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Something that provides plenty of opinion and conflict is the surge in people wanting to make their own floats, not for personal use but those wanting to make a few quid something I once did a fair few years back too before all the craze. For me and it really is only my opinion I have no issue with this as long as the ones making them are honest and offer something of balanced quality, and not just sell any old float as it really is easy to buy the ready to build kits off eBay or other internet sites and just slap them together and charge people.

Float 2 2
The Floats on test up close and personal

 

For years floats have been built by hand and in recent years have become even more refined, I’m not sure who was the first to really make an impact on the pole fishing scene but the likes of Mick Wilkinson, Gaz Malham and Mick Bassett have been producing floats for years now, each have huge followings with some of the top names using them and for very good reason. They were the ones that started a craze that majority of the top tackle companies have failed to follow for many years; it was the fact that they built sturdy floats that lasted much longer than most commercially bought models. We've all suffered with bent wires & tips, along with annoyingly both stems & tips coming out of the bodies and paintwork splitting very easily; the change these guys offered brought us homemade floats at a great price that were balanced, strong and cheap. Since then especially very recently they have stepped up the game with new materials such as the introduction of foam, hollow tips, paint finishes and the new nitinol wire or bendy wire as it's more commonly referred as; all of which amount to more robust and versatile float being made. Over the last few years we have also seen companies from outside the UK that are sole traders of floats starting to bring their designs into pole fishing and some are very good, especially the silverfish or natural water patterns, as they have vast knowledge of what’s required simply because of continental style fishing, one particular company that has gained a good following is Dino Floats, offering patterns covering a lot of applications in the UK.

 

Float 3 3
The difference in the shotting for what are supposed to be the same size of float

 

There are plenty of people out there now making floats and with too many to mention, and with the likes of social media readily available it created a market; but for me, there is a huge difference amongst them? I am a bit of a tart when it comes to floats not for looks but quality I’ve gone through phases of buying and trying so many different ones for both silvers and carping and gone full circle again, putting faith in major tackle companies to offer a float range that suits my styles of fishing, but there hasn’t been many to really stand out eventually making the decision to make my own. There are 3 major tackle companies in the last 12 months that have looked at this and really stepped up their game to offer anglers a range that are well built, balanced, finished and don’t break the bank, Drennan’s AS series, MAP’s commercial range and the new Des Shipp range from Preston; the fact that the homemade companies prices have gone up with inflation of materials and competition now is starting to make the likes of these commercially produced floats look more inviting to the angler on a tighter budget once again. I understood why people turned away from these floats to ones that were simply built to last, but by having some of the world’s best anglers behind the scenes they have clearly been thought out to offer the right variety required for today’s fishing and they really are not to be sniffed at again and worth a look if you’re in the market.

 

Float 6 6
A selection of the floats showing those with a side eye sat perfectly and those with a spring eye sat much higher in the water or on the surface

 

For the guys that are making and building this is where similarities can differ greatly, I’m not saying that anyone is wrong but for me and many that I know a lot of the builders are just throwing the materials together without prior thought to how to balance them properly, how long stems and tips are, what sizes of each to use through to choosing the right eye for the pattern. Don’t get me wrong I have no doubt there will be plenty that are very good and have taken the time to test their floats to make sure they are perfect for the job, but one thing is for sure we have all seen some shoddy ones too and clearly no thought has gone into their build, something I personally stay away from. In comparison, they aren’t any cheaper than the ones that are made from scratch or even some of the best from tackle manufacturers in fact majority are more expensive so are they really worth it? Some are some aren’t, but something I personally don’t want to keep spending money on to get right, especially when the sport is already at breaking point with prices for tackle.

 

Float 7 7
All the floats shotted to around 7mm of the bristle showing

 

On the other side of things from experience, there are guys out there that I have personally seen the pride they take to not only source the best materials but also create and test patterns to ensure they are balanced for what they are intended to do. I recently asked several guys I know who actually turn their floats and some bought from guys on Facebook who are building them for some samples to test to see the differences between and ask why they use the materials they do. It was quite interesting, some patterns are still without fault, but the difference from some I have seen is quite astounding but for sure I learned a bit myself and how much it has developed since I stopped making them.

