153 lbs winning haul for Chris (Hatman) Kendall at Barford Lakes Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier.

Fairly mild conditions greeted the competitors for the latest Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier held on Saturday 19th May 2012 at Barford Lakes Fishery, Barford, Norwich.
Chris Kendall (Yorkshire Anglers), a Recruitment Consultant from Ilkley, West Yorkshire secured the 10th Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier place into the grand final for 2012. Chris who is better known as ‘Hatman’ to his fellow anglers drew peg 20 on Railway lake where he fished method feeder with 6 mm pellets on a hair rig to net a winning weight of 153 lbs 7 ozs.
Chris Kendall said “I have never fished at Barford before and did not have much information to go on, only that Railway lake was not considered one of the ‘big fish’ lakes at the complex, but Tommy Pickering did mention to me that he thought it could produce a winning weight. A local angler told me that peg 20 was in an unfancied bit of the lake, and that was why fewer pegs were being used in the area, so I didn’t feel very optimistic. At first I caught several small F1 carp, but the average size went up, and overall the catch was mostly F1’s and small mirror and common carp, but far more larger carp from 3lb to 8lb than I thought I’d catch. Afterwards I found out that the bigger fish sometimes show in the area, but at the start of the match I didn’t even know there were many in the lake.”
“I used a method feeder with both micro pellets and groundbait on the feeder, and initially the hookbait was dead maggots, but a switch to a hair rigged pellet brought me more bites. Although, I’d set up to also fish pellet shallow and the margins I fished the method feeder for all but a few minutes. The peg was hard to fish owing to trees and brambles in the area, and casting was also difficult. I only lost a single hook length casting, but lost several method feeders when hooked fish found the submerged roots and branches. By the end of the match I was using my last suitable hook length and feeder. I think if a world class feeder angler had drawn the peg, and managed to cast to the small ‘sweet spot’ in the peg more often an even bigger weight would have been on the cards. I thought I was very lucky to qualify once into the Fish ‘O’ Mania grand final in 2011, but feel so incredibly lucky now. I was very nervous about last year’s final, but this now being my second time I’ll be a bit calmer, but only a bit.”
Runner up was Suffolk angler Alan Tuck (VDE Angling Direct), a painter and decorator. Alan drew Peg 17 on the Match lake where he fished corn and pellet on the pole to net 97 lbs 7 ozs of carp the largest 9 lbs. Third place fell to Matthew Greening (Woodys Angling Centre) from Hereford on peg 13 on Top lake where he took carp to 16 lbs on pellet fished shallow on the pole for his 95 lb weight. In fourth place local angler Lee Carver (VA Plastics) weighed in 92 lbs of carp from peg 16 on Pleasure lake. Fifth place went to Andy May with 89 lbs 4 ozs from peg 2 on Match lake.
On Saturday 26th May 2012 the Fish ‘O’ Mania action continues at Tunnel Barn Farm Fishery in Shrewley, in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside.