Tunnel barn , North vs South match

June 28th , peg 41 High pool


Well today was the day of the big match and the reason i had traveled down to Tunnel barn farm and after booking out of my hotel i headed on my short trip to the venue , on arrival i was greeted to lots of anglers with sore heads no doubt over doing it on the ale the night before rumour had it that a few had managed to find the only club in Warwick getting in at 3 am i just hoped it wouldn’t affect the North’s team performance .A brief run down on how the match would work there was 142 anglers fishing spread over five lakes house,  extension , high , new and canal , which meant nearly every peg would be taken , there was 19 sections consisting of between 7 or 10 anglers depending on which lake you drew on and then you got points for finishing as high as you can the overall winning team was obviously the North or the one who culminated the most points .

With so many anglers contesting the event i expected the draw to take some time but i was really impressed with how smoothly it went , i have experienced a lot of these big matches and it was right up there near the top of the list of well run matches . I joined the very long queue towards the rear and i really fancied a try on house or extension as those are capable of throwing up some really big weights but for a change my drawing arm let me down putting me on peg 41 high pool which wasn’t that far away from where i had won my section in the pole fishing masters i wasnt that happy to be honest especially with every peg being in and i felt that 40lb would be a good weight but i needed to do a job for the team so would be trying my best .


On arriving at my peg i was situated in the corner of the  straight with your back to canal pool at the side of a water inlet , i had a nice margin towards my left and had a point of an island although it was less than 2ft wide there was also an empty peg too my left and to be honest i thought i would have been better fishing on that one as it allowed me a much wider area of far-bank to target but there wasn’t a lot i could do about it now . High pool is one of the newest waters on the complex meaning a small stamp of fish and also one of the deepest waters which made it difficult to find the depth that the fish wanted to settle on and as a consequence i ended up setting more rigs than i usually do these where ;

Top kit at 4ft

Margin tight to the bank side reeds 3ft

Far-bank 2ft tight to the island

Channel at six meters which was 6ft

Shallow both at 1ft and 2ft

My bait was a bit of a mixture today ;

3 pints of red and white maggots

2 pints of soaked micro and 4mm fishery pellets

4 pints ground-bait f1 dark

Tub of 4 + 6 mm expanders


At 1030 am the whistle went for the all in its also signaled the end of the constant rain we had suffered with all morning although it was replaced with a strengthening breeze which was thankfully blowing off my back , i decided to start as i usually do nowadays on my top kit and i kinder potted in a hard ball of pellets then lowered my rig in among it . it didn’t take long before i began getting indications and i went on a run of f1s although they were the smaller 8oz stamp but it wasn’t long though until i began getting line bites and as i feared my ball of micros had broken up on the way down which brought the fish up of the deck i tried changing my shotting pattern for a bulk + dropper this caught me a couple of slightly bigger f1s but it was slow going .

Since the match started i had been loose feeding maggots at six meters and i had noticed a few swirls so jumped at the chance at picking up my shallow rig because for some bizarre reason you only usually get a two-hour window before they back off , for the next sixty minutes it was fish a chuck mainly f1s with the odd ide mixed in and to be honest it was all so easy but it started getting difficult as they began too back off making me work extremely hard for bites going up + down the layers . After it had slowed right down i decided to keep feeding the swim but fished my left hand margin in the shallowest water i could find tight to the near bank reeds at 3ft , i was still using pellets feeding balls of micros by lifting + dropping my rig i started putting fish in the net but it was slow going and i needed to up my catch rate to stay in contention for the section because Des Shipp a few pegs away had really upped his by fishing across to the island fighting with the strong cross wind .


I set up another margin swim further to my left at almost 11 meters in a little cut out between the reeds this produced another run of fish but after a good thirty minutes it began to tail off i had another quick try shallow picking off a couple more big f1s but they wasn’t there in numbers although i saw the odd bubble coming up so they was still in the vicinity and i had a quick try on the deck underneath where i had been loose feeding maggots this produced a few more but with an hour remaining i had no option but to fish across and fight the cross wind i really should have been brave going on it a lot sooner than i had because i caught quite steady until the all out sounded , i kick started the swim with a big pot of ground-bait then topped up with a kinder pot when the bites began to slow and alternating between maggots + pellets on the hook kept the fish coming .

After packing up i went round to find the scales man to see how everyone had got on and the weights were a lot lower than on the Pole fishing masters averaging around the 50lb mark which was no doubt down to the very tight pegging we had to endure , when they arrived to my peg my seventy f1s plus a dozen ide + barbel took the dial round to just over 70lb this put me into the lead and kept me there until Des Shipp showed his class throwing 120lb on to the scales i could have probably added another twenty pound by getting my timings right but not the 50lb i required to challenge for the ten peg section finishing second to an England international wasnt to shabby i suppose plus i was also third on High pool out of thirty anglers .


On getting back to the cabin to await the decision on who had won what there was a price draw with lots of good items of fishing tackle to be won ( a quick tip is always go for the blank envelopes as they usually contain the better prizes and this one contained a coaching session with the North’s team captain Emma Pickering ) While all this was taking place all the points were being added up and checked , after what seemed like an age it was time for the results first the section winners and i picked up mine due to Des Shipp getting third . Then they named the top five with the South managing three of them but another England international this time a veteran Danny Sixsmith winning overall with 130lb and after that it was time for the big one the main reason everyone had turned up . . . . of course the North had won was there ever going to be any other outcome ! ! !


All in all it was an extremely well run affair and a big thanks must go to all those involved and even though i am not a good socialiser or drinker i really enjoyed the event as i get a real buzz out of fishing these big challenges , i will hopefully be able to contest the return match next year which will take place at Tunnel barn in May so keep an ache on Facebook for more details and i hope to see you all there .


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