White Acres Bait-Tech Festival – Dean Barlow

After having a year off from the festivals down in Cornwall, once again I was on the way down there with my family and my beautiful little daughter for her first fishing trip!!!

I knew my first day would be at the prolific Bolingay Lakes where big weights of carp are very common on every festival. So with a big smile on my face I put my hand in the drawbag and out came peg 1…. not what I wanted to say I was disappointed was an understatement!!!

I got to my peg the wind and rain was howling into my face. As I sat down I remembered I was on holiday so with a different attitude I decided to fish 3 lines, one at 6 joints of my Acolyte in front of me, a line at 14.5m and a long margin swim.

I decide to take it easy bait wise so on the whistle I cupped in a slopoy ball of Special G Gold with a few dead maggots in on the 14.5m line hoping to catch some F1s. The margin I would leave as long as possible hoping a few fish would settle there later. So I put 4 bits of NTice Polony Meat and natural corn in my pot shipped out with a piece of corn on the hook and waited…. after a minute the float shot under and a big F1 was in the bag a good start!!

6 F1s and 4 carp were caught off this line in the first hour and half, a change to my groundbait line was rewarded with 7 F1s a 12lb mirror and a 8lb common all on 3 dead red maggots on 0.138 double strength and a 16 B911. A look in the margin got me 3 decent carp and 3 smaller ones all on corn to end up with 97lb, a section win and a big smile!!!

Day 2 saw me on Pollawyn Lake, I pulled out peg 27 on the famous high bank which is an absolute flyer so started my day on bomb and bread which got me 2 quick carp. I’d been feeding a few bits of NTice Polony on the waggler line so when the bites dried up on the bomb I picked up the waggler which was set up with a 4gram glow tip waggler 0.16 hooklength and a 16 carp match hook with a push stop to hold the 8mm piece of meat. I had a bite a chuck on it at the start from big roach and bigger hybrids but no carp so a change of plan was needed, so I cut the feeding out completely and the silverfish disappeared and a carp was soon in the net!!

I steadily picked up the odd carp for the rest of the day to finish with 109lb which was 87lb of carp and 22lb of silvers for another section win and second on the lake and a bigger smile!!!

Day 3 arrived and I drew peg 15 on Jenny’s Lake which I quiet fancied but I knew it would be difficult to beat peg 16 which is on a point and generally holds the resident big carp. Stating on the feeder I was bite less for 30 minutes while Bristol ace Alan Orram on peg 16 was catching some skimmers and odd big carp at 13m. So I decided to go on my long line at 16m which id been feeding with casters and corn, first cast my AS1 float buried and a about 3m of my yellow bungie elastic ripped out and a 3lb carp was hooked and landed and I was off the mark!! By this time Alan had 3 carp about 7lb a piece and a few more skimmers so I was playing catch up all day. I kept the bait going in through a small pot all day picking up small carp and silvers at 16m putting the Acolyte through its paces to finish up with 43lb of carp and 37lb of silvers and a 80lb total. Alan put in a good performance and weighed 89lb for the section win and I finished 2nd.

Thursday’s draw could have seen me on either Twin Oaks or Trelawney, I pulled out peg 28 on twin oaks which I was quiet happy with, peg 24 has been the form peg of the week and my good mate and reigning Bait-Tech champ James ‘Mr Chips’ Hawkins had drawn it so we were up against it from the start.

My plan was to start on bomb and bread, feed a 5m line with NTice Polony and both margins with the same bait. The match started very slowly for everyone, I kept catching the odd carp on the bomb but they were surprisingly small while James was catching the odd carp but was twice the size!! I kept rotating my lines picking up the odd fish then with 35 minutes to go my 5m line came alive with big f1s, catching one every put in on meat until the end of the match. The scales came and James weighed 109lb of decent carp and f1s, I put 75lb on the scales for another second, to be fair I was quiet happy with as I must have had at least half my weight in that last half hour!!!.

The final day came and Porth Reservoir was our home for the day and out the bag came peg 74, I was a bit dubious about the draw as it was the last day of the festival quiet a few people will sit it out for bream on the feeder and my section had 5 anglers doing just that. I decided to fish the pole for anything that comes along. My plan was to feed finely chopped worms and casters in a quiet wet mix of Special G Gold and Special G Green. The first hour was quiet good with a decent Hybrid and a good Perch and a few bits in the net but then word came down that the end peg had caught 3 skimmers and a 5lb bream on feeder and corn!

I plodded on for a while just picking up the odd fish until the last hour when I found out I needed a big fish to win the section so the last hour I was sat with a big worm on the hook looking for that big bream, the float did go under twice but on both occasions it was a tiny perch!! The scales came along and the end peg weighed 10lb my fish weighed 6lb for another second in section giving me a total of 26 points dropping a second in section, hopefully a top 10 finish.

At the presentation we were told that even though the festival wasn’t sold out, Parkdean would still pay out the full prize money, so a big thanks must go to them for their generosity.

I finished 7th which I was really pleased about and thinking back I don’t think I could have got another point to lift me further up the top 10.

I really enjoyed the week away with my young family and cant wait for the next time.

Tight lines, Dean Barlow


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