The venue, Nigel Harry’s
The match was fished along one bank of the big lake and on the morning, ‘pole only’ math, Alex drew peg 5. He decided on a pellet and groundbait approach for skimmers at 13 metres and also fed a shorter 6 metre line.
“With each match only being three hours long, before having to move swims for the next match, I was certain that concentrating on one main line at 13 metres and feeding a shorter six metre line would be right.
Alex with his afternoon catch, including the carp that he had to wade in waist deep to land
“I fed 4mm Dynamite XL carp pellets and small balls of Swim Stim Natural groundbait and fished a 4mm Dynamite proto-type expander pellet on the hook. I only fed pellets at six metres, but that line was too snaggy to fish really. The lake was towing very hard against the wind, making presentation a little difficult.
“I had the same depth in both swims and used a 4×14 KC Carpa Porth float shotted with a strung bulk of No8 Stotz. Line was 0.13mm Powerline fished straight through to a size 18 hook. Elastic was white Hydrolastic. My main target for the morning was skimmers, but the lake has a good head of carp to well over double figures and I wanted to stand a chance of getting them out if I hooked any.
“I fed the line with small balls of the groundbait containing a few pellets through a Fox Toss Pot on the tip of my pole. However, I found that feeding a larger ball with a big pole pot, then fishing that ball out was better,” said Alex.
Drawn in the same section as Neil Machin, Yanny Yates, Jamie Masson, Simon Fry and Neil McKinnon to name but a few, Alex finished second in the section with 24lb of skimmers, beaten only by last year’s winner Jamie Masson, who won the section and the morning match with 35lb of carp from the higher numbers.
The afternoon ‘any method’ match saw Alex drawn on peg 24, where Darren Cox had been on the morning match. Knowing that he was in contention for the title with a good afternoon result, Alex decided on a Method feeder approach at around 40
“I fished an open here a few months back and caught carp on the Method then. With the morning’s catches being released and bolting through the pole line swims I was sure this would affect the success of the pole line. I fed it quite heavily at 13 metres as a back up carp line and intended to fish paste over the top. The feed pellets were the same as the ones I used in the morning and the paste was made from the same groundbait, Dynamite Swim Stim Natural.
“I fished a large size clear Kobra flat feeder and alternated hook baits throughout the entire afternoon match. It didn’t seem as though I could catch two fish on the same bait and drilled Dynamite Halibut pellets, punched meat and dead maggots all caught me fish.
“I clipped up at the distance I wanted to fish and cast the feeder about every four minutes to help build the swim. My first bite came after five casts, which resulted in a 3lb mirror. More fish followed, then the swim seemed to dry up. I tried a few more little tricks to catch and they worked, netting me a further two carp, then again the swim went quiet. I had been feeding the pole line throughout the match with pellets and decided it was time for a look. 20 minutes and three skimmers later I decided there were no on the pole line and went back on the feeder. No more fish had moved in where I’d been casting, so with 35 minutes of the match left I unclipped the short line and cast a further 25
“With around 10 minutes of the match left and a couple of casts later on the further line, the rod went round again. Another bigger fish and it tried the same trick as the last. This one made me get into the lake again and I netted it stood waist deep in cold water, but I wasn’t a bit bothered. The spectators seemed amused and Simon Fry on the next peg to me had a walk round to see what I was up to. He congratulated me, which I appreciated.
“The all out sounded and I was soaked. The scales man started at peg one, so I had a bit of time to get some gear cleared away. I knew Jamie Masson, on the end peg in my section was saying he’d struggled, but Neil McKinnon on peg 29 had caught well. The scales man got to me and I put just over 40lb on the scales, which was more than I though I had. Some how, Simon Fry seemed to know exactly what weight I had before the scales man arrived – he was only ounces out – impressive.
“Neil put 39lb 4oz on the scales and Jamie had 27lb, which meant I’d won the section and the afternoon match.
“With a two point second in section place in the morning and the one point score in the afternoon, that was enough to give me three points and an overall win – I was well pleased and was crowned ‘Midland Match Angler of the Year’.
“Sensas sponsored the event and I received a £500 Sensas voucher, Sensas luggage, a superb trophy from Midland Angler’s Tom Legge and Barston’s Nigel Harry and more cash spoils – what a result!
“I’d like to thank Midland Angler for running the event and Nigel Harry for the use of his venue and for helping to organise it all with Midland Angler,” concluded Alex.
You can see and read about the full story of events in the next issue of Midland Angler on sale shortly.