I went to my good friend Tez Naulls (TN Floats) workshop and spent 4 or 5 hours with him discussing from how we used to use floats right up to the latest materials to buy, I have read about what foams  the top guys are now using but wasn’t aware of how many you could choose from? I have always believed when balsa is used it can vary in density and even the grain structure can change the properties which leads to differing shotting even on the same weight floats, but having seen the foams to the same theory can be applied; however as these are man-made the structures, weight and density can be controlled to a specification which helps as long as the same foam is used. It was very interesting to see how the foams differ too he showed me 3 and how they are applied; H160 the most commonly used on the open market which gives a more open cell, it is soft and suits light floats for silverfish as it is also very soft before finishing, Hd200 is what he uses for general work, for the likes of F1, Shallow, and Slim patterns targeting smaller Carp, F1’s and larger silvers and finally a new Hypertech foam which is absolutely rock solid aimed at Margin or bagging floats when carping. There is still a place for Balsa based floats especially for silverfish and more natural water floats as they seem to just sit better in the water more so when going into larger sizes. After speaking to these guys they are also fans of side eyes over springs for most patterns although each do offer a spring or figure of eight for those that wish, and the same goes for tips as many will go the easy route of a hollow tip over solid, glass or cane but again for me each have a place for different situations even on the likes of commercial fisheries and they have tried and tested patterns with these fitted. After having a go at building a few to try it’s easy to see why the builders can turn out so many floats in quick time, as they literally are gluing the materials together, the materials are available already pre-sealed/prepped ready to go and the easiest option of hollow tips and spring eyes are quick to assemble over a solid tip or side eye which takes some practice to get right. One thing I made sure to ask was why the use of a green tip? I have never used one and up until trying these samples didn’t intend too as I am partially colour blind but I was quite amazed how well they show up in the light, this I can see will be a huge advantage for those who struggle at distance, will it improve my fishing? I’m not sure as yet but for many I would like to say and have been told it does. It was interesting to see how playing about with the air gap in a hollow bristle can change a floats action, seeing 3 floats identical other than the size of air gap and how they sit differently to each other when shotted the same also can change how a float or a bait is used.

 

Float 10 10
The last float going into the shotting tube

 

During the test I carried out I chose the most common slim pattern or Chianti style as people refer too, all were a 0.4g size but this is where the differences ended. For those that were turned/built from scratch were finished to a much higher standard as the hole for starters could be tailored to the size of stem being used whereas the ready bought ones seem to come as standard with a 1mm hole; this makes fitting a 0.5-0.8mm stem a bit fiddly to centralise and was clearly not an option as most had a 1mm stem fitted. All were referred to as F1 or Pellet floats but the stem material, thickness and lengths varied hugely and having a 0.5mm carbon stem Vs 1mm glass changed the balance quite a fair bit, the bodies again differed somewhat considering the pattern is regarded as the same and the tip material, thickness and length all affected the shotting patterns and ranging from 1.2mm-2mm changes the sensitivity of the float dramatically which can be the difference in seeing the tiniest of bites or not. One thing I did notice during the shotting of these floats was how much a spring eye can hold a float up on the water’s surface even with the shotting to take the tip to around 7mm showing these eyes on some of the floats when lowered slowly sat up against the eye whereas the side eyes didn’t do this. Don’t get me wrong many will look at a float for what it is and not look too much into it but when using floats for shy biting fish such as Roach & F1’s or where you want to manipulate the rate of fall then having a float that is balanced and doesn’t need you to give a little lift & drop to set it properly is far more important than one that just looks good but performance is poor.

 

Float 11 11
All the floats on test including tackle used to shot them

 

There are many out there that will offer some top quality floats for anglers I have no doubt, but there are some not so good ones too, and I can see that some tackle companies are trying to take back to the scene with their own progression, but if you want a specific float or one of their common patterns I can’t recommend highly enough that you get in touch with Tez Naulls (TN Floats), Gaz Malham (Floats), Rich Wilson (RW Floats) or Rob Marsh (BG Floats), they certainly won’t break the bank either with prices ranging from only £1.50 - £2.30.

Float 12 12
Alternative view of picture number 11

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Des Shipp’s Commercial Edges

 

Who better to give you 10 top tips for catching carp on the short pole this month than England superstar, Des Shipp!

 

 

1 - Keep Quiet

1 Stay Quiet Des

One of the most important things to do when you’re planning to catch at close range is to remain as quiet as possible.

Wise fish in today’s commercials are very wary of bankside disturbance, so try to keep any banging and movements on the bank to a minimum while setting up, and more importantly, when fishing.

