Respect To A Great Man

On Friday it was the great Mike Hamlington’s funeral. As you’d expect, it was absolutely packed with anglers like myself paying their respects. I owe a lot of my angling career to the time I’ve spent at his truly fabulous Tunnel Barn Farm fishery.

Mike always made me feel welcome from the very first day I discovered the place. Over 20 years ago we’d fish a Wednesday day match, then a floodlit evening match on House Pool and then all go back to his house for some game pie. Great times!

Mike even fished the occasional match with us all back then. I remember being pegged next to him when one of his Range Rovers went bombing up the track behind us. He was straight on the phone to give Sarah a rollicking for driving so fast… only to discover it wasn’t her as it’d just been nicked!

It was so strange seeing the fishery buggies zooming around on Saturday, but no Mike in one of them asking us all if we were catching. He’d have been proud of his daughter Sarah and his venue on the day though, as while everywhere’s clearly fishing rock hard Tunnel Barn is still producing great winter sport for everyone.

Winning 44lb catch from Top Pool

So on Saturday it was the Tunnel Barn teams of four winter league. I’ve had a really enjoyable day, winning Top Pool with 44lb from peg 20. A few early fish on pellets, then maggots, as is the norm on this lake. Lots of small F1s plus some of the colourful little stockies and my obligatory bonus perch. Had some mid-match entertainment when the guy opposite decided to strip off and then get the fishery staff to do some magnet fishing. I won’t mention who, Lloydy. Oops, sorry Dave!

My team all did a sterling effort, too, so we won on the day. Really cheered me up and a bit of redemption after I did so poor last week. As Mike would always say, “Must’ve been solid!”

The next day over 80 of us were on the Solihull Angling Centre Xmas match at Packington (yes I know it’s mid-January!). I drew peg 12 on Big Gearys which didn’t fill me with any hope of framing, especially with cat ice on the lake, so after 45 mins chasing a non-existent carp I decided to just have a day’s fishing for skimmers (and dodging the many golf balls crashing into the lake!).

Lake win with 24lb of skimmers

Definitely the right decision as I’ve used one 0.4g Matrix F1 Slim pole rig all day and weighed 24lb to win the lake. Maggots over Supercrush Expander, F1 and Thatchers. I think only three or four carp were caught on the lake. Would love to know where they hide!

I was not a million miles off framing as just 29lb made the top six on a mega tough day for most. Well done Ian Coxon winning the match with 45lb from Little Gearys. Also thanks to Ian Keywood at Solihull Angling for organising the match and John Burchell and the Packington team for looking after us all.

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

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