391lb in five hours

The biggest match weight of the year – and the heaviest ever taken in the North – has fallen to one of the country’s top match anglers after he netted a staggering 391lb 13oz of carp.

It was Maver Barnsley Blacks’ bagging machine and former UK Champion Andy Oldham who produced the breathtaking performance at Scunthorpe, East Yorkshire complex Messingham Sands as he caught a seemingly endless stream of fish to 15lb. And he could have weighed in even more had he not had the misfortune to lose several fish, including the biggest one in the lake, a ghost carp of around 25lb!
As it was, Andy obliterated the opposition, finishing over 306lb ahead of second-placed Tommy Grice’s 85lb 2oz bag.

Incredibly, it was the Maltby, Rotherham match ace’s first visit to the venue, and he blamed a lack of knowledge of the water for not initially tackling up heavy enough at the start of the Saturday open match.

Upon arriving at his draw, end peg 41 on the Swan Pond, 42-year-old Andy described the swim as ‘black with carp’, but his opening gambit of meat fished beneath a pellet waggler proved fruitless because the float’s splash spooked the fish.

“Fish were cruising about near the surface so I switched to the pole shallow at 13m, fishing just 12ins deep. It was a case of spotting fish and swinging the rig out, using a long line between the float and pole so it didn’t spook them.

“I could see the big ghostie cruising about all day, but when I finally hooked the
fish it took off for the horizon and I couldn’t stop it – it snapped my elastic!” said Andy, who is currently searching for a sponsor.

All day long he had been cupping in big pots of hemp and meat at 13m down his left-hand margin, so when a strong ripple started pushing fish into his bank in the last two-and-a-half hours he switched to this line and found the fish again.

“It was like bloodworm fishing – the float was disappearing instantly! I fed in 2ft of water but fished the rig further up the shelf in 10ins to avoid line bites and foul-hooked carp,” he revealed.

Messingham Sands has been in blistering form recently, and the day before Andy’s catch, Doncaster rod Andy Bailey broke the Tripp Pond record with 214lb 3oz.