Peg 1A at Collingham must have been everyone’s pre-match favourite for top spot and it didn’t disappoint, the same swim that handed glory and the National record to Steve Clark back in 2005 doing the same for Steve Collett this time round with a 56-020 barbel haul that secured him the title by 40kg!
A regular on the River Severn and a specimen-hunter when not matchfishing, the peg was right up Shatterford-based Steve’s street. Fishing halibut pellet with a pellet blockend feeder rig, the Farnborough DAS man landed 20 fish to 9lb from the famous peg, leaving him relieved at the end of the five hours.
“When you draw a flier like this there’s pressure not to muck it up,” Steve said. “This has to be one of the best fliers I’ve ever drawn and as soon as I saw the weirpool upstream I felt right at home. It was just like fishing the Severn back home with proper kit.” Kicking off on a groundbait feeder and maggot combo in search of bream, bites were hard to come by so Steve swapped to the pellet approach, casting a 70g Black Cap feeder packed with 4mm halibuts around 40yds upstream to a gravel patch. With 8mm and 10mm drilled hair-rigged halibuts on the hook, it wasn’t long before he was catching.
“I caught seven fish in the first couple of hours, but had spent a bit of time spodding out pellets to get a bed of feed down,” he explained.
“People might think that’s a waste of time in a five-hour match, but when the fish move over the feed, they don’t leave it! It took another hour, but for a golden spell I landed nine fish in quick succession and most of the time bites came as soon as the feeder settled.” Steve’s tackle was also right out of the big-fish book. He used a 2lb tc barbel rod, 15lb mainline, a long 3ft 0.30mm hooklength and a size 12 hook.
Steve lost half-a-dozen fish and had to use brute force to drag hooked fish away from danger.
Sport wasn’t quite so hectic for runner-up Steve Addy on peg E4 just downstream of Crankley Point. Aiming for the bream, the Team Mosella Selby angler got off to a slow start before the chub turned up in numbers, 14 of them giving the Gilberdyke rod his 16-890kg.
“I began on the groundbait feeder, but only caught two little skimmers. By one o’clock I was going nowhere, but out of the blue the tip went round and I caught a 1lb chub. I switched to the maggot feeder with three red maggots casting three-quarters of the way across and in the next hour I caught five fish around 1lb before it slackened off.”
1 S Collett, Farnborough DAS, 56-020
2 S Addy Team Mosella Selby, 16-890
3 K Hartley, Mirfield AC, 14-400