Peter Rice from Redditch booked his place in the final of Fish ‘O’ Mania as he used all of his local insight to win the recent qualifier at Tunnel Barn Farm in Warwickshire this bank holiday weekend.

Anglers enjoyed warmer weather and a gentle southerly breeze on match day which put the shoals of F1 carp for which Tunnel Barn is renowned in an obliging mood for this qualifier.

The top five competitors all recorded over 90lbs worth of fish with only two sections underperforming with winning weights of 52lbs 9ozs and 56lbs 4ozs. The lowest winning weight in the other 11 sections of the match was 76lbs 3ozs, putting Tunnel Barn as one of the best Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifiers held so far. 

In the end it was a favourable draw, expert venue knowledge and a favourable wind all day which helped separate the winner from the other likely contenders. It was fishery manager Peter Rice who drew peg one on Canal Pool to blow away the rest of the field with a final weight of 195lbs 9ozs.

Peter caught a huge amount of fish throughout the match with his first landed after just 10 minutes and then another 19, in the first hour alone. He continued to catch well before taking his fishing to the next level towards the end of the match, catching 78 fish in the last two hours.

Although Peter set out to fish pellet, as the wind turned into his peg, he took the decision to go back to the old favourite of double bronze maggot fed shallow on the pole. Feeding little and often he interchanged between 5m out straight in front of him and in the margin to land mostly F1’s, with his biggest fish being a ghost carp weighing in at 4lbs.

After the match Peter commented, “Drawing the first peg on Canal, I just had a feeling for the first time at Fish ‘O’ Mania that I may just have a chance of doing well. Having never fished the final before it will be a unique experience, as watching it on the television is the closest I have ever got to the £25,000 prize.”

In second place was Ian Dixon who was fishing on New Pool, peg 26 finishing with a cracking 114lbs 15ozs. In the same way as winner Peter, his catch consisted mainly of F1’s except for a bonus 10lb common. Ian, who hails from Hampshire and fishes for Preston Innovations Delcac, fished the whole match using pellets at 14 and 16 metres.

In third was local ace Craig O’Brien who weighed in 97lbs 1ozs and previous Fish ‘O’ Mania finalist Jon Arthur took fourth spot with 96lbs 10ozs. Fifth place went to Fox Match/Got Baits sponsored Lee Thornton of Huntingdon who put 91lbs 7ozs on the scales and sixth was Shane Trower weighing in with 83lbs 7ozs.