Heronbrook Festivals all work in a similar way, with anglers fishing each lake for one day. The overall result is decided on cumulative section points – and with no dropped result you cannot afford to blow out. The standard of angler at the venue is always exceptionally high, so there really is no room for error.
On Day One, I drew Peg 24 on Meadow Pool. I fancied a few fish as there were a lot of fish moving in the area. My main attack was going to be across to the far bank fishing a 50/50 mix of micro pellets, and Bag Em XP groundbait, and fishing expander pellets and meat on the hook .
I caught steadily for the first two hours while feeding the track with meat in the hope of a late run of fish. The fish on Meadow tend to move into deep water late in the session, and by ensuring I also fed my margins I set all the traps for a strong finish.
Although the late action wasn’t hectic, I caught a few fish from all lines to weigh in 146lb. This secured me a section win, and second overall in the match. I couldn't have asked for a better start!
I drew Peg 9 on Canal, a fancied peg after it finished second in the section on the first day. To be honest, I was confident of a win, as there are usually a lot of fish there. Often, this peg is an out and out shallow peg but after looking for the fish that usually knock the reeds and seeing none, I had to approach it differently. With this in mind, I decided on the same attack as the first day – the emphasis being on keeping it simple.
I found shallow water across which was about 18 inches deep, and I started here just tapping out my micros and XP mix fishing for F1s. I thought I would need 70 to 80 fish to win the section, and caught steady all match ending up with 81 fish weighing 111lb, which was enough for a win, leaving me on two points with a day to go.
I was heading for Bridge Pool, and after a sleepless night the draw was upon me. I drew Peg 7, I knew I had a chance to win from here again. I thought, keep it simple and see how it pans out . The day before 89lb won this section so my target was 90lb plus. I set up a lot of kit as I wanted to cover all options.
My plan was to keep an eye on what was happening around me, and push the peg if I felt I needed to catch more. Again, I was looking for shallow water, at the far bank I found about 18 inches tight up – perfect I thought.
It was for the first hour, I had 20 F1s and settled into a nice rhythm catching a fish a chuck. Then disaster struck! I just couldn't get one in the mouth and foul hooked fish after fish.
I changed my feeding and eventually started to progress again. Fortunately, I managed a few fish in the margins on corn late in the match, and I thought I'd done okay even though I'd lost 30 fish or more.
The scales came and I had 71 fish which weighed 91lb. Unfortunately, this only ended up being enough for third in section, with 92lb and 96lb beating me. I thought I'd blown it.
When I found out I'd won I was delighted, as I don't deal with losing well, but all in all it was my time, and the £1,000 winner's purse was a welcome bonus!
Terminal tackle used was my Maver Elite Allround pole, elastic choice was grey Dual Core (8-11), and my main line was 0.12mm Genesis Smart to a size 16 Maver MT1 hook.