Saturday, September 9th saw the final of the MAM (Match Anglers Matches) take place at Staffordshire’s Heronbrook Fisheries, an event organised and run by David Marshall and sponsored by Mosella UK.
Ninety anglers had made their way through a series of 16 qualifying rounds and were competing to win the £2,000 first prize, runners-up prizes of £1,000 for second place and £500 for third. Further to that ,every five-peg section would be worth £100. So it was all to play for.
This event has been well supported by some of the best anglers in the UK, and qualification was achieved by winning your five-peg section in one of the 16 qualifiers that were spread around the UK.
Despite the poor weather conditions on the day it turned out to be a fantastic event, with some equally impressive weights coming out around the venue’s many lakes, all of which were used for the MAM final. Matrix-backed Ben Townsend did enough to win on the day with an impressive 201lb from Peg 8 on Canal Pool. Here’s how he saw the day’s events unfold…
With a busy summer of matches I only booked on to one qualifier this year, which took place at the prolific Tunnel Barn Farm, but I had a good day and won the match, catching shallow with slop, to book my place in the final.
With Heronbrook being 140 miles away it’s not somewhere I’ve fished much; however, with the joys of social media I’d been keeping an eye on results, went with a rough plan of heavily feeding maggots on a top kit, caster shallow down the middle, hard pellets over, and the standard groundbait and maggot down the edge. I expected the latter to be a good line as it was a late-finishing match.
In all honesty I was hoping to fish my favourite bait – meat – but was told it hadn’t been working. I still cut a few tins up the night before, just in case!
Before the draw the talk was Meadow or Match were the lakes you’d want, Pegs 8 and 10 on Canal also got mentioned more than once, so I was delighted when Canal 8 stuck to my hand. A few people mentioned starting on pellets down the middle so I added this to my plan.
However, the plan didn’t wor and the first 20 minutes only saw two foul hooked, and lost, F1s. So I quickly reverted back to the original plan, reachong for my rig for fishing over, where I had two-and-a-half feet. Tapping in 4mm Spotted Fin Catalyst pellets and fishing a banded 6mm I was soon off the mark, catching F1s, but again foul hookers became a problem.
I considered fishing shallow over but as with lots of fisheries at the moment, after a long summer the far bank was very overgrown so I didn’t feel I’d be able to slap the rig, especially with the wind making things even more difficult. Feeling the fish were charging along the far bank, not really feeding, I made the decision to come back half a section into three feet. This was instantly better, I started to pick up carp as well, and was well and truly up and running.
The swim did present some issues, though; with reed beds both sides of the swim I was going through some hooklengths. Stepping up produced no bites so it was a case of just plodding along despite the fish in the peg seemingly knowing where every snag in the area was!
I’d found a lovely two feet at six sections down the right edge, so shortly after the halfway point it was time to start feeding this, and in went a big pot of groundbait, a mix of Spotted Fin Super Carp, Super Sweet and Milled Micros, plus some dead maggots.
While this settled I tried my caster shallow line. I hadn’t seen any signs so didn’t expect much but had a run of 10 F1s quickly, but then the wind changed direction and the peg went flat calm and it died. Changing depths was no good and all I could catch were roach.
A switch to my top-kit line where I had been loose feeding maggots since the start of the match again only produced silvers, and in all honesty I felt the match was slipping away from me.
A quick rethink saw me reaching into the bag for some meat, and I proceeded to feed this quite heavily on the top-kit line as well as deciding to feed a new edge line at four metres down my right-hand edge – six big pots of groundbait and some corn went straight in to try and get a response.
After two quick fish down the edge I had just fed heavily they soon spooked, so a look on the meat line was in order. Amazingly I was straight into carp, big F1s and barbel, but just like the edge I could only catch a couple before they spooked. They’re certainly on the change now going into the cooler months.
That said, I now had two lines that I was able to rotate and alternating between, and both helped me keep a steady run of fish coming.
At the weigh-in I put 201lb on the scales and knew I had a chance.
Back at the café it was close, but I’d just done enough, with three weights in the 190lb region from the fancied Meadow and Match lakes but nothing that broke the 200lb mark.
I am absolutely delighted to be the Match Anglers Matches Champion, and the £2,000 prize pot is quite handy as well!
1st Ben Townsend, Canal 8, 201-0-0
2nd Dave Childs, Meadow 12, 198-12-0
3rd Ken Oldham, Match Lake 18, 193-9-0
4th Lee Riley, Meadow 4, 190-6-0
5th Robbie Griffiths, Meadow 44, 188-4-0
As well as running a fantastic series David Marshall also aims to raise money for the children in angling, and this year the series of matches has raised £682. Well done David and all the guys who have fished and supported the MAM matches.
Keep a lookout for next year’s qualifiers on the MAM Facebook page. Tickets go on sale in January.