The weather frequently gets the blame when the fishing is not as expected, but on Saturday 25th May at Aston Park Lakes, near Sheffield the dramatic changes over the days leading up to the Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier clearly had a massive impact on the result. After a week of strong, cold winds with plenty of rain the Friday evening saw clear skies sending the temperatures plummeting to 2 degrees. Match day was then bright and sunny with very little wind.
With the exception of Lanta none of the pools fished well and worst affected were probably the two new pools Butts and Bills, both only opened for fishing in March, but where the previous weekend weights in excess of 50 lbs had been needed to win club matches.
The top weight on the day, and the eleventh qualifier winner for the grand final, was Dale Shepherd (Hemsworth AC), a Labourer from Wakefield. Dale, fishing his first ever qualifier, caught shallow all day feeding four pints of casters on Split Pool peg 6 to take around 60 lbs of good ide and two carp to total 67 lbs. Runner up with 62 lbs 12 ozs was local rod Leon Hardwick. Leon, also fishing his first qualifier, drew peg 5 on the in-form Lanta pool and fished choppie tight over to take a mixture of ide and carp to 5 lbs.
Fish ‘O’ Mania regular Stephen Openshaw took third with 60 lbs 6 ozs of carp and ide from Lanta 19. He too fished tight across, but used pellet on the hook. In fourth spot was Keith Pentland from Darlington. Keith was also on Lanta taking 53 lbs 6 ozs from peg 22. Like Stephen he caught tight over on pellet. Also coming from the North East was Simon Medd. Simon finished with 46 lbs 4 ozs to take fifth place catching mainly carp on both the pellet waggler on pole at peg 4 on Lilly pool. He had around 40 lbs in the first hour and then struggled. After the match he said he probably should have won.
The next Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier for 2013 heads to Messingham Sands Fishery, North Lincolnshire on 29th May.