White Acres Garbolino Winter Festival 2022

Here’s my rundown of this year’s White Acres Garbolino Winter Festival 2022.

Day 1 – Pollawyn 21
39lb, Section 3rd, Lake 4th

My favourite peg on Pollawyn! Sadly it didn’t fish as I hoped and I was roached out most of the day. I was surprised how hard it was to catch any F1s. Normally you can just find 3ft against the island and down the side and the peg looks after itself, but it was a lot harder today.

I also had fun losing a couple of good fish with a load of thick line coming up out the water all the way to the island. The third time it happened I pulled upwards to see my float caught up on some line and a quivertip popping up six metres out like Excalibur! It was a complete feeder rod that had been dragged in and was now stuck in my peg. Not ideal! 

Looking back I’m not sure how I could have caught the 71lb I needed for another point on the day, as it never felt like the F1s were in front of me, while the sunken bar in front of peg 20 was solid with them. Wako had a whopping 90lb off peg 24 to win the section and the lake, too. Behind those two exceptional weights I had to settle for a section 3rd and 4th overall on the lake with 39lb. Not a disaster but a bit of a head scratching day. 

Day 2 – Twin Oaks 23
145lb, Section 1st, Lake 1st

Wow what a day! Totally miserable weather, but I knew it was potentially a simple match if the big F1s were there, fishing short in front and down the edge. I just fished maggots and bit of groundbait and nicked quality fish most of the day. If only all matches were that simple! 

I have come to the conclusion that the F1s in Twin Oaks are a slightly different strain as they pull like demons and you cannot fish too light for them. I’ve ended up with 145lb which was the biggest weight of the week and an unforgettable day. It ‘almost’ made me forget the abysmal weather! 

Day 3 – Trelawney 21
35lb, Section 2nd, Lake 4th

Another end peg I quite fancied, but scuppered by a strong, cold wind blowing straight into it. In fact the weather totally cut me up and I never budged from the sofa once I got back to the lodge. I caught a few fish but the F1s were definitely on the small side. 

I hoped to catch down the edge but it was ‘rocking’ too much with the wind and I never felt my presentation was right. I tried to fish 16m towards the far bank for all of 15 minutes before having to abandon that as a lost cause. It was pole-breaking weather. A short swim was best, starting on a top kit and two, then going another section for a late run. 

I’ve ended with a respectable 35lb in the conditions for 2nd in section and 4th on the lake. Struggling to see how I could have caught over 50lb, which I needed to win the section other than with a bigger stamp of fish. Wako won again, catching some big F1s short on peg 24. 

Day 4, Jennys 7
32lb, Section 2nd

Definitely not where I wanted to be! A poor peg in the section with four end pegs to contend with, plus three anglers on the favoured opposite bank all being hard to beat. The big F1s seem to prefer it across in the 40s. They also get five comfortable hours with the wind off their backs, while our bank always loses an hour with the sun making it impossible to see a float, while battling to hold a pole all day! 

Anyways, excuses over (there are lots when you’re on Jennys!) I felt I fished my heart out to come 2nd ins section with 32lb. Absolutely no way on Earth I was going to catch the 65lb that Wako had off peg 45. Couldn’t see him because I was grimacing with the wind and sun in my eyes, but I gather he sat in a t-shirt and fished 16m one handed all day! 🙂

I managed two fish on the waggler and corn, but it was too slow and I found myself slowly reeling in to keep a tight line as the float was towing straight towards me. I had a few skimmers short but caught the bulk of my fish at 13m which was the absolute most I could hold with all the gusts. 

I started on corn but a swap to maggots was much faster. Mostly little carassio, but I also had a mahoosive perch. I’ve caught a few 2lbers lately on my lure fishing travels and knew it was a 3lb fish. In fact it went 3lb 6oz for a new PB! Just a shame the catch photo does it absolutely no justice!

Day 5 – Python 7
Section 2nd, Lake 4th, 25lb 8oz

Python had been the poorest lake all week, so not ideal for the last day of the festival when I’m seriously in need of a section win. I prayed for one of the four end pegs: 3, 17, 21 or 35, but was handed peg 7, which is a bit of a shocker! 

Thankfully the weather was a million times nicer today and I could hold 16m, which is a good job as that’s where I caught 90% of my fish. Simple stuff, tapping in maggots and fishing two on the hook. 

Hitting the bites isn’t easy as there are a few pesky roach and timid carassio in the lake to contend with. I had caught more fish than anyone else I could see in my section, other than Simon Fry on end peg 35 who was the only person to put two keepnets in at the start, which says it all really!  

It was a really close weigh in as some better carp had been caught, but I fished my socks off for a hard-earned 25lb 8oz. That was 2nd in section and 4th on the lake behind three of the end pegs. Si made no mistakes to win the lake with an excellent 60lb from peg 35. 

So that left me with a 1st, three 2nds and a 3rd. I was sure I would make the top 10 with that and was more than happy to find myself in 8th place, winning a bit more cash and a Garbolino reel. A huge well done to the ever-dominant Andy Power on taking the festival clean out and all the others in the top 10. 

Looking Back 

Well, the weather has been nothing short of atrocious! Thankfully the last day was decent so we could all dry off and hold a pole properly. As always, it’s fished a bit differently to previous years and the rain has taken its toll. I thought corn would play more of a part for me, but it was mostly tapping in maggots and feeding a bit of groundbait each day. I certainly have plenty of worms, casters and pinkies left over, and a tray of sweetcorn! Groundbait was absolutely essential, but I’ve probably not fed more than a pint each day. Sonubaits Thatchers Dark and F1 Green was the perfect mix. 

I’ve usually fished light elastics on this festival, but now the F1s are getting so big I’ve only used 8-10 and 10-12 Slik all week. My usual carbon stemmed floats were also swapped for wires to combat the conditions, so my old Malman Dusty Wires were quite aptly dusted off. I would have liked to have chucked a waggler a bit more, but the wind put paid to that. When you can finally hold 16 metres I really cannot fault my MTX4 pole for this kind of fishing. 

I must say a huge thanks to my lodge chum Russ Grimes who’s been a great laugh. I’ve never had so many chocolate bars and wine gums forced upon me! His week ended badly after a four-hour wait for the AA/RAC and needing a new van battery, but he thankfully got home in time for his match today, so he thoroughly deserves to catch a few. We had ‘end peg 1’ lodge on Jennys and had a great laugh ’to be fair’ (in joke, to be fair). I’d like to say we ate like kings, but students would be more apt! Also thanks to Olivier and Stephane for the French chocolates leaving gift! 

So, I’ve picked up brown envelopes every day, not come lower than 3rd in section, top four overall on the lake four days, caught the biggest weight of the week, a PB perch and made the hallowed top 10 again. I certainly cannot complain other than the horrific weather. 

Thanks to the White Acres team and of course Garbolino for sponsoring it. Definitely a well deserved day chilling back home today!

Top 10:

  • 1st Andy Power 32 points
  • 2nd Gavin Leversidge 32
  • 3rd Ben Hagg 32
  • 4th Craig Edmunds 31
  • 5th Carl Williams 31
  • 6th Nathan Hughes 31 
  • 7th Simon Fry 30
  • 8th Jon Arthur 29
  • 9th Adam Wakelin 29
  • 10th Olivier Wimmer 28

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