The race for the biggest prize in Angling kicked off this Bank Holiday Weekend with Neil McKinnon taking victory in the inaugural Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier at Viaduct Fishery in Somerset.

With the Easter weekend providing bags of sunshine for the first of the sixteen qualifiers, conditions were perfect for spectators but not so great for the anglers trying to bag up their catches.

The field of 130 anglers was made up of some high quality anglers who were well rehearsed in the Fish ‘O’ Mania set up and fought hard to claim their place in the final at Doncaster. However, it was Neil McKinnon (below) the Design Engineer from Gloucester who managed to work through the sun and put in a superb catch to take first place.

Neil who is a member of the Shakespeare Superteam was fishing Peg 19 on Spring Pool taking mostly carp up to 12lb on Pellet waggler giving him a winning weight of 147lbs. Ironically for Neil in 2006 he only received a ticket for Tunnel Barn Farm, although he was also allocated a ticket for Viaduct through the reserve list he was unable to fish making his successful visit to Viaduct all the sweeter in 2007.

In second place was Steve Mayo, a member of the Daiwa Dorking team and a man well experienced on the Fish ‘O’ Mania circuit. Steve who was fishing on the same Spring Pool as Neil weighed in with 139lbs catching Carp up to 18lbs. The second place at Viaduct adds to Steve’s second he received at White Acres in 2006. With a number of qualifiers still to go, Steve will be pushing hard to go one further and claim a ticket for Doncaster in 2007.

Third place fell to Kieron Rich who recorded 121lbs and Ben Leach who received 100lbs 6ozs and Anthony Page with 94lbs 03ozs.

Upon claiming his victory Neil stated, “I had a good chat to some of the local anglers who gave me some good information on the venue which helped me out a lot. I caught mostly Carp but managed to get one Tench as well. I was fishing on the same pond as Steve Mayo and could see that he was having a lot of success. When we came to weighing in, I was sure that I wouldn’t have enough as he seemed to have a great catch. However, it turned out to be my day and I just managed to get the win ahead of him. It still hasn’t settled in and I am really looking forward to fishing my first Fish ‘O’ Mania final.

Neil is pictured with the NFA’s new, ‘I’m a Fish O Maniac’ t-shirt which is available for only £9.99 by calling the NFA directly on 0115 981 3535.