Past Fish ‘0’ Mania champion Steve Cooke from Nottinghamshire served up a real treat with a convincing win at the Heronbrook qualifier with a winning margin of almost 41kgs over his nearest rival.
All the talk at the draw was of Island Lake being highly fancied by many of the competitors. However, the weather during the week and on the day conspired to put a damper on these hopes leaving the match wide open.
It was Steve Cooke, a 49 year old in the engineering trade from Retford in Nottinghamshire who raced to victory fishing from peg 6 on Match Lake to catch 68.28kgs of fish. The winner decided that his main line of attack would be the method feeder fished tight to the island 25metres away. Casting to within 6 to 12 inches of the island bank, and using Ringers Green groundbait, Steve alternated between Solar 6mm Red and Yellow Boilies as he raced ahead of the competition and never looked back.
Steve had the fish biting immediately and secured his first carp after only 10 minutes. Following his first fish he caught consistently for the remainder of the match netting 3 to 4 fish in his subsequent casts. Although Steve did have one short spell without catching, it was only a temporary break before the swim burst back into life again. All this success led to a field-shattering weight of 68.28kgs of carp with his biggest being a good 12lb to book his ticket to Doncaster in July.
Steve on his way to an easy victory and a place in the 2007 Fish O Mania final.
Speaking to Steve during the match, NFA match organiser Bob Dyer commented on how calm and relaxed he looked, to which Steve responded, “When you have confidence in what you’re doing and you feel it could be your day, then there is no need to be anything other than relaxed, it makes the fishing easier”.
It is clear from the results why Steve was so relaxed as his nearest rival was almost 41kgs behind him as Andy Moors claimed second place with a weight of 27.92kgs.
Following the match Steve stated, “I have fished so many of these qualifiers before I knew that I must attack properly to win. I didn’t expect to win it like I did but the fish started biting early and I just kept my nose in front”.
This is Steve’s fifth visit to the Fish ‘O’ Mania final as Steve commented, “I have been there before, so I have experience and am as confident as you can be with these matches. It all depends on the draw but like at Heronbrook you have to go out and attack to win, there is no second place with this competition”.
With Andy Moors finishing in second place, third place on the day went to the runner up from Browning Cudmore, Keiron Rich. Keiron will add Heronbrook to his list of near misses where he fished similar tactics to the winner but was unable to produce the same prolific weights catching 27.14kgs on peg 46, Match Lake.
In fourth place was Edward Warren, fishing his first ever Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier catching Carp to 9lbs and weighing in 26.88kgs. Fifth place went to Andy May who drew Island peg 15, and using the Method Feeder with Hair Rigged Pellet, weighed in with 25.50kgs.
Winner Steve is pictured with the NFA’s new, ‘I’m a Fish O Maniac’ t-shirt which is available for only £9.99 by calling the NFA directly on 0115 981 3535.