Jake Fowles’ highlight of the month was taking part in the Daiwa Pole Fishing Masters at Tunnel Barn Farm, despite it not going entirely to plan…
The phrase “It’s the taking part that counts” is one I have always associated with people that generally don’t win anything. My standard reaction to this is to think to myself how it definitely isn’t just the taking part that counts; there is nothing better than winning! However, at the recent Daiwa Pole Fishing Masters event held at Tunnel Barn Farm I saw things in a different light…
Having been up to Thirsk to fish the Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier at Woodlands Lakes in the weekend leading up to the Masters I hadn’t had a chance to get on the practice match in the build-up to the event.Without a doubt this didn’t stand me in good stead going into the opening day.
Day one saw me draw Peg 21 on High Pool, one of two really bad pegs in the section. I managed just five section points from here, beating two anglers in the seven-peg section.The draw wasn’t a good enough excuse, though, and I know I got it completely wrong on the day. Leading up to the event the talk was that a worm slop approach wouldn’t be too far off the mark, but come the event it seemed casters were the better option. Using the first day to work this out really wasn’t the best way of doing things!
My most productive line (it wasn’t difficult to claim this prize) on the first day was a short pellet line where I caught a few F1s by alternating between two swims. None of my other lines really produced all day and only produced the odd fish. I knew where I had gone wrong, so surely day two was going to be better…
I was again placed on High Pool, not really what I wanted but with the experience of the day before and having spoken with the lads I was lodging with I was determined to improve on my previous day’s result. This time I managed to land myself on the same peg Andy Bennett had walked the section from the day before, Peg 36.
I started off well, catching small F1s shallow using casters from the off and after an hour and a half I felt I was ahead of the pack.
“If this carries on I’m in with a chance,” I was thinking to myself, and with that the worst weather I have ever fished in unleashed itself upon us, with torrential downpours that completely killed my shallow line stone dead and the ball of fish I felt I had in front of me dispersed in all directions.
Following this the swim just didn’t get going again, other anglers caught up and passed me and I finished with an extremely average four section points, still not good enough, although I don’t feel I got too much wrong on the day, and apart from Des Shipp’s outstanding performance I was just a couple of fish off finishing second in the section, which I’d have been happy with.
The third and final day saw a change of lake, something I was hoping for. Peg 42 on New Pool was where I was going to be situated, hopefully finishing the festival on a high after a disappointing first two days from a results perspective.
I was instantly catching by alternating between a far-bank line over to the reeds and down the middle on casters both up and down in the water.The whole lake seemed to be fishing hard but I felt I was doing well putting fish in the net regularly, albeit small F1s.
The last hour of the match is where I felt I could really kick on; I had fed groundbait down to the next platform – it was three feet deep here, which is a bit too deep – but I knew there were big carp in the lake that could quickly build up my weight. My other lines had dried up so I didn’t have a lot to lose.
I managed four carp and a few bigger F1s here in quick succession but then started suffering lost fish. Some I put down to foul hookers due to the depth, but others I just couldn’t work out why I had pulled out of them – very frustrating!
I finished the day second in my seven-man section and although it was a better points return I still left the lake feeling frustrated, as I had the fish on the hook that would have seen me comfortably win the section!
It’s The Taking Part That Counts?
I finished the festival about middle of the 118-man field, not a fantastic result but not terrible in my first-ever festival.What I did achieve, however, was progression day by day, an improvement on my previous day’s result.Yes, this came about by working the venue out each day but more than this was the importance of the information I was gaining by being with some of the best anglers in the world and everybody discussing how they had caught each day.What I learnt from everybody in just three days was astonishing.
It isn’t just the taking part that counts, in fact I don’t think a lot of people would continue to keep spending lots of money on new gear and getting to different venues if this was the case. However, it is what you learn by taking part that really does count.
You should grasp what you have learnt from not winning and use the information you have to develop yourself so that you will stand more of a chance of improving and winning in the future. In fact, despite not getting the results I wanted during the festival it was still up there as one of my most enjoyable fishing experiences.