MAP's Matty Pillay pulled another blinder this weekend past and only got himself a place in The Golden Rod final, one of the angling calendar's biggest open events.
Matty, who's a regular on the big-money match circuit, qualfied from an unfancied peg at the popular fenland venue, Decoy Lakes. The venue, which has played host to countless big event qualifiers over the years, saw conditions of gale force winds and low temperatures that hampered fishing for the 50 anglers who were brave enough to set out their stalls for a place in March's two-day final - here's the story in Matty's own words...
"“Things haven’t been going too well at the old draw bag of late, I’ve had so many no-hopers that it’s started to get to me a little. So, on Saturday 15th for The Golden Rod qualifier the hand went in and against the odds I managed to pull out an end peg…. An END PEG, I couldn’t believe it!
Elm 24. Good? bad? Time to do some digging.
It didn’t take long to find out that it’s ABSOLUTELY not where you want to draw according to the locals who, after a quick chat, said I’d be better off just going home and watching the telly instead! But in the best Bulldog spirit, I gave myself a mental peptalk and decided to give it a blast; hey, in this kind of weather sometimes it’s about the one who perseveres who prospers.
I got to the peg and it was clear to see why it wasn’t fancied; the biting easterly gale force wind was blowing out my corner, down the strips ponds nearby which made it look as uninviting as the North Sea. Thankfully a higher power had intervened and the organisers had left a gap of four pegs to the next man on peg 20 (they obviously knew it was a bad peg) so maybe I had a chance of bite?
The plan for the day was plop a little hybrid method around the peg, trying to locate solitary fish. I also fancied the pallets on the far side, as they looked like they could create a bit of cover. The good thing about Decoy is the deep margins and I had roughly three foot tight to across, which is a godsend in winter.
A simple setup of Parabolix Black Edition 10-footer, 5lb Optimum mainline with an 8lb shockleader means I could give the feeder a proper whack out and the thinner mainline would cut through the wind nicely and help with accuracy. A short rod helps in these windy situations too when you need to get tucked up and spot very, very tiny plucks from fish that have dropped in activity levels. I clipped one rod up to the far bank, the other was for roaming around the swim, and fished SwimStim pellets and three dead red maggots on the hook, changing to 5mm Dynamite washers every now and then.
Against the backdrop of a truly windswept and cold Fenland landscape, the match went surprisingly smoothly; I never had a sign for the first 45 minutes in the open water but first chuck tight over resulted in a nice carp and I just caught odd fish with a couple of proper chunks later on for close to 25lb for the pair! The key was only have two chucks in each spot; every fish came on the 2nd plop with within minutes, obviously once they’d located the initial amount of pellets from the feeder.
I finished with 10 carp and two f1s, never missed a bite or lost a fish, which is always a bonus when it’s hard fishing, as it builds the confidence that you fished a good match. Total weight was 63lb 15oz, which won me my 20-angler zone (and got me 5th overall) and meant I secured a place in the final. Well done to Simon Skelton for empying it for the win and Jon Arthur on grabbing the other qualifier spot.
Two from two, I’ll take that any day. I’ll report back come March when I’m battling for the winner’s cheque!”