Local knowledge once again proved the key to success as Sean Clifford from Rochester, Kent claimed victory in the Monk Lakes Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier.

On a day where a full field of 130 anglers fought it out amongst very cold and windy conditions the fishing was going to be tough for everyone and it was going to need something special to win the match.

However, it was the BT engineer Sean Clifford who called time on the match, fishing paste over pellet to take carp weighing up to 6lbs for his winning weight of 154lbs 4ozs. Sean who fishes for Preston Innovations DELCAC was lucky to be drawn on the fancied peg 113 on Match Lake as he only received his qualifier ticket through the NFA’s reallocation process.

It was a great win for Sean (pictured below) at his local venue; however he is no stranger to the fishery as only last week he won a local match with a 155lb weigh in. Sean stated, “Before the match we knew that there were about 10 pegs which could produce a winner and I was lucky to be drawn on one of those. I went into the match with the idea of fishing long, up in the water; however when I drew peg 113 I needed to change to shorter distances. I didn’t start catching for the first 30 minutes so thought my chance had gone, however after that the fish came biting. I switched between 6m and 13m line and just kept on catching from there on.

Sitting next to Sean on peg 112 was Huntingdon angler Lee Thornton who also fished paste over pellet to take carp to 7lbs totalling 132lbs 12ozs. It was a close contest between the two anglers with Lee catching slightly bigger fish from his peg up until the last hour. From then on Sean continued to catch the fish while Lee could not maintain his high standards.

Sean stated, “I knew it would be a close call with Lee as he was doing really well and a lot of the bigger fish seemed to be at his peg. I didn’t believe that I had won until it was announced and I was a little shell shocked that it was my name that was read out. This is my first final; however some of my teammates have made it to the final before so I will be asking them for some tips. It’s a one in sixteen chance of winning so anything could happen on the day. Fishing the Fish ‘O’ Mania final is a once in a lifetime achievement and the feeling of catching the fish and being successful is the whole reason why we go fishing”.

In 3rd place was Terry Edwards from Wickford in Essex who drew peg 51 on Match Lake 2 where he had a net of carp, barbel, Ide and F1’s for a final weight of 108lbs 10ozs. In 4th place was Robert Tilbury from Ashford who weighed in 104lbs 8ozs from peg 48. Fifth place fell to George Manoli and in 6th was Kieron Rich who came close again following his 3rd place at Viaduct.