 

 

2 - The Magic Depth

2 Magic Depth Des

Fishing in the right depth of water is essential if you plan on catching on the short pole, and I often see people fishing far too close for my liking, in too shallower water.

Where possible, the minimum depth that I like to target is four feet. I have found that big carp feel comfortable feeding with more water over their heads. If they want to come into water shallower than this, the chances are you will catch the same fish down the edge.

 

 

3 - Elbow Accuracy

3 Elbow Accuracy Des

Fishing the short pole often means that you’re fishing on the near slope of a commercial, which means that there is lots of scope to be inaccurate. If you’re fishing on a slope and place your rig a few inches further out than where you’ve plumbed up, you will be fishing off the bottom, where you probably won’t catch fish! Come a few inches closer, and you’ll have line laid on the deck, which may cause you to foul hook fish.

I always try and make sure I plumb up, feed and fish right on the end of a section and place my rig in line with a far-bank marker. I believe it’s essential to make a conscious effort to check you’re in the right spot every time you ship out.

 

 

4 - Float Choice

4 Fave Float Des

The float that you use for fishing short is very important. I like a float with a thick, hollow plastic tip. This is very buoyant, and will allow me to spot the difference between line bites and proper indications when a carp takes my hook bait.

If you use too thin a bristle, you will end up striking at false indications and in turn foul hook fish. Try and ignore small wobbles and little drag-under indications, and only strike at very sharp, fast dinks. The float doesn’t necessarily have to zoom under, but you will find proper bites are much faster indications than liners.

 

 

5 - The Big Lift

5 The Big Lift Des

I often get asked why I lift the pole up high after hooking a fish on the short pole. I often lift into the bite and, once I connect with a fish, lift the pole right up several metres high!

Firstly, I do this to make sure that my hook is in properly. Secondly, when fishing short for big carp, you often find that fish power off like a train, and can easily break your hooklength. By lifting the pole high after hooking them, however, they seem to stay at close range, and if they do power off you have lots of extra ‘give’ as you can drop the pole to allow them some more running space.

 

 

6 - Play And Feed

FEEDING SPARE Des Shipp

When fishing at close range, you’re often looking for an early or late run of fish, and to make the most of a short swim you ideally need to catch several quick fish on the bounce.

To make sure that there’s a fish waiting for you next time you ship out, try and learn to feed while you are actually playing a fish. When you initially hook a fish, others in the swim will spook, but once you get back to your top kit and the hooked fish is away from the swim, you can throw some free offerings accurately on to your short swim by hand, to get the fish back for when you ship out after landing the fish.

 

 

7 - Keep It Tight

7 keep it tight Des

I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your feed in a small, tight area when you’re fishing short. Especially when fishing on a shelf, fish will hear your feed enter the water, home in on the bait and quickly mop it up as it lands on the bottom.

If your hook bait is falling right among the feed, the chances are that fish will take that too, and you’ll catch them very quickly. Try and make sure you’re ultra accurate when throwing in your feed, and if you’re not accurate, use a small pole-mounted Cad Pot!

 

 

8 - Light Rigs

8 light rigs Des

This tip sits alongside the tip above. My favourite shotting pattern to use on a short-pole swim is a strung-out pattern, with Stotz evenly strung in the bottom third to half of the rig depending on the depth.

Experience has taught me that carp in particular cruise into the near shelf and then dip down to feed when they hear and see bait enter and fall through the water. Presenting a hook bait that falls into the swim like the loose feed may catch you some extra fish on the drop. I like to combine the slow-falling strung-out rig with the accurate throwing mentioned above. I often throw in some feed, and then flick my rig over the top so my hook bait falls with the feed.

 

 

9 - Push The Peg

9 Push The Peg Des

There are some days when a steady, regular feeding pattern on the short swim just doesn’t work. When this happens you can sometimes pull fish into the swim by feeding more than everyone else.

If I’m not getting any bites on the short swim going into the last 90 minutes of a match, I won’t hesitate to feed a big amount of bait with a large pole pot. You can sometimes catch two or three very big fish by doing this with baits like corn or meat, and give yourself a last-gasp weight boost in a match.

 

 

10 - Timing

10 Time It Right Des

It is very rare that you will catch on the short pole throughout a match. It’s a great method to start the match on, as there are often some fish hanging around the near shelf before the pressure of the match starting hits them.

