Up to the challenge
Tue 12 May 15
The UKMA team contacted our good friend Lee Thornton after he qualified for the Mega Match This Final, and asked him if he could put together a mini feature, talking us through the tactics that put him in the final. Read on as Lee talks you through his preparation for the event and the tactics that did the business on the day.
Up For the challenge with Lee Thornton
Event: Maver Match This Qualifier
Anglers Name: Lee Thornton
Sponsor : Middy, Bag Em Baits
Venue: Partridge Lakes, Spey
Peg drawn: 6
Tackle/Bait: Maggots/Pellets, 1 pint of Bag em Micros, 5 Pints of red and white, handful of 4mm of Bag’em XP Expandas
Pole: Middy NanoCore XZ65-2
Elastic: Middy 6-10 Hollow
Mainline: Middy Lo-Viz 0.14
Hook lengths: Middy Lo-Viz 0.12
Hook pattern: Middy 63-13 size 16s, 18s for Track
Floats: Malman Bennys Mk 2 4×14 for edge and across, 4×16 for the track.
The session really started for me on the Wednesday before the qualifier, I had been invited to fish the war of the roses match and although in reality the event was a bit of a non-starter for me, as I drew a peg that wasn’t capable of winning, it did allow me to get a feel for the venue and what the fish were feeding on.
The previous few weeks had seen the water temperatures rise and worm and caster becoming the prevalent bait on the venue, however this week had seen the temperatures drop and also heavy rain showers that lead me to believe that maggots and pellets would be more effective.
The draw put me on Spey 6 which to be honest, although I don’t really know the lake, I was happy with and felt there was a chance of framing.
Every Fishomania or Match This I have ever fished or watched at the venue, the Covey lakes tend to drop off from normal form with the lesser used lakes becoming the more favoured draws.
My peg, although it wasn’t an end, or had any extra space put me in an area that would allow me to compete which is really the holy grail in these matches as many pegs do not allow that.
Taking into account the Wednesday session, I decided to ignore worms and casters and utilise pellets and maggots, the match went really simply for the first hour and forty minutes as at this point I had caught 40lbs by simply fishing pellets up the far shelf in 2ft of water. Feeding a small pot of micros every put in I was waiting between 30 seconds and 2 minutes for a bite, however this quickly changed and I was forced to begin exploring my other lines.
Down the middle where I had fed maggots by hand from the off caught me some fish but I didn’t feel it was fast enough to give me a winning weight, after trying this line I quickly discarded it.
Down the edge where I had fed small balls of micros from the off by hand was worth one to two fish before I would have to come off and try somewhere else,
I also gave my pellet line one last try after a rest and this only produced line bites and no proper indications.
It is these scenarios that make or break a match and it is important to weigh up all your options and make a decisive decision and then see it through to the end without distraction as modern day match fishing is very close and does not reward anglers trying to do too many things.
I made the decision to firstly put a big pot of maggots across, put my largest kinder pot on my across rig and completely change the way I was feeding this area of my peg from negatively to quite aggressively.
I also took the decision to feed a second pellet margin line, this allowed me to feed across regularly with decent amount of maggots whilst nicking the odd fish from either side of me on pellets.
I fished in this manner for the next 2 hours which allowed me to rest the far bank, catch a couple short, go across and catch a couple and then repeat, however it began to become noticeable that each time I rested across it was slightly stronger next rotation.
It built to the point that with 40 minutes to go it was no longer necessary to come off the line and I managed to put a really strong late surge together easily catching 45 pound in that last 45 minutes.
The result was 127lb 14oz which I was very lucky to push James Dent into second by 2oz putting me into the final by the narrowest of margins.
I was obviously extremely pleased with the result and pleased with my decision making during the match, however I do believe I would catch more if I sat down again as I wasn’t on the best method from the start of the match.
Really looking forward to the final now and will be putting some work in to make sure I am 100% ready if I draw a peg capable of winning.
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