Jon Whincup's Year
Golden Reel Qualifier - Saturday 4th March 2017 at Decoy Lakes
After last years stellar year the big match qualifiers were soon up and running again, and the first one was a brand new competition run by Phil Briscoe called the golden reel, and as luck would have it the first one was at my local decoy lakes.
The match was being run on the 4 strip lakes and horseshoe lake, and after fishing decoy all through the winter all the talk was of drawing 3/4 along on oak and yew, I still fancied a couple of other areas but couldn't really see it being won anywhere else.
I like to draw early in a match but this time i had no choice as it was being done in alphabetical order, so imagine my surprise when i went in nearly last and pulled out 20 Oak, 3/4 along the lake, this was absolutely bang on. Normally we fish both sides of these strip lakes but for this match it was pegged on one side only so you had another line to fish across the lake on a bomb or feeder.
Come the start of the match and i was really excited as I had seen numerous big carp showing thereselves, I couldn't wait to get going. I decided to start the match casting a bomb 3/4 across to see what was about, and it didn't take long to get one as it went round first Chuck. A 5lber safely netted was followed by a 7lber 15 minutes later and then a little quiet spell.
I was using the 9ft fxt feeder rod as it was only a 25m cast and I was also using a size 16 1624 hook to .20 loaded mono as i knew they would all be decent carp. 40 minutes in and it was time to try the Pole where I had been tapping in 2mm and 4mm carp and coarse pellets and it didn't take long to hook one, I started on my lighter rig which was an fO4 .5 with .16 main line to a .12 hooklength and an 18 0814 hook, this was coupled with pink frenzee stretch elastic. This first fish and the whole rig in fact was lost on an unseen snag, this made me well happy, not. I quickly swapped over to my heavier rig which had yellow elastic and .14 hooklength and i was soon into an 8lber but was then followed by a quiet spell and another lost rig and fish in the snag, this was getting annoying.
I decided to rest my Pole line, which I was now pinging with 6mm carp and coarse pellets, and decided to swap my bomb for a feeder to try a build a line up. I had a quick 4 fish on this before it went quiet again, so it was back on the Pole. All this time the lad on my left had been steadily catching on his Pole line so it was now I needed to get it going, this time it was solid.
I had a great 2 and a half hours where i must have put another 80 to 90 pound in my nets, plus I lost 2 more rigs and big carp in the snag, and i must admit I was starting to get a bit nervy as I thought I had a great chance to qualify on my first big match of the year.
Just to make me even more nervy the fish went on me in the last hour and i only managed 2 fish, they were both 8lb though.
Come the weigh in the talk was that I had won the match easily but I knew it wasn't that clear cut as there had been a 132lb already weighed in and Ben next door also had a Good weight so it was going to be close. 3 tense weigh ins later and I had just done it with 137lb, just one fish clear of Richard bond on the lake behind me who had that 132lb, Ben next door had 120lb, the snag hadn't cost me.
So an unbelievable start to the 2017 campaign qualifying for the golden reel on my very first attempt, now its time to concentrate on the fish O and maver qualifiers, wish me luck.