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Jon Whincup's Year

Decoy Mini Festival

I actually look forward to the winter months as it usually sees me make a return to my local Decoy lakes and my first visit was a mini 2 Day Festival on the beastie lake.

Day one saw me draw peg 17, unbelievably the same peg that I had a little practice session on the Wednesday, so you could say I was Happy as I emptied it on that Day. It's a brilliant lake beastie but it's not easy to fish when it goes cold, so you have to set up quite a bit of gear.

One of my main approaches at this time of year is a short "out the hand" maggot line to catch everything, but I like to try and catch some carp or F1's first on a feeder or long pellet line. I spent the first hour on the feeder for only 2 F1's and a small carp but at least i had caught something while my maggot line was getting some bait. A quick look long on pellet for 3 small skimmers and it was now time to get short.

You normally start off catching Roach on this line and today was no different. I did have 2 early big skimmers though and this got me nicely settled and I fished this line, which was only a top kit and one joint, for the rest of the Day.

I've had a brilliant Day catching loads of Roach, 20+ 2lb skimmers, 1 8lb carp and 1 3lb ide to weigh 90lb and win the section and match, the Perfect start. The Festival was actually being done on section points, something I only found out with an hour to go as it's normally on lake points.

Day 2 was again on beastie and I drew peg 21 this time, it had weighed 70lb the day before which was again mostly silvers so I thought that Will do. Again I started on the feeder and today it was even slower as I only had 3 skimmers, not the best start, so it was onto the silvers again.

Straight away it didn't feel as good as the day before but I was ticking along with Mostly Roach and a very odd skimmer, I also fed a line down to my left near some reeds which i could drop on and nick an odd skimmer and more roach. I alternated the 2 lines nearly all Day thinking that the best I could do was 2nd in sec possibly 3rd as one angler had caught carp on a method and someone else had 3 or 4 on a bomb and some silvers so it wasn't looking too good.

That was until with 40 minutes to go i had a 6lb barbel on my lightest rig, it's amazing what you can get out on such light tackle, and then suddenly my peg went solid with F1's. Bearing in mind I hadn't seen an F1 all day nor did Tony the day before but now it was solid. I switched to my "bagging" rig and I reckon I doubled my weight in that short spell, it was black, and I now realistically had a chance of winning the section although Rob who had the carp on the method had sneaked a barbel and a carp short right at the death, this was going to be close.

With Martyn Freeman having already won his section again I needed to beat Rob to win the Festival. When the scales arrived Rob had weighed 79lb and i had a sneaky feeling I might just have that, but it wasn't to be. I weighed 77lb to just be denied the win, putting me 2nd in section, 2nd on the Day and 2nd overall. The new rule change had cost me, if it had been on lake points I would've won it easily but that's fishing and i'll soon be back for some more.


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