Elite Carp Masters
By Barry O’Connor
The first of the two Elite Carp Masters 2016 carp matches, arranged by Ben and Barry O’Connor, took place recently on Cottington’s Pepper Lake.
Thirteen pairs of anglers battled it out to see who would become champion. Most of the competitors arrived the afternoon of the day before the match and took advantage of the get together arranged in the Three Horseshoes pub at Mongeham (https://www.facebook.com/TTH.Deal.Kent). The pub landlord really looks after us and laid on free food for all. Everybody enjoyed themselves playing pool and darts and this seemed to put everyone at ease for the match ahead. There was of course much banter, fuelled by the odd soft drink!! about who was going to win.
But on to the serious stuff!! The venue for the draw was the onsite café and bar, the Kingfisher, courtesy of Mike and Barbara, where many of the competitors had taken advantage of the facilities, having had breakfast in the café, before the draw. The draw itself was made using limited edition pink Spombs, kindly donated by one of the event’s sponsors, Spomb owned by Judith and Bryan Houghton (www.spomb.com). Each pair of names were placed into one of these and drawn at random to select the swims. As the names were called out each of the competitors was presented with a pink Spomb. With the draw done all the competitors went off to their chosen swims.
With the amount of carp showing in peg 2 it was no surprise that the first carp came from there. In fact the first four carp were caught from that peg by Craig Anstiss and Ricky Eason. A promising start, but still early days!!
Craig Anstiss and Ricky Eason with the first of their haul
It then went quiet for about three hours before any more carp were caught. Eamon Duff and Ben Banner in peg 7 in the new lake also landed a carp within the first five hours of the match. With plenty of fish showing on the surface, but in challenging conditions, it was then over 22 hours before another carp was caught in that section of the lake.
The only thing showing on the bank for several hours was the anglers themselves!!
The strong south westerly winds that were predicted finally arrived and the carp did a mass exodus from the old lake into “new Pepper”. James Blake and Jay Mungo Cater in Peg 12 were the first to capitalise on this turn of events with a 30lb 12oz Mirror followed quickly by another at 17lbs 15oz.
The eventual winners, Judith and Bryan Houghton, didn’t have their first carp until more than 24 hours after the match had started. This was a carp known as the Carrot because it is bright orange. It weighed in at 13lb 13oz.
Judith and Bryan Houghton with “the Carrot”
They followed this with three thirties and a forty, a first for the Elite Carp Masters (ECM).
Bryan Houghton with his 40lbs 4oz Mirror, the first “40” in an ECM
The carp were now showing in numbers in the new section and although 1st place had a lead of over sixty pounds this was not unassailable. Not on a water like Pepper. And the battle for the runners up spot was far from over as well. Only twelve pounds separated fourth place from second place. A 30lbs Mirror caught by Owen Sayles, helped him and partner James Coleman to third place.
Owen Sayles “30” which helped seal 3rd place for him and partner James Coleman
Peg 2 which had caught all their carp within the first two hours of the match never caught another, but this was still sufficient to give pairing Craig Anstiss and Ricky Eason second spot.
Also worthy of mention is Tom, who despite finishing outside of the top three pairs, still managed to land a new pb with this 34lbs 5oz Mirror.
Tom with his new pb, weighing 34lbs 5oz
Ben and Barry were called out day and night to weigh carp and by the end of the match a total of 26 carp had been caught. This included seven thirtys, nine twenties and the first ever forty caught in an Elite Carp Masters match (caught by Bryan Houghton partnered by his wife Judith).
With the competition at an end it was time for the prize giving.
The prizes waiting to be awarded and claimed
The final scores were as follows.
1st Judith and Bryan Houghton with a weight of 149lbs winning £1000.
2nd Craig Anstiss and Ricky Eason with a weight of 89lbs 1oz winning £600.
3rd Owen Sayles and James Coleman with a weight of 80lbs 3oz winning £300.
The top 3 pairs
4th Gary and James Mardell with a weight of 77lbs 12oz winning £200 of Mainline bait.
The competitors from 2nd to 5th place were given a complete set of Spomb’s courtesy of Spomb Limited.
The biggest carp award went to Bryan Houghton for his 40lb 2oz Mirror winning him a Nash Bivvy courtesy of Fat Fish Tackle (www.fatfishtackle.co.uk) at Chartham.
The smallest carp award went to Nick Young for his capture of a 9lb 6oz Mirror winning him a Nash Chair again courtesy of Fat Fish Tackle at Chartham.
Judith and Bryan Houghton have donated much of their winnings to the various charities that they support – a great gesture.
Thanks must go to Gary and Darren the owners of Cottington Lakes for allowing the match to take place on Lake Pepper, to Mike and Barbara in the Kingfisher café, Mango for all his help and arranging the visit to the pub, to Fat Fish Tackle for the prizes, to Spomb for all the Spomb’s and to Mainline Baits for the bait prize.
The next match will take place on Lake Pepper on 14th, 15th and 16th of October 2016. If you fancy having a go then please ring Ben on 07737254503. Places are limited.
And last but by no means least, you can read the winners account of the weekend on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Spomb-Limited-245615852146134/ under the entry dated 21st August.