Day 1 of Drennan Knock Out!

Bait-Tech’s Gary Miller and Lee Kerry lock horns in the first of a 2 day final at Docklow Pools near Leominster. The Drennan Knock Out is a competition run by the team at Match fishing magazine and involves 100 of Britain’s Top anglers. Through the round stages the numbers dwindle as these top anglers battle it out against each other to make the highly prestigious final.

For the 4th year running Bait-Tech has representation in the final. 2008, Grant Albutt won the event, 2009 Ian Didcote was cruising only for Simon Fry to pip him at the post, 2010 the ever determined Ian Didcote once again made the final (the only man to be there twice) this time going one better and taking the crown. 2011 sees Bait-Tech master Gary Miller and Preston’s Lee Kerry doing battle to see who will lift the all-important £5,000 cheque and the rather large silver trophy.

A change in format saw the stock pond being used for the very first time in the event and anticipation was high as this lake is full of small F1s and carp. With pellets banned at the fishery it was  going to be a natural bait affair with maggots and casters being the main bait. Luncheon meat will also play a part as big weights have been taken on this in practice.

With the match about to get underway it was clear that both anglers had set up rigs to cover every depth from the bottom right up to just inches deep. What was noticeable was the lack of pole that both anglers had set up. This was clearly going to be a short distance affair and from what we were told, a fish race!!

The all in! both anglers are feeding very regularly, Gary with maggots at 6 sections and Lee with small cubes of meat at 4m. instantly Lee is off to a flyer as small F1 after F1 grace his net. Fishing with meat on the deck he very quickly amasses a 25 fish lead over Gary who started shallow. This sort of lead can be very hard to peg back considering the size of the fish and the class of the anglers. Will big fish make a difference?

Slowly Gary starts to catch on a mid-water rig. Lee is still catching and still fishing his 4m rig on the bottom with meat.

An hour in and Gary is now fish for fish with Lee, the name stock pond is certainly living up to its name as both anglers are catching fish every drop in. Lee still deep and Gary shallow.

2 hours in and Lee’s fish count is 119 to Gary with 91. What is noticeable now though is Gary seems to be getting a slightly larger stamp of fish than Lee. Also Lee’s fish are coming in fits and starts and its soon realised that this is due to the sun coming in and out. When the sun comes out the brightness seems to be pushing the fish down as when the cloud cover is present they want to come up in the water. This is playing havoc with his catch rate as he can’t seem to line any up shallow. Gary on the other hand has a slight bit of shade over his peg and has them lined up shallow, some are pulling the elastic out.

This is by no means over though as Lee still manages to keep his nose in front on fish count. An amazing display from 2 very talented anglers, after 4 hours theres nothing between them!

Moving into the last hour we are just starting to think Gary has his nose in-front because of fish size, both are still catching but Gary’s seem bigger. With a fish count of around 50-60 per hour each we really are splitting hairs on who is in-front. With 15 minutes left Lee starts to up his feed rate as he fears he is behind, this has a dramatic effect as the fish line up and he gets one as soon as the rig is settling. Will this be enough to pull back his suspected lacking?

The all out sounds and clearly both anglers look shattered. 5 hours of robotic concentration has taken its toll. This proved quite clearly how much this titles means to both anglers.

At the weigh in Lee is first to get his fish out. A massive bag of fish totalling 144.14lb and some 260odd fish.

Gary comes next and after a very tense weigh in the totals are added and 134.12lb is read out. What a performance from both anglers.

We knew things were close but as thought the poorer start by Gary had left him too much to do. The beauty of this is being so close it is all to play for tomorrow in day 2! Who will be crowned Drennan Knock Out Champ2011? Will Lee hold on to the slight lead or will Gary pull it back with another masterful performance? With a very different lake and methods tomorrow, only time will tell!

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