This year saw a new venue for the Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifiers, Packington Somers set in the heart of the very scenic Packington estate, near Meriden in North Warwickshire.
On Saturday 30th April 2011 this Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier produced the closest finish recorded in the history of a Fish ‘O’ Mania with only 2ozs separating first and second place.
Drawn on Peg 31, Gearys Lake, Alan Bruce a Joiner from South Liverpool (Rays Tackle) fished method feeder at distance for the entire match. Using Swimstim green micro pellets and white 6mm boilies as hook bait, he caught skimmers and carp steadily throughout the match, his biggest going 8lb, to finish with a winning weight of 60lbs 14ozs, just 2ozs clear of second placed angler, Fish ‘O’ Mania regular Geoff Ringer. Geoff, who was kicking himself after the match for not sticking with his skimmer line during the last hour for one more skimmer, drew Peg 12, Willow Lake, one of the smaller lakes in the event, feeding pellet and fishing meat on the hook down the edge to catch mainly carp, the biggest of which went 10lbs and finished the match with a weight of 60lbs 12ozs to finish in second place by the narrowest of margins for a nail bite finish.
Local angler Pete Bennett, a Courier from Warwick, (Bag em match baits) drew on Anniversaries Lake Peg 6, and fished the pole, feeding chopped worm and casters to two islands and using caster on the hook, he netted carp to 12lbs to finish with 54lbs 5ozs. Fourth place went to another Fish ‘O’ Mania regular, Site Manager, Lee Thornton who drew Little Gearys peg 11 weighing in 52lbs 13ozs made up of skimmers, carp and tench. In fifth place was Darren Cox another regular to the Fish ‘O’ Mania scene and Team England International angler. Darren who drew on Gratuities peg 11 and caught carp and tench to finish with a weight of 52lbs 10ozs.
Being an unknown quantity for many of the competitors taking part, and the lakes being used on the day made up of 2 natural lakes with lots of open water and 3 smaller lakes where many of the far bank swims were not accessible to the long pole, method feeder, straight lead or pellet waggler tactics seemed to be the order of the day.
Alan Bruce said “I have never fished the venue at Packington Somers before, but was lucky to get some good advice on the morning from Mick Bull to fish to the island as the pegs next to me were on good form. The conditions on the day were difficult as really strong winds blowing in my face, but I fancied the peg and managed to catch 7 carp and 10 skimmers. The excitement kicked in when they said that I had won by 2oz, and has taken a couple of days for the news to sink in as everyone wants to fish the final. I was lucky to get six tickets this year with Packington Somers being my first qualifier, so I’m really happy. I am looking forward to the final at Cudmore Fisheries I know the venue well and fish it all the time. I have had a couple of close calls at qualifiers in the past with a fourth and fifth place finish but this is one of the greatest feelings getting to that Fish ‘O’ Mania final at Cudmore.”
The Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier heats move to the ever popular Stafford Moor Fisheries, Devon on Saturday 7th May 2011.