Andy Bennett hot on heels of Matchman title!

Reigning Angler's Mail Matchman Of The Year champ Andy Bennett is in a nail-biting two-horse race to retain his title as the prestigious competition enters its final few weeks.

With Guru’s Andy sitting in second, ten points behind Lee Thornton, who nabbed six points in his two most recent matches, it’ll require a strong finish to the season to catch up, but Andy’s confident.

He told Angler’s Mail magazine: “Lee is fishing very well, drawing well and just not putting a foot wrong right now. It’s going to need the wheels to come off for him, combined with some really good back-to-back draws for me now the water is clear and fish are shoaled very tightly.”

But recent developments suggest Andy is going to do exactly that, with a great result in his last match at Partridge Lakes in Cheshire reducing the gap to single-figures since the publication of the latest table.

Andy recounted his latest success: “I was back to Partridge for the Sunday open last weekend and I drew peg 128 on pool 5. This was the worst lake on Saturday with only 35lb winning the lake so I wasn't expecting to be able to frame overall from here as 50lb was needed on Saturday to frame and after a bit of bait has gone in it normally fishes better on the Sunday.”

“I was in the best area of the lake, though, so I was hoping they had a day off yesterday and the bit of bait going in would wake them up. I started the match in 4ft on maggot and after 40 minutes I was still sat there without a fish in the net and I was wondering what was going on.”

“The lads to my right and left were catching a few and with me having a spare peg either side, I couldn't believe they weren’t sat in front of me, to be honest. After starting on my 3rd new line I finally started to get bites and three quick fish got me back into it, then a quite spell for 10 minutes before another four really quick fish and I was back on track.”

“I was expecting to need 50 fish today on this lake to hopefully frame, so it’s important to get off to a good start. This line produced no more bites so I moved a bit further down the peg and this is where it started to get a lot better - I managed to catch a really good run here to take me up to 20 fish after two hours and well back on track.”

“I managed to catch steady for the next two hours taking me up to 43 fish with an hour to go. I was hoping for a good last hour down the track to boost me up to 55 fish possibly but with only one fish over the next 20 minutes, it wasn't looking like it was going to happen, then I managed to catch three pretty quickly. Another slow 10 minutes, missing an odd bite, so I upped the feed and forced it more and this worked a treat. The fish began to follow the bait down and I had a brilliant last 30 minutes, catching another 13 fish to finish with 60 fish in total for 64lb, which was enough to win the match overall.”

“The old lakes hadn't fished as well and Chris Weeder Jnr took 2nd place with 54lb, so I was made up with the win as there was again around 80 on the match - brilliant turnouts for winter opens. The best rig was a 4x10 floats attached to 0.13mm N-gauge mainline to 0.10mm hook length finished with a size 20 hook and single maggot.”

Check out Angler’s Mail weekly for the latest table and to see if Andy’s bid to retain his title comes to fruition. It’s going to be a tense last few weeks!