Maver Match This £100.000 qualifier, Saturday 4th June, at Larford Lakes, nearly 100 anglers fished this qualifier, which is the best turnout so far for this new event.
At the draw on the morning there was the usual high expectations of a good days sport and a chance to qualify for the big day, all the prematch chatter wa about the spawning fish, would they or wouldn't they. Other fisheries in the area, the fish had been spawning like mad and Jon Arthur had to call off a feature at Meadowlands the day before, beacause they couldnt catch anything.
After the usual hearty breakfast in the cafe it was off for a quick walk around the lakes with travelling partner Steve Mayo to see if we see any spawning fish. A few carp and F1s were spawning on all of the 3 lakes but we were still very hopeful of a good days sport, now all we needed was a good draw.
Lately the venue has been dominated by the wind, nearly every match being won on a downwind end peg. So into the draw we went, Mayo was first to draw, peg 8 on the match lake, one off an end peg but with the wind blowing down the other end of the lake, he wasn't happy.
My turn now, into the hat and out came peg 70 on the match lake, not a peg I would have chosen, it is an area of the lake of the lake where every peg is in, thats never good, and with the wind blowing down the other end of the lake I was a bit disappointed with lady luck.
When I was setting up I looked along my section to see Paul Holland, Pemb Wrighting, Joe Carass, Ben Leach and Jamie Hughes, I knew it wasn't going to be an easy day to win anything.
My basic plan on this lake is always the same, to start short [5-6m] on the botto, hopefully get a good first hour then go long shallow and eventually finish up catching some better fish down the edge. Bait was pellet and meat for the majority of the day with some casters if I needed them, so with 4 tins of chopped meat and some pellets on my bait table I was ready.
11.30am and the all-in blows, I started at top 5. it was slow by Larford standards, perhaps the fish had other things on their mind, and not food, after all.
After 40 minutes I had caught only 2 F1s, with nobody around me doing any better, I picked up the long pole and tried shallow. Straight away I caught an F1 but after 20 minutes I only had one more to show for my efforts, things weren't looking promising.
The next hour I spent swapping and changing were very little reward, the whole lake was in a funny mood, nobody in sight was catching much, I expect they were baggin on the fliers at the other end of the lake. After 2 hours started to get a few bites at top 5 and by regular feeding I started to catch F1s and the odd carp, around mid match I hooked a big carp, probably around 10lb, it took me out to the limit of my pole bottomed the elastic out and then the hook pulled, this happened again about an hour later, how I hoped those 2 lost carp wouldn't cost me. In between I kept putting a few fish in the net and as the match went on things gradually improved and most anglers on the lake were catching in the last hour.
At the end of the match I thought I had caught aroung 75lb which might win the section but I knew that wouldnt be enough to win the match as stories of big weights came in from the other end of the lake. When the scales arrived I weighed in 90lb 4oz, enough to win the section but couldnt stop thinking about the 2 big carp I had lost.
After everybody had finished weighing in Tommy Hillier, my Dorking team mate, had won the match with with 110lb, I was pleased with a section win but felt gutted about the 2 lost carp, I had to console myself with the fact that Tommy had probaly lost some fish as well, and you need to be very lucky to land everything you hook, still Tommy is a great lad and a very popular winner, I wish him the best of luck in the final, hope I am there with him.
1st Tommy Hillier 110- 7
2nd Mark Stainsbridge 106-9
3rd Leigh Hodgkinson 104-8
4th Mark Johnson 101-2
5th Adam Wakelyn 95-15
6th Paul Hubbard 92-2
7th Callum Dicks 90-4
Larford Lakes are running a series of 15 opens throughout the summer starting on sat 18/6/11, sun 19/6/11, sat 25/6/11, sat 2/7/11 for more information ring me at the shop 0117 950 8723 or check out the Larford Lakes website http://www.larfordlakes.co.uk/
After the match I walked around the specimen lake and filmed some big carp spawning in the rushes, check it out on our BAC TV channel: