the anglers fishing this festival in my opinion is second to none. I spoke to Steve Ringer just after he drew, he told me he had drawn peg 24, I made a mental note not to draw that section! Not that I could do anything about it but you can imagine my horror when I drew peg 23, next to the great man. I knew that Steve came second on the lake from this peg on Friday fishing the feeder so there were a few fish in the area and Steve was very confident.
Decisions , Decisions
I was thinking on the way to Porth how to approach my match and decided that I really didn’t want to take Steve on fishing the feeder, so I had made my mind up to fish the pole. When I got to my peg the wind was off my back and the lake was fairly calm, there were small fish topping on the 20 metre line. I decided that it was going to be the waggler and pole day for me, I would set up a feeder but I really didn’t want to use it.
I set up three pole rigs to fish at seven sections of pole in about 9 – 10’ of water. I had Cralusso 1.5 gram golf to a .10 hook length and an 18’s PR21 hook. I also had two .6 gram Series Walter floats again with .10 hook lengths but this time with 18’s Middy T6313 hooks. For the waggler I had a SPRO 13’ medium rod and a 3AAA waggler. I set the depth at 6’ and had a bulk of no 8 shot half way down followed by some droppers to a .10 hook length and a PR 21 size 18.
Bait for the day was 3 ½ pints of casters a few maggots, worms and corn. My groundbait mix was 3 bags of Mosella All Round and two bags of Yorkshire Baits Black Octopus. At the all in I cupped eight big balls of GB containing some casters and chopped worm.
I started on the pole baiting with one dead red maggot and was pleased to net a dumpy 2 oz roach first put in. I had a good start getting in the region of 30 fish in the first 40 minutes, there was a mixture of roach and skimmers. I was feeding casters onto my waggler line whilst fishing the pole. The pole line was slowing down a bit but I was pleased to be edging in front of Steve who to be fair was having problems with snags on his feeder line.
On the hour mark I decided to have a look on the waggler, I re fed the pole line with a couple of balls and out I went. I had a bite first put in and was pleased to see a hand size skimmer come to the net. I started getting plenty of bites but they were hard to hit. I found it best to cast to the back end of where I was feeding and strike gently at the bites. If I connected great but if I didn’t I could have up to three strikes without re casting.
I kept having a look on the pole and would get a run of 5 or 6 fish then it would die, I would re feed and go back on the waggler. The remainder of the match was on that pattern but mostly spent on the wag. The fish seemed to want to be at about 5’ deep in I guess 15’ of water. I tried altering the depth but 5’ was the best. I had the majority of fish on the maggot with the odd one on caster. Overall I fed 3 pints of casters in a really enjoyable match.
Ding Dong, I want to ring my bell!
The whistle went and Steve was magnanimous in defeat saying that I had doubled him! I knew that wasn’t the case but it was a great feeling beating an angler of his calibre off the next peg. Secretly I couldn’t help but think that he wished he had a waggler rod with him! The scales arrived and Steve weighed around 11lb 6oz, my net went 15lb 7oz to not only win the section but to take third on the lake. Overall the match was won from the other bank by current world champion Will Raison who fished another blinder of peg 71 recording 20lb..
Day 2 Bolingey
I have drawn peg 29 a few times previously so knew the makeup of the peg. It was going to be a hard day with only 90lb winning the match the previous day. I was going to concentrate on three lines and hopefully sneak into the top three of the section.
At the start I fed my 14 ½ metre line via a toss pot with a few 6mm pellets and at the same time I loose fed my closer 5 metre line by hand with pieces of meat and corn. It took me over an hour to get my first fish which was a small carp. I had lost three foul hooked fish, not the start I was looking for. It was generally slow and I was definitely behind. After the first fish two more followed before another quiet spell.
A look on the 5 metre line resulted in a foul hooked fish and then a 5 pounder hooked properly. It was really difficult to string any bites together. With two hours to go I started feeding the edge a little more aggressively and with an hour left I saw a vortex to my right. That was it I was down the edge for the remainder of the match. I had five carp in the next 30 minutes and though I was finally flying. But just when you think you have it sorted it all goes pear shaped and I had a frustrating last 30 minutes with no bites!
It was a really tight section with Nick Dean taking first place with 56lb, there was a 54lb and I had 50lb for third spot, oh man that was close. I left the lake ruing the last half hour with no bites!
Day 3 Match Lake
This was another tight section and a good match but again it was not the kind of fishing that we have become accustomed to. I drew peg 12 and was really pleased with the draw it was not a match winning peg but one that I thought I could achieve second or even win the section. I had Matt Pillay to my right on peg 13 his peg had won the section the previous day so knew I was up against it.
There had been some carp around so it was a meat based attack on the pole at 5 and 14 metres. I had carp rigs set up but I was going to start with .12 hook lengths as it was important to try and catch some skimmers.
