£25,000 Parkdean Final, Whiteacres

After 2 weeks of very hard fishing, I had made it to my 5th final in 7 years. The prevoius 4 finals I had yet to draw near the fish, I was hopeful that this year would be different.

At the presentation on the friday evening the atmosphere is electric as the names of the 24 finalist are read out, when you get down to 20th position, nobody has a clue who is going to be the lucky ones or even unlucky 25th.

After the presentation it was back to the lodge for an early night, a bit of last minute preparation, and hopefully a good night sleep.

The morning of the match, everyone is buzzing, the draw starts early and the sky TV cameras add to the excitement even further, everyone is guessing where the fish are going to be and which pegs they want to draw. When the draw starts the winner of the festival draws first and 24th place draws last, I was 16th and by the time I got to the draw bag most of the fancied pegs had gone. Into the hat I went and out came peg13, behind the island and cut off from the main area of the lake, and the fish, it was definetly unlucky 13 but one bit of good news my travelling partner Des Shipp had drawn well and we were sharing, so maybe it was going to be a good day after all.

My days fishing went very much as expected, caught a few fish early, then nothing and had to watch anglers with open water in front of them carry on catching, including my mate Des.

The excitement on the bank was great as Des and Paul Yates both caught from start to finish and nobody knew who had the most, when I realised I had nothing to fish for I soon lost interest in my own fishing and spent more time watching the battle between pegs 8 and peg 5.

At the final whistle I soon packed up and went down to see Des, nobody knew what each other had caught and it was going down to the last weigh of the scales to decide it, can you imagine what its like to be weighing in a net a fish and you may or may not have won £25,000 just by one fish, or come second and get nothing.

Luck was on Des's side and his 88lb was enough for victory and his second Parkdean title, well done mate, and thanks for the cheque.