Just 5oz secures £25,000 payday for Andy Leathers in Parkdean Masters

Parkdeans Masters 2013
White Acres Holiday Park, Jenny’s Pool (24 pegs)

Browning Hot Rod Andy Leathers is the 2013 Parkdean Masters Champion - and £25,000 richer - after winning one of the closest finals in the event’s 14-year history, on the Jenny’s Lake at Cornwall's White Acres complex.

Andy hit the front of the highly-competitive, star-studded field, four-hour event with five carp in the first hour from peg 16 and continued to catch steadily throughout, including fish to double figures, fishing long pole and worm in his 20 carp haul and it was a lead he was to maintain right up to the all-out but it was a close run thing after a late challenge from Angling Times’ Ben Fisk on peg 8 who found Jenny’s F1 hybrids feeding shallow on pellet fished on the long pole.

Middy-backed Ben was the first of the two to weigh in, and after posting a brilliant 97-15-0, there were rumblings that he might just have pipped St Neots-based Andy for the crown. A big crowd had gathered with the news of Ben’s weight and after the first net total was announced, the nerves were jangling. The second weigh confirmed that Andy had won the match but only just me a mere narrow 5oz margin with 98-4-0 – the closest in the event’s history. However, it could have been a very different story had Andy not switched rigs half way through the match.

“The heavy ripple caused by the strong wind started to swamp my rig, so I jumped off my box, grabbed another top kit and set up a bigger rig with a more visible bristle,” Andy explained.

The change ensured he was able to present a big worm on the deck at 14m over chopped worm and caste feed, which he potted in after every two or three fish and Andy took all of his fish on this approach despite the odd look shallow with no joy.
Remarkably, Andy, a finalist in this year’s Fish O’Mania, only just secured his place in the final by the narrowest of margins, clinching the last qualifying place from the Preston Innovations Festival by a single point and a better aggregate weight over a number of anglers on the same 31 point total!

“I am absolutely over the moon. To win something like this is a feat I thought I would only ever dream of achieving,” Andy reflected. “It still hasn’t quite sunk in to be honest. I was the last to draw, and peg 16 - the favourite peg on Jenny’s - was left in the bag for me. I guess it was just my day!”

“I caught fishing a whole worm on the deck over regular feed of chopped worm and caster and managed to keep fish coming steadily throughout of the day but halfway through the match, I was told that I was in front, so I tried to keep the fish coming and keep the pressure on,” he continued. “I actually didn’t realise that Ben had caught as well as he had, so I was very relieved when I found out I had done enough I’d also like to say a big thank you to the sponsors, Parkdean, who make the event possible.”

Runner up Ben had an agonising wait to see if he had stolen the crown after an impressive display of shallow fishing on the long pole saw him make up for a slow first hour, which probably cost him first place. His shallow pellets tactics and high catch rate attracted a large crowd, who watched as at one point Ben bagged 19 F1s in just 30 minutes.

The weather played a big part in the match, as a stiff breeze pushed the bigger fish up the lake to the high-numbered pegs, where a number of big carp turned up early doors for Ed Warren, Lee Kerry and Matt Godfrey. The action was short lived, however, and the wind dropped and the bites slowed and it was worse for the anglers in the low-numbered pegs, as there was little action from big fish until the last hour when, by then, it had become a two-horse race. That last hour did see a big push from England young gun Matt, but time ran out and he had to be content with 77-5-0 for a third place.

Parkdean’s Regional Director, Stephen Griffiths, who presented the winner’s cheque and new Master's trophy, congratulated the winner: “A big congratulations to Andy. It has been one of the most exciting matches in the events 14-year history, and the closest finish to date. It really was a riveting match to watch.”

Result: 1 A Leathers, Browning Hot Rods, 98-4-0; 2 B Fisk, Middy, 97-15-0; 3 M Godfrey, Match Fishing Magazine, 77-5-0; 4 S Russell, Tackle UK, 62-4-0; 5 S Colclough, Maver Image, 57-3-0; 6 T Rowe, Preston Innovations Thatcher’s, 56-3-0; 7 N Machin, Garbolino/Bag ‘Em Baits, 50-12-0; 8 G Malham, Malman Floats, 48-3-0; 9 E Warren, Preston Innovations, 45-8-0; 10 A Nelson, Browning Quaker, 38-1-0; 11 L Kerry, Preston Innovations, 32-14-0; 12 D Shipp, Preston Innovations, 28-6-0; 13 R Wootton, Shimano/Dynamite Baits, 26-6-0; 14 M Holmes, Leeds, 24-14-0; 15 N Speed, Shimano/Dynamite Baits, 23-8-0; 16 J Dent, MAP/Bag ‘Em Baits, 21-13-0; 17 C Hughes, Sensas/Rive, 20-7-0; 18 S Ringer, Daiwa/Guru, 20-5-0; 19 R Hull, Garbolino, 18-14-0; 20 A Power, Preston Innovations Thatcher’s, 16-2-0; 21 H Billing, Team Mosella Garbolino, 15-0-0; 22 S Fry, Garbolino, 14-11-0; 23 S Conway, Lichfield, 13-8-0; 24 N McKinnon, Preston Innovations, 9-2-0.