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Harry Wins Again at White Acres!

Garbolino sponsored angler Harry Billing notched up his 13th Festival win at White Acres recently by winning the coveted Garbolino Winter Festival. Predominently a 'silvers' based event but F1's are also allowed which makes things very interesting.

Harry breifly talks us through his week giving an insight into how he approached each peg and lake: -

This festival is a well-established event on the White Acres calendar and always attracts a very strong field. This year was no different with a host of star anglers amongst the line up from England, France and Holland. It is a festival that I've always wanted to win, and one that I've come very close to winning, but always fallen at the last hurdle, with a combination of bad luck and bad drawing. With such a strong field every decision you make is critical, get one wrong and that can mean the difference between first and fourth in your section!
I love this lake as its stuffed with silvers, and I thought I had it sorted until I drew peg 14 in last week’s Drennan 2 day event. On that day I had really struggled for bites, so I wasn't feeling over confident.  I shouldn't have worried because I had a fantastic day on this occasion as it was solid with skimmers and great big dog roach. 
Weighed in 63 lb for a convincing section win, I caught them all at 11 metres over groundbait  (Sonubait  green 50 50). I always fill the mix with loads of chopped worm, dead reds, casters and flouro pinkies. The key on the day was to use a strung out rig, fished slightly over depth and the rig had to flicked past the feed area and then allowed to drag back over the feed. This little trick worked a treat and caught me a lot more fish!

This is a nice steady section with no real flyers and I could keep an eye on what was happening in the section as this lake has everybody in a line. At the off fed 2 lines with my normal groundbait mix at 6 metres and 11 metres. Initially I really struggled to make anything happen other than odd carp and tiny little roach. The whole section was fishing hard and I had been dripping casters in down the edge where there was a big clump of spikey grass. I slowly started picking away with small roach in about 3 feet of water with a light strung out rig. This line just got stronger and stronger. Interestingly I found it better to only feed when I hooked a fish. Feeding when the rig was in the water definitely produced smaller roach. Red maggot and a flouro pinkie on the hook certainly produced a bigger stamp as well. It went mad in the last hour with great big F1s on this same line as I think the constant drip feeding worked a treat and I managed to win the section with 60lb.
Peg 18 can be a good peg, but it all depends on the wind. I really struggled in the wind as it blew a hooligan all day long making it impossible to present any rig well at all. It was a case of damage limitation as this was hopefully going to be my dropped result and these droppers can make a big difference at the end. I managed to catch 22lb for 5th in the section mainly catching at 8 metres over groundbait using maggot on the hook. I caught 4 F1s and 4 decent skimmers with odd roach. I’m not sure if I could have done much better as I never had a bite down the edge, which is normally a banker on this lake.
This is a good peg in a nice steady section. I had spoken to Darren Cox about the lake the night before as he had won the section off the same peg so I was well prepped with some great info. I fed at 5metres and 11 metres with mainly worms and dead reds and flouro pinkies just bound together with enough groundbait. I also fed some casters down the edge and a 14metre line with corn. I caught steadily over both worm lines but the peg really took off when I went down the edge with casters, again feeding in about 3 foot of water, again only feeding when the float was out of the water was best. I had a great day, and even caught some long on corn late on for 34lb and another section win. It was starting to get serious, and I just needed a good draw on the last day!

Another good peg, especially when the next peg hadn't been drawn! There was a spare peg in my section all week, this has cost me big time on previous festivals, but it was my turn to benefit this year. Mind you I needed it because I almost got beat for the section by fellow Garbolino French angler Olivier Wimmer, it was Olivier’s first festival and he fished brilliantly all week taking some very big scalps.
I ended up with 44lb for a very welcome section win only just beating Olivier's excellent 39lb from a very average peg 22. I caught most of the fish at 6metres over groundbait and had some big dinosaur perch down the edge on casters.

I am absolutely delighted to have won the festival with 4 section wins. Its results like this that makes all the hard work worthwhile. Even after all these years I still get a massive buzz from competing and long may it continue. I would just like to thank Garbolino and Darren Cox for all their support; it really does make a big difference to have access to such great gear!