It’s not every week that four anglers saunter off to Sunny Spain and come home €10,000 richer, but that’s just what a merry band of four of England’s top match aces did in the recent Merida Masters.
Brad Titmus, Callum Dicks, Steve Gardener and Simon Willsmore fished the inaugural three-day event on the River Guadiana, scene of last year’s World Championships, and pocketed the equivalent of over £2,000 each – more than the average monthly wage!
Kamasan Starlets ace Brad came out on top with a total of nine points to scoop the €6,000 winner’s prize, his average match weight over the three days being more than 20kg, much higher than those recorded in last year’s World Champs.
Incredibly, he’d never seen the place before in his life, relying on information from England men Steve and Des Shipp, plus Italian legend Milo Colombo.
“Milo put us on to a groundbait that had worked well on the river. For Day 1 we mixed 3kg of this with 1kg of heavy leam,” Brad explained. “The fish were feeding more confidently than predicted, so for Days 2 and 3 we used more groundbait and less leam, adding 1kg of chopped worm, two litres of sticky mag and three tins of corn.”
Brad had his lowest weight on Day 1 with just over 13kg for fourth in his 22-peg section, while 24 hours later the Leicester lad roared back to form with 28-500kg to win the match overall and the section. Going into Day 3, he finished joint second with Spain’s Thomas Romera Perez, both on five points, with Maver man Callum sitting slightly in front with three points after a section first and second.
“On the final day myself and Callum both drew badly with shallower pegs, which on the first two days had produced lower weights. My peg was the last one in the shallow section and started to get deeper to one side, so I got away with a bad draw and managed to catch 21-980kg for section fourth,” said Brad.
This gave him a total of nine points, which was enough to win, Callum putting 15-260kg on the scales for 12th in section – 2kg more would have propelled the former World Youth Champion to the title! As it was, Callum ended up with 15 points for overall fourth, just ahead of Milo-backed stars Steve Gardener and Simon Willsmore, who finished in sixth and seventh respectively.
“Sixty-seven anglers from six different countries fished this year, but next year there could easily be double that,” Brad added. “The hospitality was brilliant."