The last big final of the winter descended on Meadowlands Fishery as the Angling Trust/Catch More Media Silverfish Final rolled into town. Fifty qualifiers battled it out across Warren and Lambsdown Lakes for the chance to win the £5,000 first prize.
And that money headed up north as Sheffield-based Steven Forster pinned his faith in an out-and-out pellet attack for the skimmers from peg 16 on Lambsdown Lake. It was a decision that paid off handsomely, with 57-12-0 in the net come weigh-in time, seeing him home by just under 4lb from Sam Collett’s 53-15-0.
Sam was on the more sheltered Warren Pool at peg 28, just a few swims away from Jon Arthur on peg 23, who completed the top three with 48-1-0, the two men earning £2,000 and £1,000 for their efforts. Here’s how Steven banked his £5,000 payday...
Banking on pellets
“I’d never even seen the place before, and knew nobody who fishes it, but with skimmers and bream the target I decided to fish just pellets, as the weather had warmed up. I also knew that if the fish wanted pellets, they’d be of a good stamp.
“Talk was of 50lb winning, so I had catching 10lb an hour in the back of my mind. If the skimmers are 1lb apiece, it doesn’t need many to get there. My peg was deep, a full top-4 of the pole at 12m and 6ft at 6m, so that’s where I put my two lines in, feeding a ball of micros at the start and then loosefeeding 4mm pellets over the top. The wind was strong, so I just hoped I’d be able to hold the pole still!”
Quickly On to the pole
“Once I’d fed the pole lines, I went out with a small cage feeder to allow the pole to settle. I did catch three small skimmers, but I could see anglers around me catching as soon as they changed to the pole. Dropping in on the 12m line, I had bites immediately from small skimmers, fishing a 4mm expander pellet just slightly overdepth on a 1g rig.
“It wasn’t easy to hold the pole, and I was looking forward to going on the short line, but for the next few hours the fishing long was steady – I caught skimmers averaging 8oz to 10oz with the odd one over 1lb. The trick was to hold the rig dead still, and I was lucky that a lot of the bites came after a few minutes – I didn’t have to hang on for long!”
Nothing short – but plenty long!
“Changing to the short pole, I expected the float to bury, but it never moved! I think the 0.6g float I was using was just too light, so I didn’t waste much time on a lost cause.
“Back out long and the skimmers kept coming, and in the last half-an-hour I had my best spell, netting several skimmers around 2lb.
“I felt I’d just dropped below that 10lb an hour target and had around 40lb, and I thought that someone, somewhere would have been able to present a rig perfectly and catch 50lb.
“I wasn’t confident, but it was a good job my guesswork was miles out, as I had 57lb, just enough to get me home in the end!