Hall of fame
Mahon’s Hotel Festival
Tommy has been in great form recently both in Ireland and in England!
This Irish festival is held in and around Enniskillen and has been running for years. This is a five day festival and like most Irish fishing festivals, the winner is decided on overall weight and the Mohan’s is five days fishing with all weights counting.
“Some anglers disagree with weight festivals but over in Ireland just one or two days can make or break your week. It also keeps the interest in anglers who aren’t doing so well because one ‘bung-hole’ draw can catapult you up the leader board, as I found out on this match of a lifetime!”
3 Days In!
After the first 3 days and only 18 kilos on the score board, I was lying in 64th out of 80. A miracle was needed! I went in the draw bag and pulled out peg 1 on Sligo Road which is down from the town bridge opposite the castle. It’s a great peg and some good roach weights between 10-25 kilos had been coming off it during the week. This would be great if I was in contention and needed what I call a ‘topping up weight’, but I needed more. The pegs opposite me on Broad Meadow had been throwing up some weights of bream and with this in mind I made the decision, that’s what I was going to do.
I found a nice spot in the swim that was a comfortable chuck where I could be accurate and close enough to do a big weight if the opportunity was there, this was about 30m in distance. My feeder choice was simple, the bigger the better. I wanted to get as much bait in as possible to maximise my chances of a big weight and if they did turn up I wanted to keep them there, so I whizzed up 4 bags of Sonubaits Supercrumb Bream.
The match started and I emptied the feeder 6 times into the swim with plenty of casters, corn and a few worms. On my first cast, as always, the hook was loaded with 4 red maggots. Just after setting the tip, amazingly the rod pulled round, I picked up and missed it! On the second cast I had a bite straight away and hooked a big hybrid around the 4lb mark, followed by another the very next cast. I then put a worm on the hook, tipped with a couple of maggots and caught bream after bream. All I was thinking every time I landed one was that it was another place up the leader board!
At the end I had 58 bream and 6 hybrids. It was one of those matches that doesn't happen very often, everything went according to plan!
The scales man said that five previous bream had weighed in between 8-9kilos, so I was working it out in my head and thinking that I must have over 100 kilos! Sure enough, my 64 fish weighed in at 109 kilos, I was speechless! That totted my weight up to 127 kilos in total and I took the lead in the festival after 4 days.
Later, I bumped into some anglers who congratulated me on breaking the record, I was puzzled... It turns out, I’d only gone and broken the River Erne record as well, which was previously 105 kilos!
The Final Day
On the final day, I had a steady match at Belco weighing in 6 kilos, giving me a five day final total weight of 133 kilos, which was enough for victory over the nearest rival, Afe Edgley who was second with a weigh of 99 kilos and Bob Nudd who finished in third with 87 kilos.
Like I said at the start, these weight festivals are excellent and you are never out of the race. It was a case of right man, right peg and right situation, add all three factors up and this is the result you get. One of the best angling days of my life and definitely one I’ll never forget!”
Fish ‘O’ Mania
The most prestigious event in the ladies-only fishing calendar, Fish ‘O’ Mania
is an invitation only event for the top 6 anglers in the Ladies National Championships. Emma Pickering
tells us her story from last year’s Final..
“After winning the 2013 National, I was invited to take part in the Fish ‘O’ Mania event, which if I won again would make me the first person to ever win it three times. The pegs are drawn randomly before the day, peg 1 was my destination and would hopefully be the position I would be in at the end of four hours!”
I chose to set up a variety of methods, to cover all bases. Carp would play a part in the final weight, but it would be important to include a large amount of silver fish to fill in the quiet spells.
I set up a small 30g Method feeder
to fish across to the island. On the feeder I would use groundbait and a 6mm pellet as a hookbait. I started the match on the Method, trying to catch an early carp and push myself ahead of the rest of the field. After two hours of switching between my Method feeder and bomb and pellet line, I was in second place, with 2.43kg.
The Second Weigh In
I had set up two pole lines, one for fishing shallow and the other short at 6m to fish with worms and casters for skimmers.
