Daiwa Masters Champion!

I’ve been on a fishing marathon recently, so I’ve got a much needed day at Base Camp Arthur! My phone’s been on meltdown since I got home from the Daiwa Pole Fishing Masters but I’m trying to reply to everyone as best I can. Here’s a recap of what went on over the past three epic days! 

Day 1

Jennys 11 
91lb
Section 1st, Overall 3rd

Peg 11 on Jennys for Day 1 and a peg that I was a bit apprehensive about, but quietly fancied it. It’s only 10m wide and never in on the teams of four winter league, so I wasn’t sure how it would fish now the weather has turned. I do some coaching on this lake, however, and when the big F1s and carp feed it’s great. Upon I arrival I saw the lake had a surprising amount of colour which was very promising. I knew they’d put some stockies in recently, too, so I was hoping that would liven everything up. I also had Paul Yates on peg 8 for company who I knew would be dangerous. 

I kicked off all over the peg on bread for no bites at all. Quickly swapping to pellet down the middle I had a 2lb F1 then nothing. A new swim was quickly started and still nothing. I then pushed across towards the island where it was 3.5ft and had a run of stockies and two better F1s on pellets but it felt a bit too deep. Moving shallower into the gaps in the reeds produced nothing and another quick dob around was fruitless too. I converted the pellet swim to maggots and this was a bit better. From this point on I felt it was going to be an out-and-out maggot day.

An early look down the edge in 3ft of water produced a couple of big F1s and a bonus 8lb mirror. I now felt this area was going to be my main target so I worked both margins, catching the bulk of my weight here. I also had a few nice F1s at 6m in front of me but I couldn’t line them up with the wind not helping presentation. 

Double maggot, feeding maggot and a bit of Dynamite Milled Expander was best. best rig was a light 0.15g Guru F1 Slim with a 16 Matrix MXC-5 hook and 0.12mm Power Micron bottom and 10-12 Slik through a standard long kit. 

Yani was 2nd in section with 65lb and I was 3rd in the match with 91lb, so I was off to a great start! 

Day 2

Jennys 19
74lb
Section 1st, Lake 1st, Overall 3rd

I couldn’t believe I had drawn this peg as my Team Dynamite team mate James Fowkes had come 2nd off it the day before with 120lb of big carp on dobbed bread! An awesome weight so I feared he had battered the peg, but I definitely still felt I had a great chance of winning the section again. I had Paul Holland, Danny Grimsey and Warren Peaty all in my eyesight, though, so I needed to fish well. 

To be perfectly honest I’ve had a really iffy match. I don’t quite know what was wrong with me but all day I was suffering with what I can only describe as anxiety? I was really dithery with the shakes from start to finish and even when I got home I wasn’t right until the next day. Strange stuff… 

Anyways, I had a poor start tangling my rig 30 seconds into the match, then picked up the wrong rig and foulhooked and lost an F1 at the net, then got smashed up by a carp next drop. Not ideal! I then netted a 2lb F1 before hooking something monstrous down the edge. After a scary 10 minute battle on a 0.12mm hooklength I’ve finally slid the net under a 10lb+ mirror! 

I started down the edge as I was sure I felt a fish with my plummet and it proved a very good decision. After all that commotion I picked up the dobbing rig and tried to find some carp against the island. No bites anywhere while Danny next door was catching. Oh dear!  

Back down the edge, nothing. Open water, nothing. Back on the bread rig and finally caught a 4lb common, then an 8lb mirror, then pulled out of one and then a 7lber. That was all I managed on bread all day and looking back I wasted too much time on it. 

For the rest of the match I caught a few big F1s down the middle on maggot but couldn’t line them up. Meanwhile everyone around me was emptying it doing the same thing! All the while my lead was being eroded and I wasn’t sure whether to risk going back across for a carp or stick down the middle for an occasional F1. I chose the latter and it proved ‘just’ enough. 

I ended up winning the section with 74lb but Paul, Danny and Warren were all just a fish or two behind. Phew! I’d not fished great but really taking my time with that double-figure carp proved vital!

Dobbing rig was a 0.1g Malman Mojo on 0.18mm line to a 0.14mm hooklength and size 16 MXC-1 hook and red 10-12 Slik through a standard kit. Deep maggot rig was a 4×14 Secret on 0.14mm line to a 0.11mm hooklength and 16 MXC-5 and 10-12 Slik. I daren’t fish any lighter than that with so many carp about. 

Day 3

Extension 17
47lb
Section 1st, Lake 1st

My heart sank a bit after drawing peg 17 on Extension, but at least I’d got some water all to myself and I quite like winkling fish out of pegs like this. It’s a very narrow 9m wide peg down an arm of the lake and no one ever runs to it, especially in winter on a lake that’s fishing so poor! Only 7lb and 17lb had come off it the previous two days and with pegs 2, 5, 7, 9 and 13 in my section I was hoping the fishing gods were on my side!

I had a bit of fortune as while popping my waterproofs on I looked across and saw an F1 roll in front of peg 18. I quickly plumbed up towards the leg of the platform and discovered it was a nice 3.5ft. I chose to start the match down there, dobbing 6mm bread on a lightish rig and to my relief there were a few fish. They were ever so fickle but I had six F1s there in the first hour for about 7lb and nurtured it throughout the day for another six. 

A look down the middle on maggots produced a ghost f1 and a stockie but that was it. Despite 3ft of water and lots of cover against the island I had nothing there on bread or maggots. Working my way down the long margin to my left I finally found a big F1 and a 3lb mirror, then a little stockie but that was it. Even extending my Matrix MTX4 pole to 17.5m was biteless.  

With an hour to go I really started to concentrate on making maggots down the middle work and had a brilliant end to the match. I think I had around 20 fish for 20lb exactly in a fantastic 60-minute spell. My two weighs totalled 47lb and just enough to pip Gary Cook who weighed 43lb on peg 9. 

After being so out of sorts yesterday I felt much better today and fished much tidier. I still couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d won the section though! Absolutely buzzing! 

My dobbing rig was a 0.15g Guru AR on 0.16mm line to a 0.11 bottom and 16 MXC-5 with 8-10 Slik through a Short Kit. The deep maggot rig was a 4×10 Secret to 0.14 and a 0.10 bottom and 16 MXC-5 and 8-10 Slik in a Short Kit. 

Champion!

I ended up on a perfect three section wins to win the event! Absolutely made up with 110 fishing and some of the very best anglers in the country. I picked up a fantastic trophy, £3,000 and a Daiwa Air pole worth £5,999, plus three section envelopes and two 3rd place envelopes for a mega pay day. My wife and daughter will be very happy with that! To me it’s all about the title and it’s great to get my name on the trophy alongside the likes of Jamie Hughes, Andy Bennett, Connor Barlow and Matty Dawes. 

A big thanks to Tom Scholey and Catch More Media for putting on the event, filming it and the excellent live updates on social media, Daiwa for their magnificent sponsorship, Mike, Sarah and the team at Tunnel Barn Farm for the perfect venue, Matrix and Dynamite Baits for their continued support, Lanes Bait for the huge maggots, everyone who has messaged me and given me support over the past four days, my mum, dad and very understanding wife and daughter and, finally, the fishing gods! 🙂

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