Feeder Masters Final – Jamie Harrison

Jamie Harrison recently competed in the first ever Preston Innovations Feeder Masters Final at Bough Beech Reservoir in Kent – Here is his account of this Premier 2 Day Feeder Fishing Event where a massive £12,000 was up for grabs!


This event has proven to be as popular as expected and I made no secret to the fact that I’d made this one of my goals of 2016. Simply qualifying proved a massive task for many but the fact that I’d managed to do it on Bough Beech on my first had given me a taster for the venue going into the 2 day 60 angler final. The final was an accumulative weight event fished over 2 days and with this being a Bream venue it would prove that after the first day, it really is only half-time!

Day One

I was really charged up for the first day and having drawn peg 8 I was confident that there were a few fish in the area as this peg had easily won the section on the previous days open match. I was ready to fish a short line as well as the favoured longer line for Skimmers and Bream but just 30 minutes before the start of the match I decided to concentrate on the longer line for the whole match. A risky decision I know but I was confident that I’d get odd visits from fish on that line throughout the day and I wanted to make sure that I was on that line when they arrived. In hindsight it was the right decision but looking back I think I simply pushed the peg too hard. My chosen line was at 50m with the 3.6 Horizon and an Aquos 5000 reel loaded with 0.10 Submerge braid. I opted to feed 5 feeders full of Special G Green groundbait laced with chopped-worm and caster at the start and then go straight over the top. This worked a treat and I had 5 fish in the net in the first 25 minutes before anyone around me had even caught! Frustratingly however the peg began to slow over the next 30 minutes to a point where it had completely died with 2.5 hours to go. They never returned and it was only a change to a method feeder at 60m in the last 45 minutes which caught me 2 more small fish leaving me 2 in section with 8lb 15oz. However, the section was won at the next peg by venue favourite Brian Nesbitt who had fished an extremely steady match which fortunately gave me a brilliant insight into how he approaches this venue. Certainly a lesson learnt and one that already been detailed in my match diary!

My previous days result had left me in 17th position but with weights quite low I was quite confident of pullingcatch something out of the bag with a decent draw. I drew peg 36 which was right in the mix of where the top had been coming from. Admittedly I was 3-4 pegs off the ‘hot’ pegs but with a strong wind blowing creating plenty of ripple I was confident I’d catch if I found where the fish were. I’d been warned that this peg has 2 shelves which makes retrieving fish very difficult in certain conditions. Before the start I had a good cast around the swim to find where any obstacles where and to try and make a decision of what range to fish. With the ledges between 25-40m I decided to fish as far past them as possible into the deeper water which was easily 10m past those anglers next to me but it would also give me enough distance to get any hooked fish up and over the ledges. Whilst I set up a ‘Roach’ approach rod in the form of a 3.3m Legend Slim and Aquos 4000 for fishing close in I never hoped I’d have to resort to that. I’d also mixed up some Pro Natural Dark to use on that line and to be honest, I only set it up in case I was in mega trouble where I would ignore the overall standing and simply fish for the £100 section money!
The main line was at 60m and I set up 2 Horizon 4m rods kitted with 0.10 Submerge on Feeder 5500 reels. One was set up with a conventional feeder rig with a 50g Horizon feeder fitted with a cage coat. The other was set up with a 50g Method feeder.

I was the last person to catch in my section and whilst I managed to net 2 small Skimmers I then went on to lose a further 4 big fish on the ledges. To say I was frustrated was an understatement but what made it worse was that Gareth Lambert was catching Bream steadily on my left. During the next hour I tried several different feeders but as the wind had got stronger so extra weight on the feeder was making it even more difficult to get the fish up over the ledges. Another key factor was that you got far better bites on a 75-100cm tail which again interfered with the ledges on the retrieve. With 90 minutes to go I simply had to sacrifice trying to catch on the greatly favoured groundbait feeder and worm approach and try and make the Method work as that was the only rig I could get back intact. By adding an extra 10g to the fish to punch it into the wind to completely straighten the braid and by using a 50/50 mix of Special G Green groundbait with 2mm Carp & Coarse pellets I was able to make sure the feed was still intact when it hit the bottom in the 18 second deep swim. I fished an 8mm Bait-Tech Hi-Viz boilie on a bayonet and gradually managed to claw back to within 2 fish of Gareth. My 26lb managed to win the section and 2nd overall in the match behind Gareth who’d attacked it like he does so brilliantly and whilst I didn’t know at the time, my lost 7 fish would have easily won me the prestigious title and the £12,000 to boot BUT, had I lost one more fish, I wouldn’t have won a single penny so I need to be realistic.

The key to this match was switching to the Method feeder. Had I not done that I honestly believe my weight would have been half of what it was but the £1,600 winnings certainly made the 5 hour drive home more pleasant and it was not only a privilege to be part of it, but it was probably one of, if not the best organised final I’ve ever fished. I can’t wait for the new campaign again in 2017!

Tight Lines

Jamie Harrison

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