I had to try and catch some of the carp that I could see cruising just under the surface. Picking up my shallow rig, which was tied with 0.17mm Reflo Power
and using a small 4x12 line-through Pink
float. My hooklength was tied using 0.15mm Reflo Power
with a size 16 PR 36
and a bait band on the hair. With this rig I could fire 6mm pellets and use the same for the hook.
Rotating lines was crucial on a tricky day!
By the time of the third weigh in I had only managed to put just over 1kg in the net, while other anglers had caught carp. Lying in 3rd place with an hour to go, I needed to catch some more fish!
Switching between my silver fish line and carp line on the pole I managed to catch one bigger carp and a number of skimmers. Other anglers struggled to catch carp in the last hour, allowing me to claw back the gap that had been created. But would it be enough for me to take top spot?
The Weigh In...
I was the first to weigh and my final weight totalled 7.05kg. The burst of fish in the last hour was enough to win the match by over 2.5kg. It feels great to win and really good to do it two years in a row. I’m the only person to win it three times now as well so it is a brilliant achievement and one that I'm very proud of.”
Emma has won the Ladies Fishomania title three times now!
(Thanks to Match Fishing Magazine for the use of this article!)
brings together some of the countries best anglers, with the final festival of the year. The Innovations Festival
sees 180 qualifiers battle it out in the holiday parks premier event. Lee Kerry
took the title for a second time this year, achieving a perfect score of 5 section wins.
Lee picks up the story: “I have often heard it said that Whiteacres is the centre of UK commercial match fishing, this is because anglers from all over the country come together to compete, but ultimately share information and tactics they have developed in their local area.
This is why I love Whiteacres so much, there isn’t a secret tactic, or a must use method. Instead, it’s down to the angler to establish the best way of catching fish; exactly how fishing should be! This was very much the pattern of my week. With conditions constantly changing and catches ranging from 137lb of big carp at Bolingey, to 15lb of roach on Porth Reservoir.
3 Days In!
After three days, I had managed three section wins. This is a great place to be as it put me in a strong position to make the top 24 and the £25,000 Parkdean Masters final on the Saturday.
Lee fished superbly over the five days, against some top opposition!
Day 4 put me on Pollawyn. A lake that can be notoriously hard as we enter the October festivals. My draw put me on peg 23, which although is a peg with lots of options, it put me up against some other very good pegs. In previous years, there has been some big carp in the area late in the day, so my plan was to catch anything that swims for four hours before hopefully sneaking a big carp or two later on.
I kicked off the match at 6m on meat and pellets, fishing my usual catch everything rig with a size 11 Hollo
elastic, 0.4g PB Inter 2
and 0.11mm Reflo Power
hooklength to a size 16 PR 434
hook. This gave me three small barbel and two nice hybrids in the first 1½hrs. Bites were not coming quickly, but I could see the lake was fishing hard with very few being caught. With this in mind a move to the skimmer line was required. Feeding worms and casters in Sonubaits F1
groundbait I began to put together a nice net of small skimmers and roach. Again I knew I wasn’t going to win the match doing this, but a section win was still within my reach.
My plan had gone quite smoothly up to the last hour, now it was time for a big carp to seal the deal! 30 minutes went by and although I could see a few anglers catching the odd big fish I just couldn’t buy a bite. I knew it was going to be really close so a slight gamble was in order. I picked up the lighter rig and changing to smaller bits of meat managed two barbel and three skimmers in the last 30 minutes for about 6lb. I had built a carp!
The scales came to me first with my 36lb 12oz beating those around me, but an agonising wait was in store as the scales went round the lake to the boss pegs on the high bank. 33lb was the best weight, with two other 30lb weights meaning I had won the section. I may have caught a carp in the last 30 minutes, but my change had secured a valuable section win.
The Final Day
Going into the final day the festival was in my hands, I was the only angler with 4 section wins, but a good result was still needed to secure the title.
My draw put me on peg 31 Twin Oaks. Not the best carp area, but with the F1s now playing a big part in the lakes winning catches I knew what I had to target. I had some great company with Lee Wright
and Andy Power
in the section and Jon Arthur
on the peg next to me. A win was not guaranteed, but in this sort of situation you can’t worry about others, but focus on making the most of your own peg.
