Milo Weekend – Andy Neal

Milo Day weekend is always a great affair. They put on a fabulous show with all their customers and friends coming together from all over Europe. Some familiar faces along with plenty of new ones, its great so see everyone enjoying themselves and it really feels like a celebration of fishing.

Milo distributes Bait-Tech products in Italy and with that always dedicates the first of 3 days of competition to The Bait-Tech Trophy. This is on a separate venue to the official Milo Day and an individual competition rather than the teams of three we fish in the other competition.

My weekend started early on Thursday and a 2am leave time to get to Steve Gardener’s House and onto a plane headed for Milan. On arrival we headed for Milo HQ before being whisked off to a lovely set of lakes to do a bit of filming and feeder fishing. It’s always interesting fishing over there as the venues are much deeper than ours and with that a lot clearer. We focused our filming around method and pellet feeder and with that the bait needed for the job. I tried to explain the importance of breakdown times and binding qualities, something that a lot of us pay little thought to when chucking into a couple of feet of water. Faced with a minimum of 10 feet the game changes a little.

Carp & Coarse Pellets, Krill Pellets and Sticky Method Pellets were all on the agenda and with each having different binding qualities and flavour profiles we looked at mixing the three to achieve the idea mix of pellet. I settled on a 70/30 mix of Carp and Coarse to Krill Pellets as the Krill micros, when softened really do bind well. of course, having super high quality ingredient list also massively aids attraction and adds a fleck of colour to the blend.

Wrapped around our methods and pellet feeders and with the ‘ole faithful’ Juice Wafter on the hair we were soon clattering fish. It’s a strange style of fishing as one minute the peg is solid with fish attacking the feeder and hoovering up the bait. Then, hook a few and in the clear water they back off to leave you with motionless tips. Move slightly and you are off and running again. Felt like winter fishing with aggressively feeding fish… quite odd.

Anyways we wrapped up the shoot after an arm aching few hours and headed back to sort our borrowed fishing kit out for the days ahead. You never really know what to expect so we take rigs and hooks with us and then luckily borrow the rest.

Up early and off to the Bait-Tech Trophy at a park lake, northern Milan. Pegging was a little tight… slight understatement but this is the way these events are fished. You simply have to put up with it and in all honesty, their fishing is as much about the social side as it is the fishing itself. Something we could all learn from I feel.

I drew next to Milo, typical! You don’t want him next to you as he’s a bit good, especially when the game you are playing is a foreign one to you. We plumbed up and as normal it dropped off very quickly and at our maximum 13m limit we had over 5m of water with it still dropping. Fishing on a steep slope isn’t ideal so I went with a very accurate feeding plan of tapping bits of bait in to just try and nick one fish at a time.

Starting short we were all into fish as the usual mad early feeding spell kicked off. I stayed short for quite some time and caught really well flicking a few 6mm pellets at my float and lowering a 6mm Xpand in amongst it. All around me started launching bait at it which thankfully ruined their swims and helped me carry on catching. It wasn’t long before the swim died and we had to go long. This is where it gets hard as everyone pushed out to their limit and the fish back off.
Had some great laughs with Milo who mostly called me Stronso all day (piece of s##t!) after giving him a bit of a tuning… had to apologise to the French chap to my left when I pulled out of a foul hooker and clocked him straight in the mush with my top kit. I did mention the pegging was cosy… luckily he saw the funny side as he was bigger than me!
We all limped to the end and as the scales came round I found myself weighing 30kg for 2nd in the section and bank. End peg won with 47kg and when pegged like that the end pegs always win so most of the time you are fishing for 2nd anyway. There were a couple of weights approaching 50kg so great fishing and a great event.

An hour drive north and Lago Tensi was to be home for two days. I’ve fished this before on this event so had an idea of what to expect. This bad boy is even deeper than the first place so you definitely need your thinking caps on when trying to tap a few pellets in 6m of water.

A lot of the Italians fished sticky mag and corn but it they would be fishing long lines and fishing past their feed. We caught enough under the pole tip to have us thinking this was the way forward. Saturday is a practice match when the team of 3, me, Stevie G and Brad Titmus would sit in a line and fish as a group. The total weight of all three would count for the results. An interesting match where we spent most of it trying different ideas, all and none seemed to work which confused us even more. out ‘box’ was an end which meant we should in reality win. well, we got a spanking from the brilliant Alex Rouveure and his team who put 20kg on our weights all caught on 4mm Xpands… they were then beaten again by the other end peg box meaning we were relegated to 3rd.. bad times!

The following day was Milo day official and this would be a team of 3 event, each one of us on a different lake. Steve drew lake one where we had been the day previous, me, lake 2 and Bradders on the bagging mecca lake 3. With 150 fishing it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew from previous matches there lake 2 was hard so a gritty match would suit me. We would need good points to secure a result and having won this event previously we all wanted a maximum 3 points. This was however a very tall order in the company we were in.

My match was a difficult one. I intended to fish a nice steady, reserved pellet match as I was sure I could trick enough to get me the section win. Tapping pellets and fishing accurately was the plan and it worked as half way through I was winning the section by simply feeding a small ball of overwet Max Feeder rolled in 4mm pellets with an expander on the hook. We were all fishing at 13m by this point and this is where the wheels fell off. The chap to my right who was really struggling decided to pick his catapult up and ping a pouchful of pellets… then another… then another… he didn’t stop until the whistle went and this killed my 13m line and left me biteless. I was out on the hero rig (6m deep swing rig ) past my feed and by gently pinging an odd grain of corn I did manage 4 bites. Unfortunately this rig is fished well over depth and meat these were all foul hooked and lost on the way in. the Italians are brilliant at this as they do it a lot. Really interesting to see and watch.

I ended up with 10kg which was double what they had for 7 pegs to my right and 4 to my left. Unfortunately there were 2 x 12kg weights further down the section meaning my 3rd was a bit of a disaster. Steve won his (standard) and Bradders fished a blinder to come 2nds behind a huge end peg weight. Although disappointed this is the way it is. As mentioned before you play the anglers as much as the fishing and it’s a huge game of tactics when in situations like that.

This meant we were joint 6th out of the 50 teams fishing relegated to 9th on weight countback. Italy team Longobardy managed top 4 so you could see we had definitely missed a trick dismissing their tactics of feed and swing past it. The famous Claudio winning the match outright with over 50kg. A huge well done to all who took part, the results were cheered and everyone had a smile, even in the rain. Just goes to show how wrong we do it some times… when was the last time you heard a big cheer when the results were called out?

The food, the company and the fishing, all brilliant! I can’t thank Milo, his family and his staff enough. A truly epic trip, roll on next year!

Andy Neal 

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