I’ve been really enjoying doing some of the various silverfish qualifiers and visiting different venues and the latest one saw us heading to Moorlands Farm in Kidderminster. After meeting Nick we made the two hour trip up the M5 and when we arrived at the fishery, Andy Saunders and Stu White were already there and John Fuidge turned up soon after.
While we were having breakfast, more anglers began arriving including rather a lot of star names, serial big match qualifier Andy Power, recently crowned Masters Feeder World Champion Simon Fry, ex World Champion and England international Sean Ashby, another England international Cameron Hughes, Parkdean Masters champion and Welsh Wizard John Harvey, former England international angler Darren Davis, the list was seemingly endless!
The draw was announced and I pulled out peg 12 (we were on Meadow Pool today), I asked fishery owner Grant Albutt whereabouts I was and when he pointed to the far side and said I was next to a certain Mr Power who was on 11 which had won the match yesterday with 11lb (my peg did 6lb 8oz), a definite spanking was on the cards!
You can park behind your swim and the pegging was very tight, Iain Swanson was on my left and it was nice to finally meet him after being ‘friends’ on Facebook for years! I set up a couple of rigs for two lines at 13 metres and the side tray contained red and white maggots, disco pinkies plus some Bait-Tech Special G F1 Dark groundbait.
On the whistle I fed one line with a little nugget of gb and the other slightly more positively, shipping out it soon became apparent the wind was going to be a pain but for now I could achieve a modicum of presentation at times. The float buried after a couple of minutes and a decent amount of number six slip elastic appeared on the strike. It was only a small skimbob of 2-3oz and although my neighbours hadn’t caught yet it was probably a little early to start dreaming about battering Andy Power off the next peg and heading to a big money final!
Of course Andy and Iain both started catching but it already looked like being quite a hard day, I was getting the odd little skimmer and roach on pinkies and there wasn’t much between Iain and me but Andy was already starting to pull away. Interestingly he’d also assembled a waggler rod and when he picked it up after an hour or so, he had some nice roach and then was into something a bit more substantial which he seemed to be playing rather carefully before he netted a 2lb perch!
Iain landed a nice hybrid and I was lagging behind and to make matters worse I had an awful thirty minutes where I pulled out of two half decent skimmers before hooking a nice hybrid that came off at the net! I did land a skimmer around a pound but the wind was getting worse and at one stage as I went to ship out, it blew my roller over trapping my pole underneath but thankfully there were no breakages.
Andy was beginning to hook quite a few F1’s and carp on the waggler but crucially inbetween he was getting the odd roach and also had two more chunky perch around 8oz apiece. With about ninety minutes to go, I was really struggling to hold the pole at 13 metres so decided to feed a new line at top two plus three where I could least get some kind of presentation. I started getting bites but couldn’t hit them and Iain who was also fishing short was having the same problem. The Power was swapping between all his lines putting odd fish in the net although he did hook a good fish on the pole that came off and he grimaced saying it was a perch bigger than the first one he caught!
I was getting the odd roach and then had a 6oz skimmer before I hooked and landed my first F1. Not long before the end, I hooked into another fish which I thought was a small carp or F1 but it wasn’t giving me too many problems and just shaking it’s head before the hook pulled which made me think it might have been a big perch!
Grant soon arrived with the scales and Andy weighed 10lb 6oz which wouldn’t be far away today, my fish went 5lb 7oz and Iain weighed 4lb 3oz. Back at the results and Sean Ashby had won the match and qualified on peg 27 with 11lb 11oz, Andy Power also qualified and Cameron Hughes was third with 9lb 2oz.
1 – Sean Ashby (Sensas) – 11lb 11oz
2 – Andy Power (Preston Innovations) – 10lb 6oz
3 – Cameron Hughes (Daiwa) – 9lb 2oz
Grant Albutt (Moorlands) – 9lb
Kev Williams (Moorlands) – 8lb 6oz
John Harvey (Preston Innovations) – 7lb 13oz
Paul Sanders (Moorlands) – 7lb 10oz
So although it had been hard going, I actually think it was half a chance, with the benefit of hindsight (yep, my favourite word), I probably should have fished at 11.5 metres instead of struggling to hold the pole at 13 and also fed the shorter line earlier. If that last fish had been a perch, I’ve probably had enough fish on to push Andy’s weight but it’s all ifs, buts and maybes as others have lost fish too (and let’s not forget the big perch that Andy lost).
At the end of the day, there were no surprises in the top three and that’s why these guys are at the very pinnacle of our sport.
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Next up – Revels
Coming soon – Lots more match reports
Check Out – My last match