Following almost two weeks of typical April showery weather, cold easterly winds and the occasional frosty night the fishing was always going to be tough for many fishing the third Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier at Makins Fishery, Bramcote, Nuneaton on Saturday 21st April 2012.
The event utilised all the large open lakes at the fishery so it was no surprise, therefore, to find the fish still generally shoaled up in their “winter quarters”. Because water temperatures are still low many carp are cruising shallow trying to find that layer of warmer water and it was these fish which were targeted by a lot of the anglers, and so provided the source of most of the leading weights.
Steve Cooke, better known as 'Cookie' to everyone on the match circuit became the third Garbolino match ace to qualify for a place in this year’s grand final of the Fish ‘O’ Mania on 14th July.
Top anglers Steve Cooke and Phil Ringer found themselves on adjacent pegs in the middle of Lake 1 and not surprisingly, a real battle ensued. Eventually it was Garbolino sponsored Steve from Retford, Nottinghamshire who came out on top to win the event with an excellent 146lbs 6ozs of carp to 12lbs all bar one being taken on the pellet waggler.
Steve Cooke said, “I had just driven back from fishing a festival at Whiteacres leaving at 5am that morning to arrive at Makins at 8.45am ready for the draw. I noticed Phil Ringer had drawn so I decided to have a laugh as I had been away fishing for a week with him and Steve Ringer at Whiteacres, so I walked over to Phil and told him to come and look at my peg 8, knowing that this would be next to his peg. He could not believe it, but then I had to come clean and admit that I had not even drawn. To my amazement I actually drew peg 9 next to Phil with only 20 or so pegs left to draw at the time”.
“I had one carp on feeder and the rest on pellet waggler and 8 mm pellets on a 11.6g max waggler rod to 6lb main line and 0.20 hook length to a 16 Guru QM1 with a banded pellet, and caught about 16 fish. This is the sixth time I will have fished in the Fish ‘O’ Mania grand final after winning it in 1999, but this will be my first time fishing a final at Cudmore Fisheries”.
Stuart Belton from Newark on peg A20 on Lake 2 just pipped Phil Ringer for second place with 127lbs 13ozs. Stuart caught a couple of early fish shallow on the waggler but then found some “lumps” down his right hand margin on luncheon meat the biggest being 15lbs. Phil Ringer secured third with 121lbs 13ozs catching carp to 10lbs on the pellet waggler.
Tim Dabrowa, also in the hot area on Lake 1, took fourth spot with 72lbs again on the pellet waggler. Fifth was Sean Huggins who weighed 68lbs 14ozs from Peg 26 on Lizard, and sixth was Marc Jones with 66lbs 2ozs from peg 4 on Lake 5.
On Wednesday 25th April the Fish ‘O’ Mania action moves to Woodlands View, Droitwich, and it will be interesting to see who will join the Garbolino star anglers, Stephen Tucker, Simon Fry and Steve Cooke in the line up to the grand final.