In a hard fought final played out in some tough conditions, local man Andy May finally got his hands on the coveted Fish’O’Mania as he held firm to take the title in the closing stretch. It was the Middlewich man’s third attempt at fishing’s big one and he fought off Kerry Kirkwood and Ross Harold to land the £50,000 prize.

With torrential rain all morning, it was a hard proposition for the 16 man field who had all won through the previous day at Cudmore in more benign conditions. It was Kerry Kirkwood, the eventual runner up, who lead after the opening two half hourly weigh-ins, before May assumed the lead after the third.

That last until the halfway mark when Essex man Ross Harold surged into a lead after a sparkling half hour. He maintained that over the next hour and looked in a string position for victory but the last 90 minutes of the match belonged to May as he dug in to win by three-plus kilos.

A delighted May, who used Cudmore as his base for his booming fishing coaching business was thrilled to have made it over the line: “It is just brilliant; it is something I have always wanted to do and to finally achieve it is just brilliant. The money is excellent but to have my name on the trophy means so much to me.

“My bank runner said with half an hour ago that a few more fish and I would have it in the bag. I had a decent skimmer towards the end and I knew then that I had done it.

“Because it was a small fish match a few fish could have swung it either way but I managed to hold on to the lead. I fished worms and casters in hard balls of ground bait and loose fed casters. There were so many fish at six metres, it was perfect for me.

“A bit of the money will pay the mortgage off, we will put some away, we have a couple of kids so it will be good to put some away for them in later life.”

Fish’O’Mania XXIII – Results

1. Andy May 27.150 kg (Peg 5)
2. Kerry Kirkwood 23.600 kg (Peg 4)
3. Ross Harold 23.050 kg (Peg 11)
4. Robert Minikin 21.750 kg (Peg 6)
5. Ian Giddins 20.675 kg (Peg 9)
6. Jason Collins 20.375 kg (Peg 1)
7. Ben Fisk 19.250 kg (Peg 12)
8. Les Marshall 18.650 kg (Peg 3)
9. David Woodworth 17.075 kg (Peg 7)
10. Jamie Hughes 16.100 kg (Peg 14)
11. Andy Power 15.500 kg (Peg 2)
12. Dale Stones 14.175 kg (Peg 8)
13. Nathan Watson 11.825 kg (Peg 13)
14. Stuart Fotheringham 10.075 kg (Peg 10)
15. Ryan Lidgard 9.475 kg (Peg 15)
16. Paul Wright 7.350 kg (Peg 16)