Post Match Report
Write up by Kieran McDonnell. Match run by Kieran McDonnell
A month after our pairs qualifier at Pool Bridge Farm, we were soon back for our singles one and after the slow but nail biting match last time, we were excited to see what the lake would have in store for us. With ten people competing, the lake was pegged slightly differently to the previous pairs match – a couple of fishery pegs were left out meaning certain swims commanded more water than they usually would, giving our anglers plenty to ponder going into the draw.
The draw was made particularly intriguing by the fact that the lake had been shut for the previous week due to having work done on the weed and as a result, the fish were extremely active and showing in absolutely every single peg. The draw came and went and as always it was an interesting affair, but perhaps more unfortunate than interesting was that Steve Carrie who had come last in the draw last month with his partner Nick Davies, came out the bag last yet again! However, seeing as he had still managed to qualify last month despite his bad luck in the draw, he certainly wasn’t going to give up just yet.
Once everyone had got their gear round into their pegs, it wasn’t long before the baiting and marking hooter sounded and it proved to be a tactical affair. Lots of people elected to completely leave their water as all around the lake fish were cruising on the surface, soaking up the late morning sun. The thought process behind this was to try and nick a quick bite at the start of the match to alleviate some of the pressure and get on the scoreboard. Despite the sound logic of the anglers it took a couple of hours for the first fish to be banked and it came in the shape of a double take for Dean Crust in peg 8, who expertly landed both fish to get himself up and running with a combined weight of 24lb 13oz.
It would be a few more hours before the next fish was banked, as the fish seemed to be all but interested in taking the anglers’ baits and were more focused on sunbathing instead! It was Steve Blow that was the next person to catch in peg 1 in the shape of a fully scaled 14lb mirror he had managed to snare off the top. An impressive feat considering pretty much all the competitors had been trying all afternoon to get them going on the top but to no avail.
As soon as the scorching temperatures began to drop the fishing started to slowly improve and Steve Carrie in peg 5 banked two quick fish to put him into the lead with 32lb 11oz going into the first night. The night passed by fairly uneventfully with only the odd fish coming out around the lake, one of those to catch was Ste Alford in peg 3 and at 8am he banked another upper double which would have put him in first with 39lb 1oz. However, his best mate and usual fishing partner Dean Crust denied him the privileges as he picked up his third fish of the match to put him on 44lb 11oz.
It was clear it was going to be another hot day at 8am when it was post twenty degrees and at midday the temperatures had soared even further, making it more of an endurance test than fishing match. In these conditions the majority of the fish were in the upper layers and although they appeared a lot more interested taking surface baits as opposed to the day before, it was still proving very tricky to induce any bites. A couple of anglers did though and one of those said competitors was Steve Carrie who rather spookily caught his third 16lb fish in a row, putting him into the lead, just under five pounds ahead of second place.
Now excuse the weather related pun, but the match was really starting to heat up with six people now on the scoreboard and no one storming ahead it was anybody’s game. Going into the second evening Dean Crust returned to the top after another quick fire two fish put him on 76lb 9oz. Just up from Dean in peg 7 was Mike White who was into another fish after landing a fish earlier in the day to get up and running, but this fish he was attached to would soon become a game changer and shake up the podium places. It was after great perseverance he managed to slip the net under a 27lb 15oz chunk, spring boarding him into third place with a weight of 45lb 11oz for just two fish!
Not long after Mike’s capture, Steve Carrie in peg 5 responded with another fish which put him on 67lb 14oz consolidating his second place for the time being. Steve Blow had banked another in peg 1 to put him one or two fish behind third place and overall the fishing was starting to become more prolific. That certainly was the case for Mr Blow who after putting his second fish on the bank at around 8pm on Saturday night went on to catch steadily and consistently throughout the night using a variety of tactics, absolutely running away with the match with a weight of 164lb 14oz for ten fish!
Whilst top spot was almost certainly taken care of, there was a four angler shootout for the remaining two qualifying places which led to a thrilling finale. Before darkness, Mike White in peg 7 caught another twenty which put him into fourth place, an agonising 1lb 13oz off Steve Carrie in second. Darkness soon fell and to add to the drama Ste Alford in peg 3 caught a couple more fish to put him into third place with 72lb 3oz, only a few pounds behind second.
Aside from Steve Blow in peg 1, only the odd fish was caught in the early Sunday morning which led to a very tense finish, as it was only a one fish swing from fourth to second spot. Then with only an hour or so to go Ste Alford put another fish on the bank to put him into second place, knocking his best mate Dean Crust into third, meaning if fourth or fifth place caught one fish in the remaining hour he would most likely be knocked out after being in the top three for the entirety of the match, what drama!
Luckily for Dean, Mike White and Steve Carrie’s rods stayed motionless for the remaining hour meaning he had secured the last qualifying spot and with that he, along with Ste Alford and Steve Blow, had secured spots in the first British Carp Cup singles final at Albans Lakes in October! We would also just like to take the opportunity to thank Pool Bridge Farm, who have been host to two thrilling matches for us this year, out of the two matches there were five different qualifying swims out of a possible six. This is one of the fairest lakes for matches in the country and it is no surprise we have competitors driving hours and hours to compete here, so if you are contemplating participating in a competition next year this could be the competition for you.
Darryll Boden 19lb 8oz
Mike White 27lb 15oz
Steve Carrie 16lb 6oz
Dean Crust 19lb 15oz
Ste Alford 19lb 15oz
Steve Blow 14lb
L-R 2nd Ste Alford, 1st Steve Blow, 3rd Dean Crust