Following a long lay off from the competition carping circuit, the formidable southern duo of Gareth Evans and Simon Buckman returned with a bang to triumph in this weekend's UK Carp Championships qualifier at Thorney Weir in Buckinghamshire. Having seen a large number of carp showing in the top third of the lake and with a fresh wind forecast to push from a southerly direction all weekend, they were surprised to secure their first choice swim when drawn out in sixth and immediately made the decision to sit on their hands and try to nick a quick bite or two with single hookbait style tactics to minimise disturbance - tiny 10p sized PVA mesh bags filled with trout pellets & crushed Mainline High Impact boilies were the order of the day, with maggot & fake corn hookbaits. The carp continued to show in their swim while markers and Spombs rained down all around the rest of the venue and the pair's diligent thinking paid off just 40 minutes into the match with a 17lb 2oz mirror - however, they couldn't have imagined what would unfold in the following 24 hours ...
The sometimes tricky Thorney Weir carp continued to find their traps nestled in amongst the light weed and with no other food in the swim, the floodgates opened and carp after carp made a mistake. The lads landed 9 of their first 11 bites from the barbless only water and topped off Friday's action with a fine brace of commons scaling 20lb 12oz and 25lb 15oz, both falling to Simon's rods within minutes of each other. A quiet night followed with the duo adding a couple of the lakes smaller residents to their tally, along with a 19lb 6oz ghost carp just after dawn to bring them within touching distance of the 200lb barrier.
Four more carp followed on the Saturday morning and the boys had amassed a staggering 16 fish for a total weight of 270lb 11oz by the time the carp pushed out of their swim at the halfway stage of the match - at this point they were over 230lb ahead of their nearest rivals and could do nothing other than try to scratch out a few more chances while the other teams played catch up. By now the wind had really picked up and several carp could be seen crashing right across the far side of the lake, in amongst the snags and sunken barges that Thorney Weir is famed for.
Another quiet night followed with just one lost fish to show for their efforts and the boys awoke on Sunday to the news that they were still well ahead. There was drama elsewhere on the lake though, with just 19lb between second and sixth places and a mere 15 ounces separating 3rd, 4th and 5th at the 08:30 update: just one fish for any of the teams would make all the difference. Nail-biting stuff!! Two further carp were caught by the pairs already in second and third to cement their place alongside Evans and Buckman in the semi finals, however the fourth qualifying spot went right down to the wire with peg 7 scraping through just 6oz ahead of the efforts of peg 12.
With a variety of as yet unreleased RM-Tec end tackle products in their armoury, the single hookbait style tactics paid off handsomely and secured the dynamic duo a place in semi final D at Oxlease in July. Can they repeat the success and progress to the final at Farlows for a shot at the biggest prize in UK carp fishing? Keep an eye on our website and social media channels to find out!!
Full Thorney Weir qualifier results:
1st - Peg 5, Evans / Buckman, 16 fish, 270lb 11oz Q
2nd - Peg 2, Verney / Jarvis, 5 fish, 90lb Q
3rd - Peg 10, Ockenden / Goldsmith, 4 fish, 64lb 10oz Q
4th - Peg 7, Bettell / Snowdon, 3 fish, 52lb 1oz Q
5th - Peg 12, Waller / Chappell, 4 fish, 51lb 11oz
6th - Peg 11, Atkinson / Cox, 3 fish, 47lb 3oz
7th - Peg 6, Smith / Churchill, 1 fish, 23lb 11oz
8th - Peg 9, Bowler / Sheward, 1 fish, 15lb 8oz