SHEFFIELD ace Nick Speed lifted the Golden Rod Angling Champs trophy in a tough final at Larford Lakes – and was also crowned Lindholme Lakes Winter League champion, despite not fishing the final round.
A fixture clash saw the Shimano/Dynamite Baits/Willy Worms angler count the Lindholme match as his dropped score, but results went his way, and he added £700 to the £10,000 he picked up from the weekend’s action at Larford.
Fellow Sheffield rod Tom Scholey ran him close on three points to take £6,000, Jon Wake completing the top three and winning £4,000. Here’s Nick’s story...
“At Larford, I drew peg 9 on the Specimen Lake, and knew that skimmers alone wouldn’t do me any good – I’d need a carp or two. My plan was to fish long for skimmers and then aim for a few carp in the margins later on.
“For the first three hours I fished at 50m, and had maybe 7lb of skimmers. But most bites came out of the blue, so a carp was going to be important! With two hours to go, I began priming my margin line with a big bait-up feeder full of micro pellets, a few bits of corn and black and green Swim Stim groundbait. Still using a Hybrid feeder and a 7mm yellow Washter, I got a bite from a carp getting on for 20lb!
“Twenty minutes later I had another, but this one only went 3lb. The angler two pegs down from me had landed two margin carp in two casts, so I felt I needed another. I kept the bait-up feeder going in, and with five minutes to go the tip went round and I hooked a huge fish of 26lb 11oz that sealed the section for me. I ended up on 59lb – a tricky peg well negotiated!
“Although I drew a peg one off the end, 31 on the burr bank of the Match Lake, I felt that, realistically, I was fishing for third in the section. The two end pegs had been dominant, and I reckoned that two or three points overall would win.
“Tactics were similar to the day before, Hybrid feeder and Washters, but with high pressure and a big frost overnight, I didn’t bother fishing into the deep water, instead putting all my faith in the shallower parts of the swim. That meant lines at 8m, 5m and in the margins a few feet off the bank.
“Halfway through the match, I’d caught three 6lb carp from the 8m line. Moving back to the 5m line got me another five fish, then it was time for the margins again.
“I fished into slightly deeper water in the edge. Water levels were still high, so I was fishing on the grass bank where you’d normally be sat at summer levels. Rather than underarm the feeder up to the edge of the water, I dropped mine in 5ft away into slightly deeper water, baiting up with the same micro, corn and groundbait mix.
“Half-an-hour was left when I got a fish of around 6lb and another next chuck, but that was it. I wound in thinking that I hadn’t quite done enough to win the section.”
The final reckoning
“With two section points in the bag, I was reasonably confident that I’d won overall. My only other rival was Tom Scholey on the Specimen Lake, where he’d caught plenty of big skimmers. He’d won his section the day before with a big weight, but everyone reckoned he’d get beaten by a couple of carp weights. As it turned out, his 38lb was second in the section, so I’d just about crawled over the line.
“To win is brilliant, because I was beginning to think the final was becoming a nemesis for me. I’ve been in two finals before and won the match on one day in each but was blown out on the other day, so was starting to think I’d never win it!
“To cap it all, I got the call to say I’d won the Lindholme Lakes Winter League for the third year in a row. The final round clashed with this final, so I counted the match as my dropper. Yes, I’ve had worse weekends!”