At the start I fed meat and casters on both my pole lines and had the obligatory look on the straight lead towards the island. I had no bites in the first 15 minutes so I was first out on the long pole. A small skimmer first drop gave me some hope but it proved to be a false hope as bites were hard to come by. Matt was now on the pole and was suffering the same, a couple of bites and then nothing.
The match was racing by and I really had nothing to show for it. I could see that peg 7 had a carp as did peg 9. It was time to take a gamble and I set up another rig to fish for roach! Loose feeding casters at 3 metres I was soon swinging small roach. I then had a good perch and a 2lb fantail I was just starting to enjoy myself having caught 8 to 10lb in an hour when it went quiet! Whether or not a carp had moved in I will never know but I didn’t catch one!
Matt on the other hand had gone onto his 5 metre line and had a 10 pounder which brought him closer to my weight. I went on my meat line desperately searching for a carp to no avail. Matt had another one with minutes to go which forced me back on the straight lead, more in desperation than anything else. I was pleased to see the tip slam round and I had a 6 pound fish with five minutes left. I cast out again but the sun was blinding, I was not sure if I had got close enough to the island but had to leave it in hope. It didn’t happen and the whistle went to make matters worse the guy on peg nine was playing a large carp.
Matt won the section with 26lb peg 9 was second with 25lb and I had third with 22lb. It could have been a lot worse. That night I was pleased to see myself in 16th position with two days to go, a section win would see me in the Parkdean Final!
Day 4 Trelawney or Python.
This was the time to come good at the draw bag! I had my dip and was really disappointed to see peg 4 staring back at me, I knew that this had been a really poor peg for three days and I immediately knew that I was up against it.
I really was having mixed feelings on how to approach the match I was tempted to have an hour for carp, three for roach and finish off looking for carp. My next thoughts were that I had to try and get the best out of a bad draw and fish for carp, I had some great anglers in the section on much better pegs.I had a chat with Timmy Rowe who had drawn the other section on Trelawney. And we thought that it would best to approach this match with winter style feeding, very little and working 6mm pellet hook bait. It seemed like a plan to me and that it is exactly what I did.
I set up three pole rigs for the day; the first was a .4 gram rig with shirt button style shotting to a .12 hook length and a 18’s PR36 hook set at dead depth, a heavier rig for the five metre line and an edge rig. The straight lead completed my set up for the day.
At the all in I went straight over on the straight lead and was disappointed to lose one first put, a few minutes later and I opened my account with a 2 ½ pounder. I had no more indications in the next thirty minutes so it was time for the pole. I had been pinging three 6 mm pellets on a regular basis onto my long pole line and now presented one on the hook.
After about five minutes I had a bite and was pleased to net a better stamp fish, I had a further six carp on the pole to end the match with 26lb and 5 points. There had been no bites on the five metre line or down the edge I had fed about half a pint of pellets on the long line and think it had been the correct tactics for the swim.
Further down the lake on peg 12 Steve Ringer had a disaster, but according to his neighbours had fished an absolute blinder of a match but had failed to catch any carp and consequently finished last in section. I mention this only because Steve acted in a thoroughly professional manner. There were no histrionics or throwing tackle around after the match, he may have been fuming internally but he didn’t show it, it really was a lesson for us all in professionalism.
Day 5 Trewaters
All too soon it was the last day and I was desperate for a section win to make the final. I drew 28 and a few fish had come off it the day before but it looked like it wasn’t a winning peg. The grapevine reported that not many fish had been caught on the pole the previous day and the waggler and feeder dominated. I set up the pole to fish the pole at the limit of 13 metres, the feeder and the waggler were also assembled.
It wasn’t a great match I had half a dozen fish on chopped worm on the pole. I seemed to wait for ages for a bite then have three fish in three puts. The bites were like the fish were really competing for food but that’s all I could catch! Frustrating is not the word, if I had hair I would have pulled it all out!
The feeder and waggler were a waste of time, I felt the presentation was ok but could not get a bite, yet the chap on the peg to my right was catching! Tim Rowe to my left was struggling worse than I.
There is not much more I can say other than I must be doing something wrong on this venue. I am using 0.10 hook lengths and small hooks yet I cannot get bites I guess I must try harder!
The 6lb I managed was way off the pace and left me with mediocre points to finish around 40th place in the festival. It just goes to show what a difficult sport this match angling is.
I would just like to express my gratitude to the staff at White Acres for running the festival and once again to Preston Innovations and Parkdean for their very generous sponsorship of the festival, you do angling proud long may it continue!
Congratulations Harry and Adam!
I cannot finish this without saying very well done to my mate and travelling partner Harry Billing on a faultless performance recording five section wins to storm the festival, well done mate!
The following day I watched the Parkdean final and it was two brilliant performances that stood out from two young anglers. They both fished fantastically and it was Adam Wakelin who took home the biggest pay cheque of his life £25K well done mate.
Commiserations to Adam Richards I met him on the fishing for fun festival a month or so ago and was impressed with his ability, I am sure your time will come young un keep at it.