A match that’s been dubbed ‘the best contest of 2016 so far’ produced almost 3,000lb of fish.
At a time of year when 100lb would win most matches, incredibly, this was only good enough for 15th place during the event at Somerset’s Viaduct Fisheries as the top 20 anglers shared a colossal 2,700lb of carp and silvers.
Winner Craig Edmunds felt the favourable conditions would lead to a few bites, but was left shocked when he ended the session with an arm-aching 303lb 14oz.
Drawn peg 94 on Cary Lake, the venue regular kept a bend in his rod from start to finish.
“It was a peg that hasn’t had much form of late, but I just had a feeling it was going to produce a few fish,” he said.
“By rotating different tactics the bites never stopped, with my biggest carp weighing in at around 17lb. The fact that I wasn’t in a particularly noted area just goes to show that the winter shoals have broken up and you now stand a chance of catching a huge match or pleasure weight from virtually any peg.”
Second-placed Myles Levy was just one fish off the winning pace and finished on 299lb 11oz from peg 114 on Campbell Lake.
He is confident the event marks the start of a prolific season on commercials.
“There were fish being caught all over the place and the best bit is that the fishing is going to get even better in the coming weeks,” he said.
“If you’ve not been out fishing for a long while, now is the time to dust off your tackle as the weather is improving rapidly. You’ve a great chance of catching a lot of fish.”
To prove it wasn’t a fluke, the complex reached similar heights just days later when the top 15 bagged over 1,800lb as Craig again topped the pile with 299lb.
Sport at dozens of other venues also hit top gear, with the three-day festival at Staffordshire’s Heronbrook Fisheries proving a major hit.
Local rod Ash Davies took the title in a tournament that saw a talented field share over 6,500lb between them.
And Sherwood Forest Fishery, Notts, produced its biggest haul of the year. Craig Brazier took the honours, with 162lb 1oz of carp from the silverfish-dominated Sherwood Lake.