Spending the first 20 minutes of a match on the short pole while priming your other swims will often get you off to a good start. Finally, you need to be patient later in the day too, as fish may not venture in to feed on the short pole swim until the late stages in a match.

I like to prime it throughout the day, and will wait until the last two hours to try it. If there are no fish there, don’t give up! They may arrive with 90 minutes to go, an hour to go, or even less!

At White Acres fishery, you can prime a short swim all day to catch two or three big carp on it in the final 15 minutes of a match!

 

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Mark Pollard reflects on a very successful trip to the Emerald Isle, and recounts his lessons learnt…

 

The Irish festival scene has seen a huge rise in popularity in the past few years and in turn winning over on the Emerald Isle is becoming increasingly difficult. Well, that’s the case for most, although if you’re a certain Mark Pollard it seems that winning in Ireland is about as easy as getting your hands on a pint of Guinness!

We joined him on his return from another successful visit to Ireland, where he managed to frame in five out of five festivals!

 

Fish To Win

Mark Pollard Irish 19 2
A festival-winning fish? Redworms and maggot was a great hook bait for skimmers! 

 

I would say the most important nugget of advice I could give to anyone visiting Ireland and who wants to do well is be positive. The fishing in Ireland when I was last there (for a full five weeks in September), was the best I’ve ever known it and with such good fishing on offer you have to make the most of it.

Fishing for skimmers and roach in the UK may be about fine lines and small hooks but for feeder fishing the past few weeks I’ve been using 0.14mm main line and a size 14 or 16 hook!

You also have to be quite focused on what your target weight is. On the harder sections when you only need 4 to 6kg then catching roach is a good idea and a positive pole approach can work. On sections where 10 to 15kg plus is winning then you have to go into the matches looking to catch these bigger weights; yes you can have a great day catching 8kg on the pole, but the glory lies in finding the skimmers and hybrids.

 

Get Your Feeding Right

 

The past few weeks I’ve felt that on the whole I’ve got my feeding right. I use the same tried and tested mix for every match, which consists of two parts Frenzied Hempseed groundbait, two parts Silver X Roach Original and one part brown crumb. I feel that it’s the perfect mix for both the pole and feeder, and having just one mix that you know works helps to keep things simple and allows you to concentrate on the more important aspects of your match.

Mark Pollard Irish 7 2
Hybrids love a slow-falling bait, so fishing a long tail offers perfect presentation.

Key baits are always maggots, casters and worms, especially redworms. I use dendrabaenas for chopping but I don’t think redworms can be bettered for a hook bait. The biggest problem in Ireland can be eels – they don’t count! They love worms and by introducing just a small amount of worm and a lot of casters I found that I had far less of a problem with them this year.

Another great trick I’ve used when hybrids have been the target is to introduce crushed casters through the feeder. Not only does this give off all of the attractants but it also creates a nice cloud as the feeder falls through the water.

 

Exposing Your Tackle

 

One thing you will find with Irish festivals, especially when you go over there for a few weeks, is that any weaknesses in your tackle will soon get found out either by the harsh weather or the constant use.

As you’re fishing from the water a lot of the time you need a solid box and everything to hand so you’re not constantly wading back to the shore.

Mark Pollard Irish 2 2

Rods and reels take a lot of abuse and I’ve spent the last five weeks fishing five days a week using a Horizon S-Class rod coupled with an Aquos 5000 reel and it’s been the perfect combination. Even with a horrendous headwind I could use the power of the rod to punch out the feeder and still hit my clip every time. The majority of the fishing I’ve done in Ireland this year has been at around 45 metres and having the correct tackle, casting action and ensuring you can comfortably and accurately hit the same spot cast after cast is really important if you want to build up a swim of confidently feeding fish.

Braid is a must for feeder fishing in Ireland as some of the bites can be very tentative; as braid has no stretch bites are shown direct on the tip and allow instant contact with the fish.  My reels are all loaded with 0.10mm Submerge Braid to which I attach a leader of 10lb Carpmaster mono. I set up a couple of rods for each match and use the distance measuring sticks to ensure they’re both fished at exactly the same range.

Feeder choice is also really important, and the main feeders I’ve used this year are small cage feeders, for tough days when I don’t feel I should introduce much bait, and dome cage feeders. These allow me to not only bait up really quickly with one hand but also pack the feeder full of casters and just a small plug of groundbait. I’ve switched between a small and medium in 30g and 40g and this has covered 95 per cent of my feeder fishing.

