Tommy Pickering secured runner-up position on this year’s ‘Wild Bills’ charity festival. Held at the one of the most iconic feeder venues in the country, Southfield Reservoir played host to seventy six (76) anglers all competing for section points over the course of three days to determine the overall winner. In all, the festival was another great success raising over £2,000 for the Anthony Nolan Blood Cancer Trust.
Below, Tommy reflects on what was a closely contested affair and one which very nearly saw him walk away overall winner after a perfect three (3) point score saw him miss out by the narrowest of margins.
Day 1, Peg 59
“The opening day of this year’s ‘Wild Bills’ festival saw me on peg 59, which is a good area. The plan was to fish at 60m with a small bullet feeder filled with groundbait laced with pinkies and feel my way into the match starting on a double maggot hook bait on a size 16 hook“.
“I got off to a great start with a 3lb bream gracing my net after my second cast of the day. I continued to catch odd fish before deciding to change to a worm hook bait, which produced a few more. Unfortunately, the last hour of the match was a little unproductive, which saw me end proceedings with nine (9) fish for 18lb and a section and zone win“.
Day 2, Peg 8
“After a great start yesterday I was hopeful of the same again on day two. I drew peg 8 in ‘the woods’ and opted to set up two rods; one at 50m and the other at 60m. Again, I was happy with my draw as it’s a good area. I decided to start at 50m and had a fantastic start to the match finding five (5) bream after the first hour. I found another three (3) during the following hour, but then the roach moved in. I did manage one more bream out of the blue, but again, had a slow last hour“.
“Come the end of the day, I managed to weigh 27-12-00, which was enough for my second section win and the match overall to boot“!
“So, two days into the festival, and with two section wins, I was in with a great chance going into the final day. Given how close the festival was at this point, I was sure it would end up being decided on weight“.
Day 3, Peg 55
“I went into the final day of the ‘Wild Bills’ festival siting in third place overall. At the draw, much to my delight, I pulled out peg 55 – my favourite peg on the reservoir and one I host a lot of my coaching sessions from! I knew I had a great chace at this stage and was confident of another section win. However, I suspected I would need a big weight to stand any chance of topping the rest of the field“.
“The plan was to fish at 60m with a small groundbait feeder and a little worm and maggot on a 16 hook. Again, I enjoyed a fantastic start finding five (5) fish in the first five (5) casts during the opening hour and a half. Going into the afternoon, the lake switched off the most, including myself, and I only managed a further two fish before the all out“.
“I ended the match with 13-01-00, which was enough for my third section win and put me in second place overall in the match. So, with three (3) points I was tied with three other anglers. Unfortunately, I just missed out on weight at the end of the three days with my 58-13-00 losing out to Danny Cunningham’s 64-03-00, but it was a really enjoyable festival, which helped raised money for a great cause“.