Preston rod puts in a record breaking performance
to qualify for the Match This Final

UKMA Exclusive Interview


After qualifying for the Maver Match this qualifier on Saturday, Preston Innovations backed rod Mick McMillan set two new records in doing so. He smashed the Monks Lake five hour match records with a massive 355lb, which is also the biggest weight ever caught in a Match this qualifier. The UKMA team spoke to a very emotional Mick on Sunday and here's what he had to say about his red letter day!

"After finishing 7th in the qualifier at decoy lakes a few weeks before, I thought my chance of making the final this year wasn’t meant to be, however I still had one qualifying ticket left – Monk lakes. This is a venue that has been kind to me over the years, being local to the lakes it’s often my venue of choice for open matches that are run most weekends.

Last year’s qualifier at Monks was a tight one and I managed 3rd place. Going into this qualifier I was confident having won the previous 4 open matches. I fancied a peg on either lake 2 or 3, in the bag of dreams I went and drew peg 53 on Lake 2. The peg is two swims out of the corner with peg 55 being a corner peg. I was happy with the peg and felt I had a chance.

When I arrived at the peg there was a strong wind blowing into the bank, which made the edge even more inviting, there were fish present along the whole of my bank but were towards the end of spawning mode and could be seen crashing around. I knew to win the match catching in the edge as early as possible would be the key. Normally open matches are won with around the 200lb mark.

Starting at 5m with soft pellet and feeding hard 4mm’s I caught a few early fish before things went really unsettled, a few foul hooked fish soon told me things were going to be tough, with the fish still in spawning mode. An early look down the edge and a foul hooked fish told me that the fish were still not completely out of spawning mode, but would this change during the match and would they feed?

At around 1.15pm I made a few phone calls to various anglers around the fishery and it was clear things were tough for everyone. It was at this point I made the decision to plumb up in the shallowest part of my peg (12 inches) and start to force the edge by dump potting groundbait. This would either make or break the match but felt I had no choice I had to make something happen.  I tried other lines taking odd fish before coming down the edge at 2.00pm.

This was the turning point in the match, the rest and heavy feeding finally spurred them into feeding and I proceeded to catch in the edge until the end of the match before the whistle went at 4.00pm. News around the lakes was that I had won it; I had estimated I had in the region of 300-320lb. This was confirmed with 8 keepnets and 8 weighs later I recorded a total weight of 355lb. It was also later confirmed as the new official 5 hr match record for the venue".

Before he headed off to the pub to celebrate his victory, Mick told us "I am delighted to have qualified and look forward to the final, this is a dream come true for me and the hours spent week in week out, trying to get it right have now finally paid off".



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