An unbelievable £50k has been won by a match angler from a peg that nearly made him weep.
Andy Power proved you should always keep an open mind, even if you don’t fancy your peg, as he topped a 24-strong field to take home the biggest cash prize in the history of the sport.
The Preston Innovations-backed angler admitted he ‘could've cried’ when he drew Peg 4 of the Match Lake at the start of the highly-anticipated Maver Match This final, especially when current Parkdean Champion Lee Kerry drew favoured end Peg 12 at the other end of the lake. Grant Albutt (Garbolino) finished close behind Andy from neighbouring Peg 5 and after four hours and 50 minutes of intense nip-and-tuck action, it was too close to call between the two men. It was then that Grant connected with a big fish down the edge.
As it buried itself in for lilypads, Grant was forced to take drastic action but the strong-arming ended with a smashed top kit and quite possibly the last chance of wrestling the prize away from Andy - something confirmed just minutes later.
The Wells based 23-year-old totalled 39.78kg of carp and F1 hybrids while Grant finished agonisingly close with 37.1kg. No one could say just how big the carp that was lost right at the death was, but by the look on Grant's face, it was no stockie.
"I didn't really want to be at that end of the lake," said Andy. "I felt Lee would take some stopping and even when the match ended I thought I'd got enough for fourth or fifth despite everyone telling me I could've won it. I only started to believe I'd won when the scales got to Stu Ballard as I knew he'd been catching well. Once he weighed 32kg all I could do was smile and then jump in the lake.”
Conditions on the day saw plenty of cloud and strong winds driving temperatures considerably lower than the day before. With the wind proving a real challenge Andy, like many anglers, opted for a bomb-and-pellet approach and really attacked the peg, feeding aggressively with half a dozen 8mm pellets every 20 seconds or so and casting regularly, rarely leaving the bait in the water for more than a couple of minutes.
"I caught early on and apart from one half-hour spell the fishing was pretty steady," Andy continued. "By twitching the bait and casting all around the swim I didn't wait too long for an indication and I swapped to a piece of punched polony when I felt I needed a better fish, which worked really well with four or five carp up to 8lb." Andy finished by saying: "I've won a few £1,000 matches before, but this is something else completely - it sounds obvious, but I'll never have a day's fishing like it again!"