The UK Carp Cup has been running now for 4 years and after a long wait, this year I was able to enter for the first time allowing me to have a shot at the title. I had chosen to fish a runs water, which was Long Lake at Coking Farm, which I thought would give the best chance of qualifying through to the semi finals.
I had fished the lake few years back, however I decided it would be a good idea to do a 24 hour practice session prior to the match. My girlfriend Samantha (also fishing with me and my runner for the match) and I made our way down to Dorset on the Wednesday, two days before the qualifier would commence. With only two other anglers on the lake, we had loads of room which gave us a great opportunity to try various areas of the lake. We ended up having plenty of action during the practice session, which resulted in 35 bites and no less than 30 carp banked. It soon became apparent what methods were going to score the best. We stopped fishing on the Thursday evening, which allowed me to get organised for the match the following day.
Friday morning came and all the gear was packed into the van. Sam and I managed to have a shower and freshen up, then we popped to the local supermarket to do our final shop, making sure to stock up on plenty of Red Bull. The draw was to take place at 4pm and we all gathered nervously – this can certainly be the worst bit about match fishing! The first three names came out and three out of my top four peg choices had gone. Thankfully my name got called out fourth and I got my second choice swim! It was time to get round to the swim with Sam and start to get ready for the next 40 hours of carp catching chaos…
I had a very nice peg – an island to both my right and left which I could fish to the tips of both and about a 40 yard channel of open water between them both, where I would fish my third rod. All of my rods would be fished at about 50 yards making the fishing relatively straight forward. During practice Sam and I caught a lot of fish using 10mm Equinox boilies on standard rigs, but by far the best tactic were small flat bed method feeders. My reels were spooled up with 12lb Mirage fluorocarbon and I went with the approach of all three rods rigged up with a 4 foot 25lb Mirage leader, a size 12 Covert Flexi Ring swivel, 3 inches 15lb Trickster Heavy hook link and a size 10 Covert Continental Mugga. I prefer a visible hookbait on the method feeders and I chose to fish one rod on white, one on pink and one on orange – all 8mm Mini Bites pop ups from CC Moore.
The hooter sounded at 6pm for the start of the match and ten of us were battling it out for the top two spots to qualify. I got off to a good start and when darkness fell I was in 1st place with 8 fish for around 50lb. Throughout the night I consistently kept casting and neither me or Sam had a wink of sleep as there was lots of action – by the morning I was still in 1st place with 150lb and both 2nd and 3rd were 100lb behind. During Saturday morning my rods seems to be a bit quieter and some other anglers were catching quite a few around the pond. I managed to keep chipping away and adding to my lead, at one point though I was only 20lb ahead of the anglers in 2nd and 3rd.
Saturday afternoon and evening really seemed to prove the difference though when my alarms wouldn’t stop sounding. Being well prepped and having Sam as my runner really helped, so I could be efficient once I had a good number of carp in my peg feeding. When night fell on the Saturday I had tallied up to 55 fish and a weight of 470lb! They were clearly loving the Equinox 10mm’s and the method mix I was using which consisted of Salmon fry crumb, marine pellet powder and 2mm trout pellets.
The final night was another sleepless one for me and still lots of alarm screeching resulting with at one point 15 bites in 1 hour and 30 minutes and a very good morning weigh in. With only 4 hours to go at 6am I was still sitting in 1st position on 80 fish for 585lbs, the only other contender was 2nd place who was on around 500lbs and 3rd was sitting on about 270lbs. By this point I was certain I had qualified and I was very pleased with how the match had gone, but I didn’t stop going till the end. I was informed I had set a new match record on the lake and I wanted to see how much I could total before the finish.
The final part of the match saw me catch another 10 fish before the hooter sounded for the end, resulting in me finishing in 1st place overall with an end total of 90 fish and a weight of 650lb! The biggest collective weight I have ever caught in a match and I was made up with my performance and the help of my amazing girlfriend Sam who was on it throughout the whole match and I couldn’t of caught so many if she wasn’t my runner. A quick presentation was done then after not sleeping for 55 hours I managed to get a couple of hours before driving home. Next stop is Brasenose 2 in July for the Semi finals which I am very much looking forward to…