A slow start on the short pole was not what I needed and when my banker silver fish approach was not producing I feared the worst. All the time I had been building a shallow line and although I had not seen one fish move I knew it was make or break.
Conditions were perfect and by working my feed, depth and presentation I managed to start putting a steady stream of F1s together. The battle with Jon was going to the wire and a couple of fish on the short pole rested the far swim for a final 10 minute surge. I asked for two more fish and it happened with 1 minute to go.
On the whistle I knew it was close, I had a poor start, but felt that I had consistently caught more than Jon in the latter half of the match. The scales told the story, my 113lb to Jon’s 111lb gave me a 1 fish victory and 5 straight wins to take the Innovations Festival for the second time in 5 years. Jon was the first to shake my hand, having secured a place in the final himself.
Lee won the festival for a second time!
A final word must go to Jamie Wilde, who after qualifying in the top 10 went on to take the £25,000 Parkdean Masters trophy the next day. Well done Jamie, fully deserved!”
Wychavon Championship 2014
The three day Evesham Festival is one of the biggest events in the match fishing calendar as thousands of people from all over the country descend on the historical Worcestershire town to watch their angling heroes do battle.
The fishing can be intense and the introduction of bloodworm in the last few years has created a great platform for the match as anglers decide whether to sit out for big fish such as tench and barbel or target the more prevalent roach with bloodworm and joker.
This year Des Shipp
added yet another prestigious title to his already impressive trophy collection when he was crowned the 2014 Wychavon Champion
after a close fought battle on the second day of the three day weekend bonanza. The super consistent
ace picked up the £2,000
winners cheque after weighing in 8-1-0
, from peg one on the Crown Meadow.
In a star-studded line up Des
took full advantage of the upstream end peg taking a fine net of roach and a solitary tench.
Des' 8lb catch was enough to seal the £2k Wychavon Championship!
“I am over the moon to have won what I regard as one of the most prestigious river fishing titles out there. I was pleased with my draw, not least because my good friend and England teammate, Will Raison fished the peg in the previous days match and his information was a massive help.
My main plan of attack was to ball in a groundbait mix of Sonubaits Supercrumb River
, Supercrumb Black
and soil and fish bloodworm and joker over the top on the long pole at around 13m.
Following a good start catching dumpy roach my peg slowed up significantly, so I had to top up fairly regularly to keep the odd fish coming. Pike were a real problem, I had at least 15 fish taken by them throughout the day and ended up swinging most of the fish I hooked just to get them out of the way of the snappers! I stepped up from my usual number 4 Slip elastic to a number 6 to achieve this as it let me steer them away from the shoal and the pike.
Luckily for me, I also managed to snare a bonus tench of about two and a half pounds which I managed to land on my light bloodworm gear and boosted my weight nicely. After a nervy battle, I was unsure if it was another pike but it fought differently so I took my time and to my relief when it surfaced I realised it was a tench and that it could be crucial to securing the victory as the frame weights are normally very close at Evesham.”
The Runners Up
Runner up was England ace Sean Ashby, who managed a fine net of quality bloodworm and joker caught roach from peg 44. Sean caught all his fish on the long pole.
Taking third place was Pole Fishing Magazine’s, Matt Godfrey. After drawing fancied peg six on the Crown Meadow, Matt also went with a bloodworm attack as his ‘Plan A’, though he did add a few waggler caught chublets in the middle part of the day, which boosted his weight and helped him secure the £900 third place cheque.
It was a great day for Innovations
anglers as Scott Geens
and Lee Kerry
filled the remaining places taking home £500
respectively, both with nets of quality roach from pegs 30 and 9.
The 2014 Wychavon Championship
1- Des Shipp Innovations/ Sonubaits 8-1-0 (peg 1)
2- Sean Ashby Sensas 7-1-0 (peg 44)
3- Matt Godfrey Pole Fishing Magazine 6-4-0 (peg 6)
4- Scott Geens Innovations/ Sonubaits 5-13-0 (peg 30)
5- Lee Kerry Innovations/ Sonubaits 5-5-0 (peg 9)
Whiteacres Winter Hat Trick
Whiteacres Winter Festival winner, Adam Wakelin, explains how he managed to win this prestigious festival for the third time!
