This year’s Iberian Master’s competition proved a great International success yet again with some of Western Europe’s finest anglers in attendance. In fact, it’s here where many of them start their own competitive season. The event takes placejust south of the regions capital Valencia is the small town of Fortaleny on the banks of the River Júgar where weights of over thirty (30) kilos are not uncommon!
Each year the event becomes stronger consolidating its position as one of the ‘must-attend’ and important matches on the International circuit. Although naturally dominated by Spanish and Portuguese anglers, there are quite often numerous high profile anglers from France, Italy and Hungary. There was also a strong representation from England on this year’s event with the likes of Lee Kerry, Will Freeman and England Feeder Team Manager, Tommy Pickering.
Below, Tommy looks back on his three days fishing on a venue that can, at times, test even the greatest anglers!
Day 1, A-9
“Well first day over of the Iberian Masters came and went and I was sort of relieved as I had a horrible match, but managed to get away with it – let me explain”.
“This venue is full of snags, rocks, etc and you have to fish with heavy gear to get them out. It’s hard to find the fish in the first place, then it’s equally hard to get them out! I drew A9 and didn’t really fancy it. I thought 3rd or 4th in my thirteen (13) man section was the best I could do so the plan was to fish across short of the stones with a sticky maggot feeder”.
“First chuck and I ended up in a tree so had set up again – not the ideal start! The next cast produced a fish, but it managed to snag me up so ANOTHER set up was needed! So, after two hours, eight feeders and twelve hook lengths later, and still no fish”!
“At this stage in the match, I was in trouble, so I changed my target area again and found one around 5lb, then another. I had managed to find a nice spot so stuck to it! With an hour to go, I hooked into a big fish and played it for around ten minutes before I finally got it under the rod, only to lose it! I was not happy to say the least with the fish being at least 10lb”.
“I had two more fish towards the end of the match which did little to lift my sad mood! At the end of the opening day, I had a total of six (6) fish for 12kg and was 3rd in my section. I was delighted with that! The section was won with 23kg and 17kg was second, so that big lost fish might have cost me one point! Still, I was happy and still in there after I thought I’d blown it”.
Day 2, B-11
“Second day of the Iberian Masters saw me needing a decent peg. I drew B11 and was happy enough, although I wasn’y confident the peg was capable of producing a winning weight. However, fishing on the day in general was really hard”.
“I had just three bites all match. I fished sticky maggots across and worms down the middle and, after two hours, connected with my first fish, which went approx. 6lb. That was the only action until 90 minutes from the end when I had another. I thought I would need one more to finish inside the top three in my section and with half hour to go, I managed to hook one, but lost it”!
“It fished hard today and I finished with 5kg, which was good enough for 4th in my thirteen (13) man section, which I was really happy with. So, after two days, I was sitting in 8th place. I really needed an end peg for the final day to try and get a section win to stand any chance of finishing inside the top five”.
“My two English colleagues Lee Kerry and Will Freeman were both 2nd in their respective sections, so were 3rd and 5th overall and had a great chance of a top ten finish”
Day 3, C-7
“I needed a good peg to try and get into the top ten from the final day of the competition. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and I drew C7, which I wasn’t happy with, but I had a job to do”.
“After a very slow opening two hours, the tip eventually went round and I connected with what felt like a big fish. Unfortunately, as had been the case for the majority of the event, it snagged me up and I lost it. The next cast produced bite number two, but it came off down the inside. By this point, I was steaming! It’s hard enough to find the fish, then drag them from the snags only to lose it under your feet. I was gutted”.
“With an hour to go, I slipped the net beneath one weighing around 6lb, then had a bite that dragged the rod in, but nothing there – must have pulled it straight out of its mouth! Next cast produced another fish of around 6lb, but knew I needed another. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and I finished with 5-840, which was good enough for 7th in my section. Truth is I needed one more”.
“With the competition over, I’d done enough to finish in 10th place. Will Freeman was 2nd and Lee Kerry was 3rd overall. Will just missed out on being crowned Champion due to weight, so we all finished inside the top ten”!
“Well done also to my Italian freind Stephano Ambrogini for finishing in 7th place and for winning the biggest fish prize“.
“It’s one of those frustrating venues where you get some, lose some, lose tackle but you just have to deal with it and hope you get you share of the luck. It’s a fantastic event with great people and great fishing. The organisation was absolutely fantastic and I’m looking forward to coming back again. Also, well done the the champion Miguel Rosello – great angling“!