The Big Winter Win: Connor Barlow's Story!

Last weekend saw Tackle Guru’s Connor Barlow win the Catch More Media Winter Series at Tunnel Barn Farm with a perfect three point score, picking up a whopping £5000! The 24 year-old Guru has lots of form at the venue, having won the prestigious Daiwa Pole Fishing Masters there back in May! We caught up with Connor to get a rundown on the tactics, tackle and techniques he used in his latest victory against some of the best anglers in the country!

Winning Rigs!

“There were three different rigs that did the damage for me during the league at Tunnel Barn. First up is my light maggot rig, used for fishing across to the far bank with maggots. It featured durable and tangle-free 0.15mm N-Gauge Mainline, to an 0.11mm hooklength of the same. In the hook department it was either a size 20 F1 Pellet for double maggot, or a size 22 for single. A light 4x10 RW Maggie was the float for this light rig, shotted with a spread bulk of No11s to start with. However, if a lot of bites started to come on the drop, I’d happily spread these out for a slower fall! Elastic was either a yellow or pink Daiwa Hydro.

“The next rig that came into play for fishing the in the deeper water down the track was a 4x14 RW Maggie float, on exactly the same lines and elastics as above. However, this was shotted more positively with a bulk of No9s and two No10 droppers. Perfect for more stability in the deeper water, and also faster presentation during the later stages in a match when you might be catching quicker! Both these maggot rigs were set an inch overdepth.

“The final rig is my bread robbing rig. This featured an RW Dobbing float, shotted with strung-out No11s to offer a slow fall. This rig was also set around 8-inches off the bottom so hopefully my bread is right in the eye-line of fish. While the lines were the same as above, I opted for a bigger size 16 F1 Pellet hook for bread, giving me a better hook hold of my bait, and also helping me hit more bites from fish sucking in a 6mm or 8mm chunk of bread.”

The big boys like this took some tricking, but fell to Connor's maggot attack!

Connor pinned his faith in the F1 Pellet hooks for his Winter F1 work.

Round One: High Pool, Peg 21
Section Win
“The fishing was really tricky this round, and looking back I was fortunate that it was a low-weight day, as there is normally some pegs worth big weights in this section. However, I managed a section win to start the league with 34lb. On this particular day, it was an out and out maggot attack. I started by fishing across to the far side, feeding just a few in a Pole Pot everytime I shipped out, presenting a rig right on top of them and waiting for just the odd bite. Later in the day, I did exactly the same but down the central track in the deepest water, putting a few more fish in the net when everyone else seemed to be struggling.”

Round Two: New Pool, Peg 10
Section Win
“This was a good draw for me, especially considering the lake was frozen. I got off to a great start fishing maggots again, this time to my right into open water, and just off the island to my left. I caught 11 F1s in the first two hours, again feeding really sparingly with a small Pole Pot and Sprinkle Lid, before things went dead! It was just a case of trying different areas of the swim to try and keep bites coming for the rest of the day. I managed to sneak just enough fish in hard conditions by searching different areas of the swim to win the section again, this time with just 28lb.”

Round Three: New Pool, Peg 5
Section Win
“I didn’t really fancy this swim, and to make matters worse there were some good anglers in the section on good pegs! Surprisingly, the fishing was better than I expected though! This time, I had a lot of island that I could reach opposite me, and I really fancied catching by dobbing bread there to start with. Moving around up and down the island helped me keep fish coming, and I had a good start to the match on bread. Once bites dried up, I changed to fishing and feeding maggots across, again leading to another good run of fish. In the closing stages, coming down the track, again on maggots, secured me a good finish and 47lb for a third section win!”

Round Four: New Pool, Peg 27
Section 5th
“I was disappointed to have a really poor final match from a peg I quite fancied to begin with. I’m not fully sure what happened, but things certainly didn’t go to plan! There were fish infant of me, but everything on the whole pool seemed to switch off. If there was one are of the whole complex where I’d expect to catch some fish dobbing, this would have been it, but I never had a single one! After changing to feeding my usual maggots, just a few small fish showed, and the odd bigger carp or F1 I did hook was foul-hooked and came off! Thing’s didn’t get any better as the day progressed, and I honestly thought it was all over. Thankfully, my 14lb odd was enough to avoid the dreaded last in the section and I finished 5th. In reality, this secured me the win, as it went to the dropper result between myself and Luke Bamford, and this is what put me a point ahead! It was a super close finish in every round, especially the final one. It just goes to show that every fish counts, and having the right gear, being fully prepped and giving it 100 per cent everything and all the time can make a difference!

"A big thanks to my sponsors, Tackle Guru and Mainline Match, for endless support! Also to Tom Scholey at Catch More Media for running another awesome event!"

Using a Small Pole Pot and Sprinkle Lid was the feeding key to Connor's success!

Double maggot worked a treat as a stand-out hookbait!