The final aspect of my feeder fishing that has really helped to put more fish in my net has been fishing with a long tail. I’ve been starting with a hooklength of 24 inches but this has been increased to nearly double that length when the hybrids have been difficult to catch. Used in conjunction with three floating maggots you can get a very slow fall of your bait and many a hybrid has been nailed in the past few weeks on this tactic.

 

Be Versatile

 

Keeping an open mind while I’ve been in Ireland has really helped me produce good results on the harder days. One tactic in particular that has helped me do well is the waggler. Now this is something a lot of people ignore but on its day it’s hard to beat.

On the World Pairs I actually had a weight of over 20kg to win the section and it was all taken on the waggler. I won’t mention the angler who was at the next peg but he’s also part of the Matrix team and brilliantly went on to win the event!

My setup usually incorporates an insert waggler, 0.12mm hooklength to a size 16 hook with a bunch of maggots and I either feed casters or small balls of soft groundbait.

Mark Pollard Irish 26 23

It’s also not all about rod-and-line work. As I mentioned, some days you just have to get your head down and do a weight on the pole. This can be really enjoyable, again positive tactics are a must. I like to cup in around five to six balls packed with feed and I will use 2 to 3g rigs to get the bait down quickly to fish over them. A solid No6 elastic through three sections is all I ever use and enables me to swing most fish and speed up my catch rate.

Although these are tactics, tackle and baits I’ve used in Ireland this year they also work on a vast majority of natural waters here in the UK, so even if you’re not tempted to have a taste of the fishing overseas then by adopting some of the ideas I’ve mentioned you can be sure to put more fish in your net. 

 

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Sean steals the win in Round Two Of Lindhome Natural Baits League.

Dynamite ace Sean Cameron has won the second round of the Lindholme Lakes Natural Baits League, with a 43-14-0 net. Drawn on peg 63 on Laurels Lake, Sean found quality F1s on maggot tactics, feeding small balls of Swim Stim to keep fish coming.

In second place was Matrix rod Craig Butterfield, who put a 41-14-0 net together, again on maggots. Ryan Lidguard took the final frame place, with a weight of 40-4-0, again on maggots.

With 50 anglers fishing, three lakes were used  - and although Laurels Lake dominated the frame places, the going was tough in areas. The stand out weight on Strip Pond was Nick Speed, who walked the lake with a 31-14-0 net of mainly perch! The Shimano and Dynamite ace broke his personal perch best three times in the course of the match, with his best fish weighing in at 3-5-0.

The best weight on Loco was Paul Christie, who caught 22-0-0 of skimmers and F1s to secure himself a section win.

The next round takes place this Saturday 14th January, with Bonsai, Laurels and Strip being used. To book on, anglers should contact Tom Scholey on 07971620489 or Matt Godfrey on 07917 711722.    

 

Result:

1 Sean Cameron (Dynamite) 43-14-0 (Laurels 63)

2 Craig Butterfield (Matrix) 41-14-0 (Laurels 33)

3 Ryan Lidguard 40-4-0 (Laurels 45)

 

 

Lindholme_League_2.jpg

Matrix sponsored angler, and former Junior Fish 'O' Mania champion Cameron Cross ponders one of the biggest questions in modern match fishing...

 

Whether it’s political votes, the fight against terrorism or Leicester City winning the Premier League, no subject has caught my attention of late more than anglers and the matches they choose to fish. 

For a while now I’ve been reading through pages upon pages of anger-filled arguments, spreading across social media like a fire in a firework factory, with every argument becoming the breeding grounds for another. The source of the issue seems to be stemming from the matches in which anglers choose to participate, and one’s rewards from doing so. At this present time I find myself perched firmly on the fence, and can see the positives and negatives from either side of the arguments, as well as the comments that have neither use nor ornament.

It seems with so many matches to choose from nowadays anglers are struggling to agree which are the correct ones to go on, if there are such things?

I’m a big believer in pushing yourself in anything you do, and if you’re not in it to reach the top there’s very little point being in it at all, but enjoying it at the same time is a key factor!

