White Acres Milo Festival: So Close – Jon Whincup

Day One: Bolingey peg 42
I was quite happy drawing this peg as my mate had been on it the week before, with the whole arm fishing well, although it did seem to be better on the 2 ends, pegs 36 and 38.I decided to fish pellet on my short and long pole lines as meat just seemed to be ragged by silvers all day. Starting short to try to nick an early carp on the trusty fp 700 .4 float, I was soon attached to my first carp which decided to fall off at the net, quickly followed by a foul hooker which also came off, hmmm that’s annoying I thought. Little did I know how costly they would be.

I soon went onto my long pinging line catching mostly on the deck with an odd shallow fish,carp, carrasios and grassies came regular until about an hour and a half to go, when the fish starting to move closer. 4 or 5 short was followed by a blistering last 45 minutes down both edges on corn, including an 8lber landed after the whistle. Peg 38 was always going to win the section, with Steve Sanders sat on it, but 2nd was up for grabs. Steve weighed 190 odd but had nearer 230 after going over in 3 of his nets.

My 4 nets went 167lb which put me 3rd – 1 fish off 2nd, I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me.

Day Two: Pollawyn peg 17
I have been fortunate enough to draw the famous high bank a few times and every time there is only one method I want to fish: the waggler. It’s not quite standard pellet waggler fishing, as you tend to fish quite a long straight wag 4 to 6ft deep. On arriving at the bank there was a nasty right to left wind, but I actually thought this could play into my hands as strange as it sounds.

Chucking various sizes and types of waggler out before the start it was very clear that you couldn’t fish standard waggler tactics. I eventually settled on a 10g bodied type that would easily reach the desired spot, a float far larger than anyone else’s I could see.

The start of the match got the token 2 chucks tight over on the method to maybe nick a carp or not, so it was soon onto the waggler. The awkward wind made it impossible to leave the line on the surface and hopefully catch on the splash, so I was soon sinking the line and getting miles better presentation than those around me. It does feel wrong fishing the pellet waggler this way but it was definitely working as I was soon putting a good net of decent carp together.

With most people around me off the waggler now because of the wind I had it pretty much to myself. I actually had a very enjoyable busy day constant casting, line sinking, feeding and playing fish. It is actually my favourite style of fish but one I don’t get to do a lot.

By the end of the match I had amassed 141lb for a comfortable section and lake win with 80lb being 2nd on the lake.

Day Three: Twin Oaks peg 12
Another good draw as anyone that knows White Acres will tell you anywhere between 10 and 18 you have a good chance of your section and possibly the lake. I try to keep it simple on these pegs as it’s basically solid with fish and most methods work.

I started the match down the edge with a soft pot of Boosted luncheon meat, as this sometimes works here, and it didn’t let me down with an 8lber in the net within seconds of the match starting, quickly followed by a foul hooker that came off, and that was the end of that.

The angler on my right actually followed suit after the initial action but it was too late by then, chance gone. I then spent the next 45 minutes on the trusty 10ft fxt feeder rod chucking a method across for 2 big carp. All the while I was doing this I was pinging 6mm pellets at 13m to fish up or down, and throwing 6mm Boosted meat at 6m.

An hour in and I was on the pinging line, shallow to start with as I had seen quite a few fish, but with only 1 carp and 2 f1s I was soon on the deck and this was solid. It was actually too solid at times and I spent some frustrating spells foul hooking fish right on deck, I kept trying shallow to no avail, and I never really sussed it properly, I just had to plough through it.

I actually never came off this line till the end as I kept thinking you can’t catch quicker than this, and it paid off as I weighed 180lb for another section win and lake 2nd.

Day Four: Trewaters peg 31
This was the dodgy section with a choice of 4 lakes you could be on Acorn, Canal and 2 Trewaters lakes. I managed to avoid the tricky canal lake as it had been proper peggy, and I half fancied my peg for another decent day. Being only about 19m wide out came the fxt 9 footer with a little pellet feeder to start with and I had a decent little start with 9 or 10 small carp in the first hour before it went quiet.

Next port of call was the now standard long pinging line, that I had caught so many fish on through the week and It was solid again, 6mm pellet on the deck was bringing a fish most put ins, with an odd look shallow also producing an odd fish, but the deck was definitely better.

I never like to come off a line with feeding fish on it, so I stayed on it till about an hour to go when it went iffy. I dropped in on my short meat line and caught 2 f1s straight away and then nothing. It was about at this point I noticed the angler in the corner sacking down his long edge, so time to try mine, I had been feeding meat both sides since the start. It wasn’t solid but it was steady on my right hand line, with nothing on my left, why does that happen??

I stayed there till the end thinking I couldn’t have really done anymore. My weight of 109lb, although I did exceed the 60lb limit by 6lb in one net, was winning the section until the very last angler very nearly beat me with 105lb, phew that was a close shave with the overweigh.

Day Five: Porth peg 21
Going into the last day I never really had any thoughts of winning it with Des Shipp, Darren Cox and Paul Holland all on 4 section wins already, you couldn’t see all of them slipping up. I had 3 wins and a 3rd with a couple of anglers on 3 wins and a 2nd, so I would need to win my section and lots of other results go my way, impossible eh??

I was actually very pleased with my draw as there’s usually plenty of roach short to be had, with only an odd bream to worry about, so it meant I should be able to get my head down on the small fish and hope for the best.I give it a token half an hour on the pellet feeder to nick a lucky bream, I’m not that lucky, so I was soon on my short pinkie line that I had been prepping since the start.

I also fed a long skimmer line with Special G Gold and worms just in case, but I never actually tried it as my short line was good enough all day to not come off it. I ended the match with 230 fish for 170lb, another very enjoyable day and another section win. On the way back to my lodge my thoughts were of a top 5 finish with 4 wins and a 3rd and bumping into various people there was actually talk that I might have won it, with Des, Darren and Paul slipping up, surely not?

But come presentation time I had heard the 2 anglers on 3 wins and a 2nd had both won there sections with current ParkDean champ Jamie Wilde winning it and fellow Frenzee angler Rob Jones coming 2nd, so 3rd was mine and a great weeks fishing to boot catching over 600lb of fish. It wasn’t until I started thinking about it that I realised how close I had been to winning it.

Remember those first two fish right at the start of the week that I had lost, any one of those would’ve given me 2nd in the section instead of 3rd and I would’ve come out on top on weight aargh!!!!

Still like I’ve said before there’s a very fine line at this level and I would’ve snapped your hand off at the start of the week if I was told I would’ve been 3rd, and in any case it just makes me more hungry to win one of these festivals.

Tight lines
Jon Whincup



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