How I won the Feeder Masters Final 2016

Thu 10 November 16


One of many good friend of the UKMA team John Driscoll contacted us a month or so ago, to inform us of his victorious weekend at the 2016 Feeder Masters final sponsored by Preston Innovations, held on Saturday the 24th and Sunday the 25th of September at the demanding Bough Beech Reservoir, in Kent. After putting a dent in his £12,000 prize money celebrating his win, John has finally put pen to paper to talk us through his weekend and how he fished this prestigious event.

After qualifying on the very first event it seemed like a very long time until the final finally came around, I had never seen bough beech other than in pictures and getting info from people fishing the practice opens was harder than getting blood out of a stone. I decided to travel down on the Thursday morning setting off about 9.30am hopefully missing the rush hour traffic, and eventually arrived at my hotel in Tonbridge at 1.40pm so not too bad a trip. First thing after checking in was a visit to richard Taylors excellent Medway tackle for a bit of info and some bait for Fridays practice open.

After leaving the shop I drove to Bough Beech for a walk around as I knew some friends and others were on their practice match in the lead up to the final only the natural banking had been used but on Thursday when the official pegging was done the local anglers decided to put 30 pegs on the dam wall. This would be very interesting as not much food had been going in there in previous weeks. The people practicing were all catching a few fish so things were looking good and quite a few were admitting to a few bream but still very secretive.


Bough Beach


The Final day one

The big day dawned and we all assembled at the draw, there would be 2 sections of 15 anglers on both natural banks (boat house/one tree point) and 30 on the dam. If you drew the dam first day you drew a peg for the natural banks on the second day and vice versa. It was like a who’s who of feeder fishing most of the England team had qualified along with the likes Geoff Valance, Simon Wilsmore, Darren Davies, Michael Buckwalder so you would need to draw well and do the peg justice to win.

My turn came and I drew peg 19 on the dam section, what I haven’t mentioned yet was Fridays practice open on which I drew peg 14 on the dam and really struggled for about 2.5lb of small skimmers I wasn’t alone in struggling on Friday but there were a few little pockets of fish where a few bream and skimmers had been caught and 19 was right in the area so I was quietly confident of a few bites. Because it had fished so patchy on the Friday I set a target weight of 10-15lb and thought the dam would probably break some anglers chances of winning overall spent a good 20-25 minutes throwing a bomb around and eventually settled on a line at 54metres in about 30ft of water .

The match was started by ken crow who works for the reservoir owners he rowed out into the middle of the lake and started the match with a shotgun blast. I use a Garboilino 13ft distance rod purely for feeding the swim, with the method top fitted its capable of throwing a big loaded feeder a long way. So in went about 12 feeder full of caster, chopped worm a few grains of corn and Sonubaits 50-50 green and natural groundbait.

Eventually I started getting a few indications and started to catch a few skimmers up to 10oz but it was obvious as a lot thought that the dam was fishing hard. I carried on putting a few in the net and then had a great little burst in 3 successive casts I had a 4lb,er a 3lb,er and a 2lb,er,which considering what was being caught around me was a massive boost. About 20 minutes later I had another 4lb,er followed not long after by a bream of 6-7lb,which now started me thinking along the lines of a great 1st day especially with bank side info suggesting a lot of people were struggling.

Dam section day one

It turned out for me a very normal straight forward bream/skimmer match and other than losing a couple of skimmers to large pike went better than I could of imagined. The all out quickly came and when the scales arrived I think 15lb was the best from peg 30 downwards. I weighed in 35lb 9oz and was over the moon for 2 reasons. One I was in a brilliant position going into day 2 and secondly catching against some serious opposition.

Rig wise it was very simple 0.14 Silstar Match Team and a 14,s kamasan b560 with a 40grm Zippla feeder,010 guru braid to an 8lb Shimano Technium shock leader fished on the new Airity 12-13 feeder with a Diawa Castizm 25QD reel. My .chosen hookbait was mainly double worm with a couple of fish on dead reds. I ended up feeding about 2kilos of groundbait a kilo of dendrabenas and 2 pints of casters and a few grains of corn .


Bough Beach


Final day two

A lot of people were asking me if I was nervous but I can honestly say I had a great night’s sleep and never dwelt on the first day, my reasoning being that with all the angling stars fishing I wasn’t expected to win so there wasn’t any pressure on me at all. Today would see me on one of the natural banks, most would of wanted in front of the boathouse in the mid to late 30,s as these pegs had thrown up bream every day since Thursday.

It was my turn to draw and vie come out with peg 51 over on one tree point, this area has previous bream form but hadn’t produced much on day 1 with my section being won with 8lb.The way the chasing pack were positioned was also very interesting as my nearest challenger was going on the dam and it was very peggy. So with this in mind I set myself a target of 10lb and decided to just try and keep putting something in the net. After getting to my peg and setting up and throwing a bomb around I settled on one line at a similar distance again in around 30ft of water and identical terminal tackle rod and reel.

The all in was sounded and as yesterday I deposited 10-12 feeder full on the 54mt line and then settled down for the remaining 4hours 45 minutes started to get indications straight away, but as day 1 most bites even from bigger fish only moved the tip 10-15mm and today made it a bit harder to pick out little indications with a really strong right to left wind I was catching a few small fish but they were really small, only 2-3oz blade skimmers and others round me were very similar. I tried corn a few times and the biggest worms I had but nothing made a difference and I still caught 2-3oz skimmers so just put the blinkers on and got my head down on them.

Reports were coming in that most people were struggling but that a few anglers in a line on the boathouse pegs I mentioned earlier were now catching decent bream. This made me concentrate a bit more and get my head down again for more small skimmers and only 4 bonus skimmers of between 12-14oz.The all out came and the scales were soon with me as the weigh in for our bank started 6 pegs to my right, I thought I had between 6-7lb but was delighted when I put 9lb 12oz on the scales only 4oz off my target weight.

What was very good was the live Facebook feeds being done on the live weigh in and even the family were watching it live at home. People were congratulating me and saying well done but I didn’t celebrate as no official confirmation had been heard, so I shakily put my gear away and drove back round to the boathouse. When I got there as I walked up to it Mick vials the man behind Feedermasters walked up and shook my hand and gave me a feedermaster shirt to put on.

That when the realisation kicked in that I was the 1st ever Preston innovations feedmaster champion and had the bonus of a £12k cheque. I was over the moon to have won a prestigious competition of this size and with the quality and calibre of angler in the final was unreal. If you enjoy feeder fishing then give Feedermasters a go it’s a great competition ,well run and generously sponsored by Preston Innovations.

John Driscall


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