Speaking from a junior angler’s perspective, which I am now on my way out of day by day, I believe surrounding yourself with the best possible opposition is vital to improving and pushing yourself towards the realms of the sport’s elite in years to come. Since starting match fishing seriously, I’ve tried to fish against the best I can, which brings a barrel of problems in itself, from getting to the matches to affording them in the first place. I’ve been lucky so far, up to a point, with the people I’ve met and spent time with on the bank in my angling career, in the fact they’ve welcomed me with open arms and been willing to answer the bombardments of questions I’d throw at them some days. From these matches I have gained very little reward of the financial kind, or my name next to a winning open match weight, but what I did win – and continue to do so for that matter – is experience and knowledge, which are priceless in my eyes.

I’d challenge anyone to name me another sport in which you could arrive at your peg, to be greeted by a world champion often no more than a pigeon’s tit away, and spend the day inspecting his every move for future reference? Beating them is a bonus in my eyes, but to try and compete and hold your own against them while learning from the best in the game is a far more valuable opportunity. The anglers that I try to learn from while fishing these matches, however, have earned everything they receive in the form of sponsorship and success, and have all spent years progressing to where they are, and continue to move forward. The elites of the sport seem to get the best rewards in forms of sponsorship and the biggest following within the various media platforms, which they rightly deserve, so on that one I’m going to have to say I’m not quite sure what all the fuss is about.

Now let’s flip the coin, and at the opposite end of the scale seem to be the anglers that choose not to fish against the so-called ‘best opposition’ they can, week in week out, but instead are happy to fish much smaller matches, often not challenging themselves as much as they could do, and in return gaining a much greater financial reward and many more match wins under their belt.  They often opt to fish a select few venues that ‘play into their hands’ and keep them safely within their comfort zone. These anglers soon carve themselves into the forefront of the angling media, whether that’s in the shape of magazine articles or social media write-ups.

This is where it gets interesting, and the arguments occur. Now if anyone ever asked me for advice on this matter, I’d personally tell them to go for the first option without even batting an eyelid, as I feel, especially for younger anglers, surrounding yourself with the best possible opposition can only be worth it in the long run, but what do I know? I also can understand, and the reason I’m still perched on this forever shrinking fence, why anglers do just fish smaller matches, and that not everyone has the mind-set like myself, where I see myself as a 6ft 2in tall sponge taking on board every bit of advice I can get, and disregarding the parts I disagree with.

I understand that some anglers just purely go out to enjoy their fishing, and are more than content fishing the smaller matches that they do, and have no care of progressing in methods they see themselves as ever needing. These anglers instead enjoy fishing matches they feel they can often stand a chance of winning and enjoy doing so when this happens. After all, that is the aim of the game!

Also it seems that fishing with friends on the bank is a key part and probably why the club match scene is as big as it is, and these pros far outweigh the cons of stepping into the unknown.

The fact is, the best in the game get the best deals, which they rightly deserve. If people can get sponsorship in any shape or form it’s well worth doing so to progress in your angling career and a great opportunity this brings in the process, but at the same time sponsors expect to be seeing rewards for this – they’re not a charity after all!

I think a lesson everyone should take from all of this is that everyone goes fishing for different reasons, and as long as we all enjoy it and keep going, who really cares? So let’s all just enjoy the great sport we decided to spend our valuable time on, and if we disagree with another angler’s options or position in the media, simply ignore it and turn your attention to the ones you agree with.

Cam

The Preston Pole Pairs qualifier fished at Tunnel Barn Farm on 26th November saw the top three pairs on the day progress through to the Grand Final at Woodland View.

The match turned out to be a bitter sweet affair for the Maver Gold Dynamite team. Fielding four pairs out of the twenty-four that fished, the team were hopeful of a good result and so it turned out to be with Luke Capewell (pictured above right) and Wayne Bailey (pictured above left) qualifying for the final. The pair finished in third place with a combined weight of 89lb 11oz.

Also pushing hard for qualification were team mates Darren Johnson and Andy Dyson who finished in fourth place overall with 82lbs with Alex Hulme and Andy North finishing close behind with 80lbs to complete a third, fourth and fifth place finish for the team overall.

Team Captain, Clive Nixon, commented “This is a fabulous result for the newly formed squad and I have hopes for bigger and better things to come from the young and experienced anglers in the team. Thanks to Maver and Dynamite for their support“.

The final, which will see a total of thirty (30) pairs compete head-to-head, takes place at Woodland View in Droitwich on March 4th and will reward the overall winners with £4,000. 

 

Book Your Tickets here - 

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Coaching With Winnie!

