Ben Fisk talks…

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Published April 2017
We had a chat with Angling Times magazine Tackle and Commerce Editor. Ben has been taking part in festivals at White Acres for over eight years and has been placed second in the £25k Masters final twice, so he’s a White Acres expert.

Ben Fisk
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Ben Fisk

Favourite White Acres lake and why?
Definitely Trelawney. It’s now absolutely full of F1 carp from 1-4lbs, plus the older resident stock of proper mirror, common and ghost carp which run well into double figures. Every peg has an island cast and although the wind can sometimes push a lot of fish down to one end or the other, it’s a lovely lake to fish. You can catch on a pole shallow, down the edge, long on the deck and on the bomb, feeder or waggler.

Most memorable fishing experience at White Acres?
The 2013 Masters final on Jenny’s Lake. I weighed in 97lb 15oz of F1s in the four hour match but I was beaten to the £25,000 winner-takes-all prize by just 5oz by my friend Andy Leathers. Everybody wanted Andy’s swim, peg 16 in the wide bowl, as that’s where the big carp were feeding. I don’t think anybody gave me a chance on peg 8 (even I didn’t!) but I caught about 70 small F1s on the pole shallow. It took me a while to get over this but it was a very memorable day to come so close.

What do you look for in a great angling holiday?
I look for good fishing, good facilities and good accommodation in close proximity together, ideally on the same site. The right location also comes into it and although it takes me quite a while to drive to somewhere like Cornwall, it’s worth it for the scenery, the weather and the people. A decent bar is also useful, although I don’t spend as much time there as when I was younger!

What keeps you coming back to White Acres?
From a competition angler’s point of view I love the atmosphere of the festivals, especially the morning draws and the presentation night- everything is well organised and runs like clockwork. The festival lakes offer plenty of variety and no two days fishing are ever the same, one day you could be catching 100lb of carp, the next double figures of skimmers on Porth Reservoir. Although all the festivals are good weeks to be on, the Preston Innovations Festival, from which qualification is gained for the Masters, is the one which keeps me coming back. It’s a great feeling to be sat on the stage knowing that you’re fishing for £25,000 tomorrow!

What would you say to someone thinking about fishing their first festival?

Go for it. I’d recommend any budding match angler who wants to learn, to mix it with the best and ask top anglers as many questions as they can get away with after the matches. You’ll always learn more from the experts than you ever would trying to guess and work things out yourself. For a festival make sure you do all the hard work before you go. Prepare a lot more hooklengths and rigs than you think you’ll need as hard-fighting carp take their toll on your gear and it means you’ll have more time to relax when you’re on site.

What piece of equipment or product would you not be without on a trip to White Acres?
I’m going to cheat and say a couple of things. I always take plenty of groundbait because you can catch some big fish in the margins feeding it completely loose in a pole cup. I like Sonu Supercrush
Expander or Dynamite Swim Stim/ Marine Halibut, mixed very damp. A meat cutter is also a must as
6mm, 7mm and 8mm meat cubes work well on most lakes. Finally, several catapults with spare elastic. Whether you’re fishing on the deck or shallow with the pole, or on the waggler or bomb, you need to keep a few pellets going in almost all the time to keep the fish interested!

Your top tip for fishing at White Acres?
Take full advantages of key times. If you’re fishing a match or festival day then by this I mean the first hour and last hour. In the first hour you’ll often get a few carp instantly, for example fishing a short pole at 5-6m or casting a feeder to an island. In the middle of the match it often goes quiet but it’s important to keep the faith and try other ways of putting fish in the net, for example going on a long pole or catching loads of silver fish. The last hour is the most important as it’s usually when the carp switch on properly, especially the bigger fish which come close in looking for food. You can really boost your catch by fishing a few sections out with meat on the bottom, or putting some groundbait down the edge. A couple of years ago I caught three carp for 35lb in the last half an hour of a festival day! If you’re pleasure fishing then why not try an evening session? You’ll be surprised how big and how many fish you’ll catch under your rod tip in the edge on lakes such as Jenny’s, Trelawney and Twin Oaks.

Pick up your copy of Angling Times every Tuesday for more from Ben Fisk

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