The return of matches was celebrated with the first of the year’s big-money events, Alex Dockerty winning the Golden Rod final at Larford Lakes.
The South Yorks rod bagged £5,000 after seeing off the 29 qualifiers competing and emerged as the only angler to record a perfect two section wins. Second was Andy Power and third George Parker.
The opening day delivered a section win from peg 13 on the Specimen Lake’s Burr Bank, as the Drennan/Dynamite Baits man took 38-11-0 of skimmers and one 15lb carp on Method and cage feeder.
Day 2 looked promising too, as peg 2 on the Match Lake came out of the bag, just one away from where Steve Ringer had plundered over 200lb the day before. Alex takes up the story...
At the peg
“Day 2 was totally different to Day 1. It was sunny, a lot warmer and the wind was light, but it was blowing up to my end. With Steve having caught 200lb off peg 1 the day before, I was in the right area but thought that Charlie Simpson on peg 1 would take some stopping. I planned to fish long to the other bank, short at 8m and in the margins.
“The 8m line was my first port of call, but after 30 minutes I’d caught just one F1 and a few skimmers on Method feeder and a 5mm Dynamite Baits F1 Wowser. Adam Wakelin on my right was catching by casting to the far bank, so it was time to do the same.
“Lake levels were well up, and if I’d cast to the edge of the water, I’d have been fishing in the grass on top of the bank! I aimed to land the feeder in what would be the normal margins of the lake and needed a 42g Hybrid feeder to reach the distance. I used a 6mm Robin Red hard pellet alongside micros and groundbait and after five or six casts I caught, having a run of eight carp to about 6lb and a few F1s. After 90 minutes, I reckoned I had 50lb, but Charlie next door said he’d got 100lb!”
Time for the margins
“Earlier than I’d have liked, I fed the margins using a big baiting feeder full of Dynamite Baits Green Swim Stim and Marine Halibut groundbait with just a few micros in it. I’d found groundbait to be much better than particles and put two feeders in to my left and four to my right. Fish began to move there, and underarming a Method feeder with double dead red maggot on the hook to a tree in the water, I picked off a dozen F1s.
“The sign I’d been waiting for happened with 90 minutes to go. My left-hand margin clouded up as big fish moved over the feed. For that final hour-and-a-half it was ridiculous fishing, catching 6lb-8lb carp every cast, plus one double.
“When my fish went 190lb I was totally amazed, but even then, I still thought Charlie would have more. It turned out that a lot of his fish were F1s and not carp, and he had 170lb, so I’d got the section, quite unexpectedly! I was also left as the only one with two points for the win.”