"Winning The Daiwa Masters!"

Last month, Tackle Guru’s Connor Barlow was crowned the 2017 Daiwa Pole Fishing Masters Champion! The event is prized as one of the most difficult commercial competitions to win, and after Andy Bennett was undefeated for two previous year’s, Connor showed his class by lifting the title! We caught up with Connor to find out about his Masters experience!

“I'll start with Sunday when I travelled down with fellow Guru, Andy Bennett, for the practice match which was spread across House, Extension and Top Pools. I drew peg five on Top in the bottom bowl, and fancied a nice easy days fishing down the edges and shallow. That's exactly how it went, and I caught 30 plus F1s down the edge on soft pellets and 15 F1s plus some ide shallow on casters. Rigs for down the edge were RW Muddie floats on 0.17mm N-Gauge mainline to 0.13mm N-Gauge hooklengths. The hook choice was size 16 Super LWG hooks. For shallow I used an RW F1 Shalla, with the same lines as my edge rig but an 18 Eyed Super LWG hook.

“My fish have weighed 94lb which was enough to win the lake and come 5th overall in the match with Andy Bennett easily winning the match on house with 140lb, so it was a brilliant start to the week!

“On Day One of the festival I drew peg 15 on High Pool, a lovely looking peg. I decided to start on soft pellets down the edge and had a nice start having 20 F1s in the first 50 minutes before going on my caster shallow line at seven meters. I had been feeding this from the start. I had a fantastic next 90 minutes here and had 60 fish with just over two hours gone. This soon slowed up though and I ended up spending the rest of the match fishing hard 4mm pellets across for another 41 fish, of which 12 were carp from 3-7lb. My 101 fish weighed 185lb and enough to win the match which I was absolutely made up with I couldn't of started any better! Rigs were all extra durable on 0.17mm to 0.13mm N-Gauge, with size 16 or 18 Super LWG hooks."

Changing swims at the right time was key during The Masters.

Now that's not a bad top ten!

“On Day Two and I drew peg five on Top Pool which unbelievably was the peg I fished on the practice match on the Sunday! Thankfully I knew exactly what to do and had a steady match catching down the edge in bursts on soft pellets in the exact same spot as Sunday. I ended the match with 64 F1s and a few ide which weighed 108lb and enough to win the lake which left me on two points after two days. Rigs were all the same as Sunday’s match!

“Going into the final day I was leading the festival and was hoping for a good draw but when I pulled out peg 24 on Club Pool I was a bit gutted as even though it's an end peg, the previous day this end of the lake had been really bad and the other end much better. Still, with the event being 15-peg sections anything could happen. I set my stall out to fish a really simple match, two lines with pellets, one across and one down the edge. For the first two hours it payed-off for me I had 21 fish in the net. But the peg just completely died then and the last three hours were agonising. I was just hoping for the all-out as other people were catching and I was sat there biteless! I ended up with 28 fish which weighed 69lb and enough for 3rd on the lake! This gave me five points over the three days and enough to win the festival! To say I was buzzing is an understatement and it still hasn't sunk in now!

“I want to say a massive thanks to Tom Scholey for running the brilliant event, Tunnel Barn for providing top quality service, to everyone who has helped me out or congratulated me since the win, especially Andy Bennett who constantly helps me out and to my sponsor Tackle Guru for their continuous support. Also big well done to the rest of the framers with two other Guru lads Paul Holland and Andy Bennett, both framing overall with Paul 3rd and Andy 9th. I picked up £3800 in cash and a Daiwa Air XLS pole which I'm made up about, I'll definitely be back next year to defend my title!”

These were Connor's hook choice for the festival!

Connor was pleased to see fellow Guru, Paul Holland, also Fram in third place!