If ever a match man deserved a coveted place in the Fish ‘O’ Mania final it has to be former World Champion, and England star Tom Pickering (Preston Innovations).

Tom has been trying to reach the final of this major competition since its inception some seventeen years ago! At long last all his effort and hard work have paid off as Tom will be lining up on the Arena Pool at Cudmore Fishery on Saturday 17th July. This year he will be swapping the microphone, as one of the regular co-presenters on Sky TV, for a pole to compete for the £25,000 prize. He has had very little sleep at just the thought of it all. Tom said after the qualifier match “he had been trying for years to get through to the final and today’s result was one step closer to his ambitions in winning this prestigious competition”. Tom went on to say he’d always wanted to ring Keith Arthur up and say “sorry I can’t do the commentary this year because I’m in the final for real” and now he’d got his wish.
This penultimate qualifier was held at Woodlands Lake, Thirsk, North Yorkshire on Saturday 19th June. Tom was lucky to get a ticket as he was in 28th position on the reserve list, and turned up on the day, and because of no-shows he got into the draw. He drew Skylark 26 and thought the pegs in the middle of the lakes had the edge. With a strong wind blowing and little time to set up he opted for the plain route, one method feeder rod and a straight leger jobbie; there was no place for the pole this time! As normal, and not surprisingly, Tom’s tactics proved a success as his first fish fell to method feeder with pellets squashed round it and a 6 ml hard pellet on the hook. The first fish was a 10 lb carp, but Tom noticed an angler doing better with groundbait wrapped around the feeder, so this was his next move. This small transformation brought the peg to life, and by the halfway stage he was well on his way with fifteen carp. At the end of the five hours Tom had twenty six carp and three bream for a runaway win with 149-6-0, and his first ever place booked in a Fish ‘O’ Mania final after all those years of trying.

Adam Richards, a former finalist and a former Kamasan Matchman of the Year took second place on Partridge Lake peg 3 where he poled pellet shallow to net carp in his 90-4-0 as sport slowed down in the last couple of hours of the match. In third place was John McNicholas (Wigan) with 79-4-0 of straight bomb and pellet caught carp from Skylark peg 30. Back on Partridge Lake Andy May (Ultima) came home in fourth place with 74-6-0 of carp from peg 8.