Garbolino Club Angler Of The Year Final 2016
Midlands Qualifier, Tunnel Barn Farm With 15 places in the prestigious Garbolino Club Angler Of The Year Final up for grabs, here’s how the competitors fared in the Midlands heat at Tunnel Barn Farm.
Some of the best anglers from the dub scene descended upon top Midlands commercial venue Tunnel Barn Farm, in Warwickshire, to compete for the 15 qualifying places in the Grand Final of the UK’s biggest club-angler event.
With a field cf 137 competitors — the top anglers in their respective dubs, which included one 12-year-old —the scene was set as they geared up to tackle the venue’s Top, Canal, High, New, Extension, Jennys, Club and House Pools for a place in the July final to be held Barston Lakes in the West Midlands.
The format for the match was simple. You had to finish as one of the top 15 anglers on weight, and with each of the eight pools being used for the event offering a different challenge, the qualifiers could come from anywhere, as the pegging offered plenty of options for everyone to get the best from their draw.
The draw took place at 9am, which gave competitors plenty of time to get sorted before the all-in, and after the anglers were appraised of the rules by Match Fishing’s Tom &holey, each was presented with a Garbolino cap by the company’s UK manager, Darren Cox.
It was already a warm, muggy day as the anglers headed off to their pegs, and the word was that many of the fish had yet to spawn, so adding this to the conditions the potential was there for the match to be more challenging, if the big weights that the venue was well known for were to be caught.
Once the competitors had arrived at their pegs and started to set up, the Garbolino team of Darren and Jason le Basque (headed off for a wander around the complex, and as they were both familiar with the venue they stopped off and chatted to the anglers to offer advice and answer any questions.
For most competitors it would be a day on the pole, as many had pegs that offered a reed-lined far-bank, islands, a deep-water open line and heavily featured margins, so it would be a case of working out which line and what baits to use to get the best out of the swim in the five hours.
The match started at 11.30, and since the draw the temperature had risen somewhat. It was now a completely different day to the cool and windy conditions of a few days earlier. Not every angler had to deal with the heat, as some of the pegs offered some shade in the trees, and they might be a better bet for a net of fish too.
Several anglers made a good start on House and High pools, catching small carp and F1s on a short line. Elsewhere it was a struggle, with just the odd fish showing on Canal and Top.
However, the sport picked up towards the midway point with all the lakes starting to produce, but competitors were finding that they had to keep switching from a long line to the open water if they wanted to keep a run of fish coming.
With two hours to go, news had filtered through from the Match Fishing team that John Berry (Peg 3) and Ian Boyd (Peg 5) on High Pool were catching well, as were Mike Pryor (Peg 25) and Ian Kent (Peg 27).
With so many pools hosting the event, it was always difficult to identify the anglers who were pulling away from the rest of the field, but Tom Farrell (Peg 17) and Jason Taylor (Peg 20) on Jennys were reported to be catching well, with bites on the lake generally being hard to come by. It was a similar picture on Canal, as it seemed that most of the fish were located in one section – pegs 17to23 – where Wilf Lazenby (Peg 18) and Dave Edwards (Peg 20) were enjoying the best of the fishing.
New Pool seemed to be the fairest of the lakes, with all the competitors catching well, especially Andy Benwell (Peg 31), who, after a slow start, had definitely pulled away from those around him was also catching, although the action was a little slow at times. He started to catch better after some rig advice from Darren Cox.
The action on Extension Pool had also picked up, but as with New Pool, the fish hadn’t shown in numbers throughout, the front runners identified by the Match Fishing team being Rob Kite (Peg 3), Jason Elwell (Peg 22) and Tony Wilson (Peg 25).
There were some low weights over on Club Pool, as most of the pegs were proving to be a hard nut to crack. However, both Mick Langton (Peg 15) and Ben Sutor (Peg 22) now had a lot of fish in front of them, and they were looking good for a reasonable weight.
Another of the pools that saw a slow start was Top, but the sport had picked up and with all the competitors reportedly catching well, it was difficult to spot which of the anglers had pulled clear of the rest of the lake. There were at least six catching really well, and the rest not too far behind on catch rate.
It had been a similar picture on House Pool, but four anglers had now pulled away – Gary Morris (Peg 1), Andy Amos (Peg 12), David Emlyn (Peg 22) and Andrew Wiffen (Peg 33).
It looked like being a key last 30 minutes, as one of two bonus fish could make all the difference. It wasn’t an easy match to call.
The all-out was called at 4.30pm, and the venue’s fisheries team quickly got to work with the weigh-in, and with eight pools to cover the scales were ferried around on buggies to ensure the results were sorted in quick time.
The lucky qualifiers for the Barston final would come from the top 15 weights from all the pools, with the top eight weights also receiving a brown envelope from the Superpool, and each of the 23 section winners (some by default), also picking up cash.
The overall winner on the day was Andy Benwell, who, after a slow start, found the fish feeding on his long-pole line to finish with 97-15-0 from Peg 31 on New Lake.
The Winner’s Story
Kidlington, Oxford-based Andy Benwell booked a fifth appearance In the Garbolino Club Angler final with his match -winning 9715-0, but with some of the fish in the pools at Tunnel Barn still thinking about spawning, it took some time before he worked out the best tactic.
“I started on banded pellets on my short line, but with only a few stock fish and small silvers to show after 30 minutes, I switched to the far bank, where I had been pinging 4mm pellets from the off,” he explained. “I only caught a few small F1s before the line died, so I returned to the 8m line where I had some better F1s for the next hour on casters.
“The bites on the short line were slow, so to try and up my catch rate I switched to a 14.5m line in the open water, where I was able to catch bigger F1s and carp to 6lb for the rest of the match on pellets fished five inches deep” he added. “I did try down the edge a few times, but the fish were reluctant to come into the margins, I think because it was too shallow”