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An Exclusive Interview with White Acres regular and Parkdean Masters winner Darren Cox…
The week started as usual with speculation on how difficult the sections were. Before I arrived people had phoned me to tell me that I was in the ‘Section of Death’, one normally saved for Rich Hull – that’s what he would always tell you anyway!
The section was extremely tough; probably the hardest line up I had fished against in a festival for a few years. With the likes of Tommy Pickering, Tommy Hillier, Steve Cooke, Gary Webber, Jason Le Bosquet, John Bradshaw, Damien Bracken, Steve Perham, Derek Hammond to name but a few it was always going to be tough. But to make matters even worse my traveling partner and team mate Simon Fry was also in my section. This would be like fishing against myself as we share every scrap of information on every aspect of angling!
Day one and I was off to Porth but not on my usual boat trip to the high numbers, I’d drawn peg 36, which is normally a reasonable area. The problem would be all the pegs to my right (37-40) and with Cookie next to me on 37, Damien on 38 and Jason on end peg ‘dolly’ 40 I was in for battle number 1. I fished a good match for the first few hours and was probably winning the section half way through as I had started on the pole when most started on feeder around me. The problem was that the fish got smaller rather than bigger as they normally do. I ended up with 16lb, Cookie had 15lb, Damien on 20lb and Jason paralyzed the section with an excellent 28lb. 3rd in the section was not a disaster but I was now on the back foot and it would have to be my dropped result if I was to win. No pressure then!
Day 2 and we were off to Bolingey. I was hoping for a nice day pellet wagglering on peg 12 but pulled out 21 instead. This is a real iffy peg in the best section and I feared the worse. I decided to be ultra positive as Simon had drawn really well on 22 on my left and I would need to fish well to beat him. I set my stall out to fish a really tidy pellet waggler match tight to the island concentrating on getting the feeding perfect to get as many fish interested as possible. I struggled to keep up with Simon all day as he had a good start on the waggler and then a switch to his edge peg started to work for him. However, him leaving the pellet waggler alone meant that my feeding became much more effective and I dragged even more fish into the peg. I had a stunning last 35 minutes putting 14 carp in the net on a 6g DC pellet waggler and 8mm pellet on a size 14 Drennan Carp Feeder Barbless hook tied to 0.18mm Garbo Line. I ended up with 126lb to Simon’s 123lb, a narrow section win and 3rd on the lake.
Day 3 at Pollawyn and everyone wanted to be on the high bank. I was not disappointed and drew out my first flyer of the week – peg 29. Only a lake win was good enough as this section always produces the lake winner and I needed that section win. After talking to a few people it became clear that all the fish were beyond pole range but were reluctant to come up in the water. Pellet and bomb was the best option by the sound of it with maybe a few pellet waggler fish late. I had a great match and won the section (and lake) with 36 carp for 166lb. Virtually all of these were on the bomb. Feeding was the key and I found it much better to fire two pouch fulls of 8mm pellets and then wait for a bite. I fished a 11mm on the hook.
Day 4 and it was getting serious, I had two wins and a 3rd. Another win should automatically put me in the top 10 which would be nice, but more importantly it would keep me in contention. I drew peg 16 on Twin Oaks, a peg I like and have won off before, but I had drawn next to my old chum Si again who was up there on the leader board with me. Another tough day was about to unfold. We both started on liquidized meat feeder and were virtually fish for fish for two hours until Simon’s line dried up. This forced him to have a look down the edge and to my dismay he caught straightaway and they were bigger fish than on the feeder as they always are. I had to make the choice whether to leave feeding fish on the feeder and have a look or stick with it. I gave Simon 6 fish start down the edge but dare not leave it any longer. He was now in front of me and I needed to catch quickly. I caught a few to start with but it was not as frantic as Simon’s edge peg. In the last 15 minutes they arrived bug time and I caught 5 lumps in the last 7 minutes to beat Simon again by 31/2lbs! I won the lake with 140lb and was now at the top of the leader board on weight with William, Simon and Roger Young all on the same points as me. If I won my section on the Friday I could not be beaten but I would need to as William was going to Porth and it was likely he would win the section. Ironically I drew Williams peg from the day before, peg 51 at Gwinear. He had been 2nd in this tough section with 33lb so I was going to have to pull a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ on this one. It was a really tough day, the last day after two weeks of festivals and most of the silvers had shut up shop. With only 20lb of them after two hours I needed to catch carp so I started to fill it in down the edge earlier than normal with casters and worms trying to encourage the carp to come to me first. They did and I ended up with 68lb, a section win and now I could not be beaten. William won his section as usual and secured 2nd overall to fend off an onslaught of ‘Garbolino boys’; Craig Ebbrell, Simon Fry and Rich Hull.
I have been waiting for this win on the Milo for many years after coming 2nd at least 3 times before, 3rd twice, a 5th and 7th.
Its great being at White Acres even if I don’t win a bean, but to win my second festival in a row is absolutely fantastic.
Now I can’t wait for the Parkdean in October!