Pic: Kevin Wadge shows off his winning haul!
Kevin Wadge is the 2017 Parkdean Resorts Masters champion after winning the thrilling final on Jenny’s Lake at White Acres to claim the £25,000 first prize.Kevin, 41, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, drew Peg 16 on the big day – and took a massive gamble with his tactics for the match.
“I looked around and realised with the calibre of the field I was fishing against, I knew I couldn’t compete with them without doing something different,” he said.
With former Masters champions Des Shipp and Andy Geldart on the bank, alongside multiple finalists including Andy Power, Andy Bennett and Simon Fry, it needed something special to claim the honours in the winner-takes-all final.
Kevin decided to fish paste – a mix of pellets or ground bait formed into small blobs wrapped around the hook. It’s a method which can be devastating on the day.
“There are days when paste is unbeatable – and days when it just doesn’t work at all. I knew I was taking a big gamble, which could win me the match if it paid off,’’ said engineer Kevin.
The fish on Peg 16 seemed happy to feed from the start – but Kevin didn’t have things all his own way. In fact, it was Andy Power who screamed into an early lead, landing eight Jenny’s carp from Peg 11 – the peg which won Jon Whincup the Parkdean Resorts Masters last year.“I knew Andy was catching fish – but it looked like the ones on my peg were bigger. He was catching faster – but I knew if I could keep bites coming, I would overtake,” added Kevin.
The match – just four hours long – seemed to be going to plan for Kevin – until the last 90 minutes.
“The fish just stopped feeding and disappeared. It was the longest hour and a half of my life,” he said.
While all went quiet on Peg 16, Des Shipp began catching on Peg 19 – and Phil Canning (Peg 14) also started to make a late charge.
Des, hoping to become the first angler ever to win a hat-trick of Parkdean Resorts titles, lost several fish in an underwater snag late on, which would ultimately stop him challenging for another win.
But Phil landed three big fish in the final 20 minutes as Kevin looked on from just two pegs away. All the while, Andy Power was also catching from Peg 11.
“It was agonising. I was willing my float to go under – but it just didn’t move. My only hope was that I already had enough – but I really didn’t think I’d done it,” he said.
Only the scales would decide – and Andy Power set the early target, recording a superb return of 79lbs 9oz.
Phil Canning’s weight was 75lbs. Kevin’s first two nets of fish took him to within 17lbs of Andy….with one more net to go.
“I thought there was only one fish in my third net – and knew that wouldn’t be enough,” he said.
But Kevin had miscounted – and there were in fact five Jenny’s carp in that last net. They took his total to 81lbs 15oz – just 2lbs 15oz more than Andy Power.
“I couldn’t believe it when I realised I’d one,” beamed Kevin. “To win a title like the Parkdean Resorts Masters in a field like this is amazing.”