Fishing his first ever Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier, Christopher Downs won the 14th golden ticket to Doncaster at Barston Lakes yesterday.

With torrential rain the previous two weeks leading up to the qualifier, there was clearly an adverse effect on the fishing. Thankfully on the day, the bad weather managed to stay away, however the damage to the qualifier had already been done. The anglers found bites hard to come by and one of the sections was won by only 13lbs.

With all of this in mind the match was proving to be a tight contest and only a handful of anglers were managing to get ahead of the rest of the field. With only 8lbs separating the 3rd and 10th placed anglers the closeness of the match was obvious.

However, after a few hours worth of fishing the contenders became apparent with three anglers taking a step up from the rest and barring a catastrophe were odds on to be there or there abouts at the end of the match.

It was Christopher Downs, who was fishing his first ever qualifier for Fish ‘O’ Mania who won the match comfortably in the end. Fishing from peg 130 on Barston Lake, he caught down the margins to his right on catmeat over corn giving him a final weight of 78lbs.

Chris, a Customer Care Officer who comes from Stretton near Burton on Trent struggled to catch in the first hour, however he slowly but surely started to get some big fish in with the biggest being a 15lbs carp. With only an hour to go Chris knew he had around 50lbs of fish and thought that if he could make up to the 80lbs mark he would be in with a good chance of winning. Luckily for Chris, he managed to catch a few smaller fish down the margins and then a good sized carp taking him 15 minutes to land, giving him his winning margin. Upon hearing that he had won, Chris commented;

“I am very delighted to win and can’t wait until the final. I have already got the holidays booked in so that I can spend a good week practising at Hayfield. Fingers crossed and hopefully I will get the right draw and fish it in the right way.”

Runner-up on the day was Tim Bull from Leamington Spa who ended with a fine bag of carp weighing 50lbs 4ozs. Fishing on the method feeder alternating maggots, corn and boilies on the hook, he was still over 20lbs behind eventual winner Chris.

In third place was the nearly man of this years competition, Kieron Rich who once again missed out on a winning ticket adding to his collection of runner up and third spot placings. The Manchester based angler took the best pole caught weight of the day fishing worm and caster to weigh in with 34lbs 12ozs.