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Neil McKinnon wins commerical National

Preston Star Neil McKinnon Smashes 280 peg Commercial National!

Saturday 29th April, saw me at the great Lindholme Lakes for the Angling Trust Commercial National.

28 teams took part including my team Preston Innovations Telford. At the draw team Captain Tommy Pickering handed me peg 40 on Laurels. I did not mean much to me as I don’t get to fish Lindholme very often. I was told it could be difficult and was tight in a corner. Asking a few locals they all said the same, that it was never used in the opens and that it was lined with reeds and would be snaggy.

Tactics & Bait Choice

Peg 40 on Laurels lake won Neil the Commercial National

On arrival I could see what they meant. The wind was blowing out the corner, though could see fish moving in the reeds. I set up several rigs to cover various lines, including down the side just short of the reeds and a dobbing line shallow amongst the reeds, but I didn’t want to venture there unless I had too. Given the event was a team competition, points were a priority and I deliberated where to start prior to the beginning. I could either start short and play safe or go down the edge and look to snare an early bonus. On the whistle I decided that if the fishing was to be very hard then an early bonus would be good as they might back off very quickly with angling pressure.

Plumbing up the peg was relatively clear, though very close to the edge of the reeds. The bottom was sloping upwards left to right and had about 2.5 foot depth. I decided to have a look on the edge line. Starting with a small cad pot of fishery micros, using half worm on the hook I carefully placed the rig in the swim. 5 mins later I had a bite and managed to pull the fish away from the reeds and landed a carp around 4lb, nice start.

The second bite soon followed and took me straight through the reeds in an instance and had to pull for a break. After this I decided that it was better to risk pulling out any fish hooked rather than let them get in the reeds. Over the next 2-3 hours the fishing was steady and had to wait patiently for bites though resulted in a good sized carp when they came.

Once you had a bite and hooked a fish it was hectic and had to pull immediately very hard in an attempt to stop them going through the reeds. I continued to catch steadily through the day and by the half way stage was looking good with around 60lb in the net. Looking around the lake it was fishing very hard with most struggling. I rested the line mid match and had a brief look shallow on the dobbing rig. Despite lots of fish movement, I never had a bite and went back on my edge line after 10 mins. I had a bit of a lull, though continued to pick off carp. I had only been feeding via a small cad pot and during the last 50 mins increased the feed with half a large pot. This resulted in a 10lb carp straight away and finished with a flurry. You really had to be very fast.  It was hectic to hit the bite and wrestle the fish from the reeds. Most times you had to hit the bite ship back and break down to the top kit immediately. If you looked to see where the fish was heading it was too late and in the reeds. I was very lucky in that I only lost the one fish in the reeds early and pulled out of another all day. I don’t normally do a lot of fishing in snaggy swims and learnt a lot.


Tackle has to be strong and your pole up to the job. I used a 4x14 Des Shipp Shallow float to 0.17 Reflo Power mainline and 0.15 hooklength with a size 14 PR478 hook. Pole was Response Carp with 17 Hollo elastic.

At the end of the match I weighed 66kg 650g and later found out that this had not only won the section but also the match individually, with 50 and 44 KG second and third. Thanks to Lindholme lakes and the Angling Trust for staging a great match.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled in Match Fishing Magazine for a feature revisiting the same peg to demonstrate how I fished on the day.

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