What a contrast to last year when this match was fished earlier in the month in bright warm sunshine and a cloudless blue sky.  The Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier held on Saturday 28th April 2012  at Lakeview Fishery, Melton Mowbray was almost like fishing in mid-winter with freezing cold winds, which continued all day, not allowing the temperature to rise much above 5 degrees and, continuous light rain until half an hour before the finish.

This venue though, has a history of providing a very tight match at the top, irrespective of the conditions, not producing massive weights but, providing a match where it is difficult to predict where it will be won from.
With only 3 lbs separating the top three positions, it was Simon Medd from Stockton on Tees, a Chemical Engineer fishing for Cleveland Angling Centre who took the winning spot.  Simon drew Canal peg 6 and started down the edge on pellet to catch 20 lbs of carp in the first 30 minutes.  He then switched to the far bank  using the same tactics and feeding little and often and, using only half a pint of loose fed pellets through the whole match, gradually built up his weight of 65 lbs 8 ozs made up of carp to 5 lbs to run out the eventual winner and the fifth qualifier for the 2012 Fish ‘O’ Mania grand final on 14th July 2012.
Only 2 lbs behind him was Sean Huggins, a regular Fish ‘O’ Mania competitor and past finalist, drawn on Serpent peg 1, weighing in with 63 lbs 8 ozs.  Sean openly admitted that he thought he was being battered on both sides and never thought he had a chance of being this close to the winner.  He again fished short and across, picking up two or three fish from each line, but lost three fish during the match which turned out to cost him the winners spot.
Third place and 3 lbs behind the winner, also losing a number of fish, was Ben Roberts from Flintshire, drawn on Serpent peg 24, fishing for Drennan North West and weighing in with a weight of 62 lbs 8 ozs.  In fourth place was Stephen Barraclough of Doncaster, drawn on Serpent peg 8 and fishing for Ultimate Barnsley Blacks, with a weight of 59 lbs 7 ozs, and fifth place went to Gary Miller of Cuffley, Hertfordshire, drawn on Stream peg 20 with a weight of 55 lb 8ozs.
The next Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier heads to Peatling Pools at Leicestershire on Wednesday 2nd May 2012.
Photo left to right:- Sean Huggins, 2nd place, Middle:- Simon Medd – Winner, Right:- Ben Roberts 3rd place.