Qualifying for Maver Match This Final – Jon Whincup


Bait-Tech’s Jon Whincup qualified for the Maver Match This Final from Larford Lakes last year – Unfortunately the final didn’t go to plan and he didn’t draw very well but it lit the fire for Jon who has been on a mission to get back to the final. Until this weekend at Larford Lakes these qualifiers had all but passed without event…

After a few attempts to date it was time for the Maver Match This Qualifier at Larford Lakes. After qualifying on larfordimage1 lakes last year I didn’t need to think twice about attending this qualifier. The usual pre match talk as with most big match qualifiers was that you wanted an end peg or a bit of room on both the speci and match lake. I was secretly hoping for a speci draw as that was where I won from last year with some right units for 150lb.It wasn’t to be though as I drew 64 match lake an end peg but I thought the wrong end. After a quick chat to a couple of anglers in the know my enthusiasm was soon lifted as they seemed to think that there would be a lot of fish there. Walking down to the lake thinking I was in the corner with a big reed bed to my right, I was stopped in my tracks as I wasn’t there at all I was 2 pegs in on a peg with no platform in the water and only being allowed to go to the next platform this gave me 6m to my right, not ideal. I eventually got sorted and the only place I could actually set up was on the grass bank nearly 2m back from the platform and with the ruins of the old platform in the water I thought I could be in trouble when I hooked a fish I was slightly to the right of it though so I thought it should be ok! Funnily enough this would actually work in my favour sitting quite a bit higher than the original platform.

Set up was pretty standard for Larford – a 10ft fxt feeder rod for bomb or method over 8mm fishery pellets. Rig one: Fp 700 .4 for short and long being the same depth. Rig two: FO2 .3 for shallow. Rig three: Fp700 .2 for edge and finally an FO6 on a full top kit for dobbing.

For my edge line I couldn’t decide what to feed as I wanted to have an early look down there being an end peg. I finally decided on mixing up some Bait-Tech Karma groundbait and also soaked some 2mm pellets to add to my dead maggots and worm hook baits. The start of the match soon came round and I kicked off by cupping a few 2mm pellets and dead maggot’s down the edge fed some 8mm on my bomb/feeder line and then tapped a few 4mm on my short line with an 6mm Bait-Tech Xpand on the hook. I didn’t have to wait long for a bite on this line about 15 seconds in and I soon had a 2lb carp in the net.3 more fish followed including a 9lber and a 7lber and after 20 minutes I had 20lb in the net. All the while fishing short I had been pinging 6mm pellets on my long line and after half an hour it was time to try it. I did have an early look down the edge first for no bites so I went on the shallow rig but after 15 minutes it just didn’t feel right. I eventually caught one about 2lb but all the while there seemed to be more and more cruisers about – some big fish as well! I had tried to mug an odd one on my shallow rig but they weren’t having that. Time for the proper dobbing rig.

I spent what seemed like ages chasing a few shadows about when I eventually mugged one of about 6lb,a couple more followed in the next 30 minutes but I felt like something just wasn’t right so I switched back to my shallow rig. I had another 2lber on this and lost a big fish that I flicked the rig in front of but I really felt like I wasn’t making the most of the peg.I came to the conclusion that it was an out and out dobbing peg and I had to just concentrate on that and make it work. The next two hours were exciting but frustrating as I chased fish all over the peg some would take it and spit it out some would look at it and spook away and others would just have it properly! A really exciting method to fish and unlike no other as you can see the fish you were trying to catch.

Three and a half hours into the match and with 80lb in the net it was at this point I started to think that this was my ‘chance’. We all talk about in these big qualifiers how you just want a chance whether you fish 2 or 20 qualifiers you just want that one match where you can say that was my chance and if you mess it up or things don’t go your way then so be it. Anyway like I say I was just starting to think that this was my chance when the heavens opened big time, that was the end of any dobbing fish aargh!!! All the while dobbing I had been feeding my short line with 6mm pellets and my edge line with groundbait and 2mm pellets and I was now forced to try one of these. As I had caught on my short line earlier I thought I might have a chance of an odd fish there but I wasn’t prepared for how good it would be. I caught 2 good carp on 6mm xpand pellets then missed a couple, so I changed my hook for one with a band for hard pellet and never looked back. I reckon I had a good 50lb in an hour including losing a 10lber at the net which cheered me up no end. With approx 130lb in the net with half an hour to go the fish suddenly deserted me I tried the edge line a few times for no bites and back on my short line but they just seemed to have vanished. I was just about to finish the match having not had a fish for 30 minutes when the float buried last drop in and I netted a 10lber a minute or so after the whistle, could that fish be crucial!!? After match talk was already that I might have won it with 100lb sounding best on the Speci Lake and my lake not having many big weights and it was soon confirmed that 106lb had won speci with me being well clear of 2nd on match lake, Ian Didcote took that place from a peg nearly opposite me with 112lb mostly down the edge in the last hour.

So it was a bit of de ja vu qualifying from Larford again with another 150lb weight, happy days and another go at the final. Speaking of the final since qualifying it has been announced that the final venue has been changed from Larford to Hayfield Lakes, a decision that has left a lot of people disgruntled personally it makes no odds to me it’s still the final fishing for a ridiculous amount of money 65k or more who knows one thing is for sure I’ll be giving it my all again just like last year but hoping for a better result – I’m in it to win it!

Jon Whincup


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.