“I always take note of the weather in the proceeding weeks. It has been unbelievably mild over the last few weeks so skimmers and F1s were going to be my main targets. In my eyes, Whiteacres has always been a fishmeal venue so my mix consisted of the Sonubaits Supercrush range, a favourite of mine being F1.”
As this is a float only festival, I broke the fishing down into four potential methods:
1) Shallow- Float; PB Carp 2. Bait; casters & maggots
2) On the Deck- Float; PB Inter 2. Bait; groundbait/worms and casters
3) Top 5- Float; 4x8 to 4x12 Chianti. Bait; casters margins.
4) Waggler- Float; Dura Insert Waggler. Bait; groundbait and corn/maggots
All of my pole rigs are tied on 0.12mm Precision Power and hooklength's are on 0.09mm Precision Power. My hook choice is a PR 434 for bottom and waggler fishing and PR 490 for caster and maggot fishing. All week I fished with Original Slip 5 elastic through a top 3 set in my favourite ‘pingy’ style. My rod choice was a 13 Absolute Super Float with a PCR Competition 3000 reel and 4lb Power Max line.
I drew D section, peg 5 on Sycamore. Years ago I had 50lb of shallow caster roach from the same peg so I knew it had form.
The casters shallow tactic was my main attack at 13m in front of me, as a backup I swung around to the left and plumbed a groundbait line again at 13m. Mid-match I set up a strung out deck rig, this picked off the odd roach and a hand full of carassios, which helped me to 25lb and my first section win.
I drew peg 12 on Twin Oaks. My plan was to fish for big fish on every line and ignore the roach, so even my top 5 line was fished positively with groundbait along with two 13m lines. I fed all of my lines with one ball of groundbait.
After the first hour I’d had a skimmer and 10 carp. A switch to my two long lines produced more carp and I then started to catch F1s and skimmers. I fished on my top 5 line for the last hour where I had a run of 8 skimmers and a bonus carassio that took my weight up to 33lb and another section win.
I was on Trelawney 14, a hit or miss peg. The only way I was going to compete was if I caught F1s and the odd roach. I fished shallow from start to end in depths between 18” and 3ft in 5ft of water. I constantly fed with 20 to 30 casters. I could only catch a couple of fish at one depth before having to change, so I swapped from casters on the hook to dead maggots which resulted in F1 after F1. When it went quiet I caught roach. I put 35lb on the scales for 2nd in my section.
I drew Jenny’s peg 15, which is full of carassios. With carassios there’s no advantage of hair rigging the bait as the fish wouldn’t get hooked, all I do is hook the corner onto a flat piece of corn. I set one pole rig up for 16m and a waggler rod for 20-25m armed with 4 tins of Sonubaits F1 Corn. I started the match on the waggler and picked off the odd carassio throughout the match to weigh 40lb, for another section win.
I drew peg 23 on Pollawyn, a peg with no form all week. I thought about where my best chances of catching F1s and skimmers would be so I set up a line at 11m in the deepest part of my swim, a line at 16m in 3ft of water and a line at 16m in 5ft of water.
I was only looking for 10-12 bites and I needed to give myself chances in each swim. I kicked off at 16m in 3ft looking for an F1 and after sitting for 40 minutes I could see that it wasn’t working. I caught the odd roach on the 5ft swim, then out of the blue an F1 and a skimmer, then nothing. I had a run of 3 skimmers in the deep swim and another two F1s from the 5ft swim to finish with 4 skimmers and 3 F1s and a handful of tiny roach for 11lb which was only good enough to beat the peg to my right.
I finished the festival with three wins, a 2nd and dropping my worst result, a 7th, was enough for the victory! I had managed to catch 142lb in over a week which wasn’t by far the highest but still awesome fishing.”
World Pairs, Ireland 2014
This was my first World Pairs Festival and my partner for the week was Rob Wootton.