The most successful match angler of 2016 - Jon Whincup is to start offering his services as an angling coach.

Jon, who has won over £110K over the last twelve months, explained:  "I am 42, a family man and after years of fishing at the highest level, both team and individual fishing, natural and commercial venues, I've decided to offer my services as an angling coach. It's something I've been thinking of for a while now and I feel now is the right time."

For more information, check out his website: www.jonwhincup.co.uk

Webb’s World

 

Excuse making is Dan Webb’s topic this month, an art he is particularly accomplished in…

 

You’ve just got home in a foul mood. You chuck your kit in the garage and kick the dog. The kids run away scared. As you crack open a cold one from the fridge the wife asks: “How did you get on today?” Why did she ask? She never asks! She finds talking about fishing as interesting as you find listening to her recall what Sharon from number 26 said to Tanya about Clare’s new hair! She most probably knows you’ve had a bad day and just wants to wind you up. “No good, bad draw,” you say.

How often do we use that excuse? It’s a very easy one isn’t it? Over time we become more and more skilled at finding justification as to why our peg just isn’t as good as everyone else’s. When we win a match, of course, the draw only plays a small part and our overwhelming skill and mastery of fishy science has allowed us to beat all the mere mortals around us. Bad days, though, are definitely down to the draw!

Then there is Baz, the guy with the individual sponsorship from Cloud 9 tackle and has not paid full price for casters since 1996! Baz draws like Picasso and puts more fish on the scales than Captain Birdseye! The man is always on fish, he doesn’t know what a bad peg looks like! Even when he does draw average he moans like crazy and still frames!

The trouble is, can it all be down to luck? I once accused both Mark Pollard and Matt Godfrey of drawing well and while Matt gave me a series of verbals that I couldn’t possibly repeat, Mark just simply said: “I make bad pegs look good!” Although he said it as a joke it did actually get me thinking. It’s very easy for a draw to look quite good on the weigh board when a big weight has been recorded among a few good ones. Take that weight away and put a poor result among those average weights and suddenly the draw doesn’t look very good at all. Was it the angler or the peg? Can we ever be sure? Maybe we should be looking at ourselves before we blame the draw?!

As with every rule, there are always exceptions. I do know a few anglers who can almost pick their pegs before the draw. If there is a peg that everyone wants to be on, they are there. The incredible thing, though, is that even when they do draw a bad section, it will be the one day that the section fishes its nuts off and everyone there catches loads more than normal! I’m sure I’d increase my chances of drawing better if I studied the pegs less, because these guys don’t even have a clue that they are draw bags! They just naturally assume they are god’s gift to fishing and that’s what makes the whole thing worse!

As with everything in life there is always cause and effect, and in order to bring balance back to the universe there are also those poor souls who are condemned to a life of horrific draws! If ever there is a shallow, narrow, featureless arm with hardly a bite to be had, everyone knows an angler who is bound to draw it! The day a boat crashes and gets stuck in a peg you can guarantee it’s theirs. The day they draw the bush peg is sure to be the day after it’s been cut back to a stump. No matter how bad a day you’ve had or how bad you think your draw has been, spare a thought for Rob Perkins, who draws like that every week!

We are delighted to announce that Belgian feeder international Danny Vancraenendonck has joined the Matrix team as a consultant. Danny will help strengthen the Matrix team in Belgium.

Matrix Media manager Craig Butterfield was delighted to have Danny on board, “Danny is a great angler and brings a wealth of experience to the brand. He’ll be helping with both product feedback and we’ll also be out on the bank with him producing interesting content for both printed and digital media”.

Danny was also happy with the recent partnership, “I feel honoured joining the Matrix Team. The Matrix products are very good quality. The brand is extremely professional and they have a fantastic team of top anglers of which I’m very proud to be joining”.

Top match tackle firm Middy are delighted to announce that Russell Shipton has put pen to paper on a 12-month rolling sponsorship deal.

Based in Kent, Russell joins Middy after recently finishing in the top 30 at the UK Champs at his first attempt. He also competes in big matches like Match This and Fish'O'Mania and is a brilliant angler, who will now provide even more expert advice as Middy develop more high-quality tackle, designed to improve your catch rates and match efficiency.

Russell has been using Middy tackle for years and had also been a ‘Shop-Pro’ for Orpington Tackle & Bait, until being offered this full sponsorship deal.

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