Conditions on the day at the sixth Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifying heat at Stafford Moor Fishery, Winkleigh, Devon on Saturday 7th May 2011 were far from ideal as thunder storms and a lot of heavy overnight rain and a strong wind meant conditions were going to be tough for the 126 anglers taking part on the day.
Andrew Neal (Frenzee and Bait-Tech), a Marketing Consultant for Frenzee from Abergavenny, took full advantage of his draw from peg 11 on Tanners. With an island to cast to Andrew started on a ‘t-bag’ fishing tight to this in a hope of an early bite while he loose fed heavily in open water hoping to catch on pellet waggler and bomb, and also fed down the edge with pellets in a bid to catch late on with paste. Having fished to the island with nothing to show for his efforts Andrew was soon forced on to his wag and bomb line where he had been constantly feeding, and a few quick casts with the pellet waggler and onto his first fish of the day a 4lb carp. Fishing with a size14 hook to 8lb line with a 0.20mm hook length to take 19 carp on the tip Andrew put together a winning weight of 89lbs 8oz with carp, tench and skimmers and his largest fish to a 8lb carp.
Andrew Neal stated, “Previous experience on the venue told me that rain has a habit of putting the fish off, and with the amount we had I feared the worst. Having drawn my peg I immediately knew that although it wasn’t the peg everyone was talking about I definitely had a chance as it was on a point in the middle of the lake. Keeping a close eye on what was going on around me proved that the lake was indeed fishing very hard and so a catch what you can tactic was applied, compared with the normal bagging mode that the lake is so well known for. An early look down the edge and a quick fish kept me ticking over, but as bites were at a premium it was really a case of just working hard, rotating methods and just try and catch odd fish where I could. As the venue is 150 miles from home, practising wasn’t an option, but I was confident I could do well with these tactics as they are ones I have used a lot in the past with some success. Having not had a bite for the last 45 minutes I felt for sure my chance of going through was gone as although by then I had 19 fish, surely this wasn’t going to be enough on such a prolific venue. Rumours were as usual rife by the end of the match as to who had won. After a long tense wait I could not believe when I heard that 71lb had came second, and my 89lbs was in fact good enough to win.”
“With only two tickets from eight qualifiers I applied for this was my last chance I had to try to make it count. To get another chance at the title is amazing, and I can’t wait to get back there and start practising. We already have some brilliant anglers in the final which will make for a great match, and I just hope the work I will be putting in pays off and I can lift that trophy at the end of it.”
In second place was Andrew Lloyd a builder from Frome, Somerset with a mixed bag of small carp drawn on peg 2 Emily’s. Andrew fished pole at 14 ½ metres with 6mm pellet on the deck to record a weight of 71lbs 9oz. In third place was local angler Mark Hayman from Exeter he drew peg 16 on Woodpecker fishing shallow waggler and bomb mark to put together a carp bag tipping the scales at 65lbs. Trevor Skinner a serving Solider from Shrewton drew peg 36 on Woodpeckers to take an all carp bag with his biggest fish of 7lb to weigh in with 61lbs to be in fourth place and in fifth place was Robert Giles of Gwent who was drawn on Emily’s to fish pole with pellets to take small carp to record a weight of 60lbs 11 oz.
The Fish 'O' Mania qualifiers move to Monk Lakes, Kent on Wednesday 11th May 2011 with another angler competing for that winning title.