I drew Brackley
peg 4. After some plumbing with a bomb, I clipped up 2 Dutch Master 11’ 8” feeder
rods at 36m with 30g medium Cage Feeders
. Plumbing the pole line I had 3.5ft at 13m and no difference past it so I decided on 13m as the main attack. I set up 3 rigs, firstly a 0.5g PB Inter 2
with a bulk and 2 droppers; second a 0.3g PB Inter 2
which was fished at depth. My final rig was a 4x10 Chianti
that was set on a long line so I could cover the top half of the swim if the fish came in shallow.
I strung out my shot along this rig for a slower fall of my hookbait. My rigs all week were set up on 0.15mm Precision Power
mainline and 0.12mm Precision Power
hooklengths with size 16 and 14 PR 333
hooks. The elastic I used all week was doubled up number 4 Original Slip
elastic. I started on the feeder and caught well for the first hour. All the while I kept priming the pole line with casters after potting in 6 balls at the start. I then went on the pole and caught a fish every chuck, then as quickly as they came, they went!
I weighed 17 kilos which was enough to win my section. Rob had won the match with 28 kilos of skimmers, a fantastic start for us!
After feeding the pole line with eight balls of Sonubaits Supercrumb Lake groundbait, I started on the feeder but it took 30 minutes to get a bite. In the last hour, I caught a hybrid with every cast. I put 25 kilos on the scales for a county and match win! More importantly Rob had caught 20 kilos on Connerlys giving us 92 kilos in total in 2 days.
I drew Kiladeas,
peg 7. After having a cast around, 40m was my chosen feeder line. I set up a pair of 12’8” Dutch Master
Rods and the same three pole rigs from day 2. The all in was shouted and I started on the feeder again!
I had a frustrating first hour due to a snag in the water, but the next hour I put a few more fish in the net. I had my Measuring Sticks
set up so made a decision to re-clip at 45m and set another rod up as well. For 30 minutes I built the new swim up, then it was bite after bite! My weight for the day was 27 kilos
and that was another county and match win under the belt. Rob had a steady day catching 8 kilos
I drew Lough Scur, peg 13. I tackled up as far out in the lake as my 50cm limit would let me, I was looking to fish the pole from start to end.
After a plumb around, I found the peg was a gradual slope, dropping right off at 14m to 10 feet and at 6m-7m it was pretty flat and 6 feet deep, so this would be my main line. I set up a 0.6g PB Inter 2
shotted with a bulk and 2 droppers, a 0.3g
in the same pattern with strung out shotting and the shallow Chianti rig so that I could cover all depths. In case it was solid with fish I set a whip style top 5 up. To fish to hand with No.8 Dura Hollo
and a 2g PT Series 8
rig on it. The long line I picked to feed for skimmers at 14m.
I potted 2 soft balls, one at 6m and one 7m; with 8 balls cupped in at 14m along with plenty of worms. I planned to top this up every half an hour then got on it late in the match. I started to loose feed casters at the 6-7m line and started catching roach and the odd hybrid straight away on the 5m to hand rig. I started throwing small balls of groundbait at my float and purposely just fished with the bulk rig. I was waiting longer for a bite, but the stamp of fish increased by nearly double!
As I was speed fishing, the match ended quickly and a couple of hundred fish went on the scales for 14 kilos which was 3rd in my section. Rob had to suffer Houghton’s Shore which had rubbish form all week, he caught a respectable 3 kilos taking our total weight to 145 kilos.
I drew peg 4 on Lock Ross,
which is incredibly I set up a 12’8” Dutch Master Feeder
rod and a 13ft Absolute Super Float
with a big loaded float. There was no point plumbing up because it is 14” deep as far as the eye can see, I set my waggler rig at 2ft and took it from there.
A cast with the waggler produced a run of roach but the fishing was hard. Suddenly, it was like a switch had been flicked and I caught a fish every chuck until the end of the match! The last hour’s efforts put me to nearly 9 kilos and a section win, Robs end peg on Horse Ireland didn’t produce, but he caught 7 kilos.
The Final Result
The last day’s weight gave us 160 kilos in total and the World Pairs victory, we were over the moon! In total, I caught 93 kilos in 5 days which put me in first place and I also won the Daiwa Cup! What a fantastic sport and an awesome competition.
Adam had a truly amazing 2014!