As more and more interest grows in the new match fishing competition, ‘Match This’, the stakes continue to get higher and one lucky winner will walk away with a significant amount of money from the biggest prize money final in UK coarse angling history.
The qualifiers are being held over a number of venues up and down the country and winners have had to endure a range of conditions and some heavy competition to secure their place in the final on the 20th August, 2011.
Those who have qualified so far and get the opportunity to fish for the big money include Grant Albutt, Steve Rothery, Warren Martin, Andy Geldart, Des Shipp, Andy Power, Graham Dack ,Lee Richards, Stewart Lister, John Taylor, Paul Hiller and, most recently, Paul Morris.
First to qualify for their chance to fish for the minimum £50,000 was Garbolino’s Grant Albutt. Grant fished peg 114 on Campbell Lake at Viaduct Fishery (Somerset) to take 170-11-00 and finish over 30lbs ahead of the rest of the field.
Steve Rothery won his qualifier event at Lindholme Lakes on a late bought ticket transferred from Ben Fisk. Steve had not bought a ticket prior to the event due to all of his fishing tackle having been stolen in the run-up to the event. The tackle he used on the day was very kindly supplied by the on-site tackle shop. Having qualified for the final, it doesn't take much working out what the winnings will be spent on if he is fortunate enough to go all the way!
Making it through to the big money final next was Preston’s Des Shipp from Stafford Moor. Des finished with 171-09-00 of carp from peg 2 on Tanner’s Lake capturing a total of 23 carp up to 8lbs.
Stu Ballard of the Maver Midlands / Dynamite Baits squad claimed victory at Octoplus Boldings with 113-06-00 of paste caught fish to gain his place in the big final. Stu drew peg 23 on Chestnut lake and opted for an out and out paste approach using his favourite swimstim natural and green paste to take a mixed bag, including carp up to 10lbs.
Stu, who is regarded as the "venue expert" due to his success in the winter league rounds proved that his knowledge of the venue and deciding on the right tactics could see him go all the way. Stu must now be considered a serious contender for the big money final in August fishing another one of his favourite venues in Larford Lakes.
Next to book his place in the Grand Final was Sensas rod Warren Martin, qualifying in style by amassing the largest recorded weight of the competition so far with 216-10-00 from peg 6 on the Match lake. Warren, who is one of the most feared anglers at Barford Lakes, fished both pole and waggler, with banded pellet presented mid-depth to take carp up to 9lbs.
An out and out meat approach paid dividends for Garbolino’s Andy Geldart at The Oakes on 24th April. Andy booked his place in the main final with a match winning 121-00-00 from peg 8 on Cedar lake taking carp up to 10lbs in the process. While others around him were chopping and changing tactics in the hope of producing consistent action, Andy stuck to his guns and worked the same swim for the duration of the match, placing 46 fish on to the scales at the weigh in and secure the victory.
The second Viaduct qualifier went down to the wire with an incredible close top four. Booking his place in the £50,000 final was Andy Power. The Thatcher Preston Innovation backed youngster from Wells was drawn on Cary peg 105. Andy fished a tidy match fishing pole and meat at various lengths to catch carp steadily throughout the five hours giving him a final weight of 158-00-00. There was plenty of nail biting towards the end of the match with Viaduct's Ray Hayward last to be weighed in from corner peg 132. In the end it was Andy Power that kept his nose in front with Ray falling one fish short with 155-15-00!
After the match, Andy commented: "There was a top class field competing and I felt I had to go all out for it if I wanted to win, and thankfully, it paid off. It hasn't quite sunk in that I'm going to be fishing a match where the winner will get at least £50,000, but it's always great to be in with a chance of winning such a prize."
Next to earn a place in the main final was Middy rod Graham Dack who drew well on favoured corner peg 33 on Dean's pool at Woodland’s View. Graham enjoyed a great practice session on the Friday before so was well prepared for match day. Fishing the long pole down the inside, Graham was into carp early on feeding fishery pellet and using fishery pellet on the hook. Graham also caught short at just 6m, again using fishery pellet, with fish averaging between 6-7lbs. Graham finished the match with 148-04-00.
Moorlands Farm, Worcestershire, played host to the next Maver ‘Match This’ qualifier event on 14th May. Fifty eight anglers attended, but with a strong North Westerly wind blowing hard across the lakes fishing proved very difficult for many of the competing anglers. Winner on the day was venue regular Lee Richards. Lee drew well on peg 55 on Meadow Lake fishing pellet feeder to take carp up to 6lbs. Later on Lee shallowed up and fished pellet up in the water to take a good number of carp averaging between 4-5lbs, ocassionally switching to sweetcorn both at 5m and down the inside catching fish right up until the end to put a match winning 109-01-00 on the scales - 23lbs ahead of the rest of the field.
Stewart Lister (Spro) was next to qualify from White Acres on 21st May. Stewart fished a method feeder with micro pellets using a 6mm pellet on the hook to take 144-00-00 from peg 5 on the Twin Oaks lake. Stewart took mainly carp averaging 3-8lbs with some large F1's and good quality skimmers also showing.
Fifty-four anglers attended a wet and windy Willinghurst Fishery on 28th May. Winner on the day, and booking his place in the Maver "Match This" Grand final was John Taylor (Colmic Apollo). Fishing from peg 5 on Cherry Tree lake, John fished both feeder and the pole alternating between corn and meat hookbaits to take twenty two carp for a match-winning 86-00-00.
The largest attendance of the competition so far turned out for the Saturday morning draw at Maver Larford on 4th June with 90 top class anglers from across the country all trying to secure their place in the minimum £50,000 final on August 20th.
Conditions on the day were far from ideal with a stiff NW wind lashing both the match and specimen lakes and periods of heavy rain later in the day lowered the ambient temperature. The fish had also started to spawn on both lakes making things very difficult with the resident carp being slow to move on to angler's baits.
Winner on the day, and securing his place in the main final, was Paul Tommy Hiller (Daiwa Dorking) from peg 54 on the Match lake with 110-07-00. Paul fished down the inside and short on the deck at 5 metres alternating between dead red maggot and worm hookbaits over the top of groundbait and casters. Paul had mainly carp and F1's ranging between 2-4lbs, with better fish reaching 8lbs.
Most recently, the second qualifier event at Stafford Moor was fished by forty-four anglers all hoping to secure their place in the main final event on August 20th. Winner on the day was Summerland’s Tackle rod Paul Morris. Paul opted for the shallow waggler fished long down the inside to take twenty-four carp up to 8lbs on pellet. Paul had to vary the depth of his rig throughout the day and continuously fed 8mm pellets (9 pints in total) to keep the fish coming to the net.
Second place went to Fishing Republic's James Stones after Harry Billing's 124-05-00 was discounted due to both skimmers and carp being found in all three of his nets at the weigh in. James fished pole and 8mm pellet down the margins from peg 25 on Tanner's to take sixteen carp to 9lbs for a total of 77-15-00.
Second place qualifiers who get to fish the £5,000 Runner Up competition on the same day as the grand final include Geraint Powell, John Kelly, Danny Grimsey, Pete Richmond, Ray Hayward, Ben Leach, Richie Hull, Jon Arthur, Darren Cox, Eddie Green, Mark Stainsby & James Stones .