The festival season kicked off at White Acres with the Bait-Tech event, won by Guru ace Paul Holland with a perfect four section wins.
The Reading-based angler landed the £1,500 top prize ahead of Des Shipp by virtue of having a better dropped result; each angler discards their worst score of the week to give them a final tally.
Paul’s dropped second in section bettered the third of Des to see him finally win a festival after nine years of near misses. It left him rightly chuffed, the victory being a pay-off for time spent getting to know the intricacies of the Cornish complex.
“The win has been a long time in coming and you do need a good run of draws as certain sections can have terrible pegs but it’s not all down to luck as people like Des and Steve Ringer win their fair share,” Paul said. “You need to be ready to catch the carp when they decide to have a feed but also to get out of the mind set of fishing just for carp. Silverfish are so important and I’ve spent this winter fishing for F1s at Tunnel Barn Farm so I could get used to working pegs for the full five hours, getting the timing of changing lines right and keeping something going in the net. I’ve always had one day that’s let me down in the past so for it to all come good is brilliant.”
Day 1 saw Paul heading to Jenny’s Lake and peg 15 got his campaign off to a flier with a lake and section win with 142-3-0. That was made up of 10 big carp and around 50lb of roach and skimmers on meat fished short on the pole.
Day 2 saw him off to Trewaters and peg 31 where he picked off small carp on the bomb with bread and corn before finding some bigger carp on meat at 7m in the final few hours for 69-10-0 and another section win.
Bolingey Lake peg 17 halted his charge slightly on Wednesday as he took second in the section with 117-0-0 of carp on bomb fished to the several spots close to the island with bread on the hook.
He got back into contention with a section win from Pollawyn Lake peg 29 on Day 4, weighing in 71-4-0 of carp and skimmers plus around 7lb of roach. With 90 minutes to go in this match it was what Paul described as ‘do or die’ as he’d been feeding positively with 10mm cubes of meat on his bomb line. This gave him five carp and two F1s to just get him in the clear for the valuable six points.
“I fancied drawing peg 16 on the Twin Oaks Lake on Friday and got it. But the way the pegging was in this festival, pegs 15 and 17 were also in so there was less room, plus the far bank had been cleared so there were no holes in the reeds to fish the feeder into,” Paul explained.
“120lb had won the section the day before and I felt I could get this by fishing meat on the pole. It was a slow start on the bomb and I was falling behind, but a change to 13m with meat got me off the mark with some carp.
“All the time I was loosefeeding meat on the bomb line and I did catch four fish casting a meat feeder here but it was slow, although the final hour came really good for me with a run of carp on meat short.”
Paul had taken 146lb to win the section and lake, further swelling his coffers and confirming his long-awaited win.