This was not a day for the faint hearted, where thermals and windbreakers were the order of the day for the 130 competitors in this, the sixth Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier of the 2014 season on Saturday 26th April at Maver Larford Lakes, Redditch, Worcestershire. 

The gusting wind was bitterly cold and at times there were waves a foot high on both Match Lake and Specimen Lake, the only lakes used for this match due to the water level on Arena still well above the platforms, and not having dropped to an acceptable and safe level after all the rain of the past three months.

At the draw, Match Lake peg 42, opposite the island, an end peg offering shelter from the wind courtesy of the high bank behind and surrounding trees was fancied, along with Match Lake peg 3 and Specimen Lake peg 82, again end pegs where it was felt the wind would push the F1’s and carp.

Richard Wyatt drew Match peg 42, with Warren Martin drawn on Match peg 3, whilst drawn on Specimen peg 82 was Carl Hulley. At the off both Richard and Warren opted to fish short, top 4 or 5 and started to catch almost immediately, continuing to catch steadily throughout the match and these appeared to be the only anglers putting any quantity of fish together. At the end of the match it was felt that Richard had done enough to win but, unbeknown to him and everyone else, there was a surprise in store.

The surprise was Andy Geldart (Drennan Barnsley Blacks), a bricklayer from Whitkirk, Leeds, who had drawn the unfancied Match Lake peg 22, and had been quietly slipping quality fish, the biggest of which weighed approximately 15 lb, into his net. Due to the conditions, Andy had opted to start on the straight lead with 8mm pellet hook bait and loose feeding 8mm pellets over the top. After a couple of fish on this he switched to the method feeder with micro pellets, still feeding 8mm over the top and finished the match with a winning weight of 50.620 kgs to qualify for the Fish ‘O’ Mania grand final at Cudmore Fisheries on Saturday 12th July.

Second place went to Richard Wyatt (New Milton AC) a Managing Director, from Bournemouth, by a very narrow margin (1.08 kgs.). He started on top 4 with banded 6mm pellets, picking up a few fish, then switched to fishing long on the deck, alternating between these 2 lines before finally fishing down the edge in the last hour. Richard finished the match with 23 carp to 7 lbs a 4 F1’s, losing a 4 lb carp at the net which cost him the match and qualification to fish the final.

In third place was Warren Martin (Matrix), a quality Surveyor from Dereham, Norfolk, who drew Match Lake peg 3 and weighed 36.720 kgs. Fourth place from Match Lake peg 19 went to the evergreen Ritchie Hull (Garbolino, Dynamite Baits), a Tiler from Bedworth with a weight of 35.160 kgs. Finally in fifth place from Specimen Lake peg 14 was Craig O’Brien, a roofer from Birmingham with a weight of
33.000 kgs.

The next Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier moves to Tunnel Barn Farm at Shrewley, Warwick for the bank holiday weekend on Saturday 3rd May.