Jamie Hughes Wins Tunnel Barn Winter League
Here is an article from MAPs website after my Tunnel Barn Winter League win. For more see MAPs website.
MAP Fishing: Firstly congratulations on winning the individual title in the Tunnel Barn Farm winter league, for those who don’t know it is one of the most hotly contended events over the winter with top anglers from all over the UK attending.
Jamie has managed yet another win on the final round ,was his 5th win in 10 rounds, which when your competing with 80+ anglers is some going!
You managed to win the final round in what were Baltic conditions – did this force you to change your approach for the last round or did you stick with your simple F1 approach which we detailed in the Skill School video?
Jamie Hughes: For the final round I found myself pegged on the High Pool, I had actually never fished this lake in a match before so was a bit unsure of what was needed to do well, after speaking to a few people it was clear that the F1s were a smaller stamp compared to the other lakes at Tunnel. A weight of 60lb+ being needed to win the lake I would have to catch plenty of fish to stand a chance.
The draw put me on peg 30 which had been a steady peg in previous rounds, the peg gave me a point of an island at 13m and some nice deep open water to my right, the peg also features a lovely shallow bar around 3ft deep that extends 2 meters from the island point.
Because the peg gave me lots of options and the fish I was targeting were small (around 1lb), the usual dobbing approach was left in the bag, I felt that I needed to feed my lines in order to control things and catch as fast as possible!
In the end my match went perfectly, I began at 6m with pellets and had 15 fish in the first hour before adding a section and catching another 15 in the 2nd hour.
The third hour I moved towards the bar at 12m and fished pellets in 4ft for another 20 fish. The final 90 minutes I made the move onto the bar and swapped to maggots as the fish really switched onto the feed, a hectic final spell got me up to 80 f1s and a weight of 85lb with won me the 22-peg section and also the match!
Because of the cold weather I began my match in the deepest water and slowly followed them up the shelf as the temperature rose, this is something I do a lot during the winter as the low overnight temperatures seem to push the fish into the deepest water.
MAP: You have developed a bit of a reputation as a dobbing master, I know you put a lot of thought into maximising your results on this method can you talk us through this?
JH: Dobbing has without doubt caught me a lot of fish during the league but there is far more to it than simply dropping a lump of bread next to the far bank.
Firstly my rig is as light as possible with an 0.10mm hook length and tiny hook that effects the sinking bread punch as little as possible, the vast majority of bites come when a fish has followed the bread down.
Secondly my timing of when to try dobbing is crucial! During the league I have never began my match by dobbing, as during the first hour there were always a few fish to be caught on pellets.
Every match it was the 2nd, 3rd and 4th hours that the dobbing really worked as the fish seemed reluctant to feed on other baits, I was able to catch lots of fish during this period while others struggled, then by switching back to my fed areas I was able to finish strongly as the fish switched back on to the feed.
Lastly, is the way I fish my bread swims, I find that by catching as many fish as possible from directly in front of myself then moving to the extremes of my peg keeps the fish in front of me for longer, instead of adding a section at a time and chasing them away, I almost try to play tennis with the shoal.
MAP: With a 50% win rate you have had to have some luck at the draw bag, did you go into all the matches feeling you had a good chance of winning or did any of the wins take you by surprise?
JH: Without doubt I've had some good pegs throughout the series but wherever I have drawn my only aim was to win my section, if I can go home feeling that I nearly got the most from my peg then I'm happy. If I frame overall then that's a bonus, that said you should always evaluate your performance no matter how well you have done, there is always something that can be improved.
MAP: What was your biggest lesson learnt during the league?
JH: The biggest thing that I have learnt through the league is the importance of fishing maggots correctly, when the fish aren't feeding properly a slow falling rig and constant tiny amounts of feed falling through the water are vital, while when the fish are settled and having a proper chew more bait less frequently is best combined with bulk shotting patterns.
MAP: Finally what are your plans over the next few months?
JH: The next few months sees the start of the big matches, I have the first Fish’O’Mania qualifier on March 5th which coincidently is at Tunnel Barn, I also have tickets for several other Fish’O and Match This qualifiers. I'm also really busy with my coaching and am fully booked in March, April and May.
MAP: Thanks for your time Jamie and congratulations once again!
Image supplied by www.polefishingplus.com