Andrew Neal from Abergavenny, won the penultimate Fish ‘O’ Mania qualifier last weekend at Moorlands Fishery in Hartlebury, near Kidderminster, booking the Welshman’s place in the 2008 final.

The match had a full house, of 130 anglers taking part meaning there would be no spare pegs to exploit, like the previous weekends winner who claimed over 200lbs worth of fish due to the extra space. In addition to a complete allotment of anglers, the blustery conditions meant the fishing was always going to be variable and prevent such high match weights.

The winner was optimistic from the start drawing fancied peg number 12 on Moors Pool. After receiving some good tips from the regulars, Andrew went out to fish the peg using the short pole at 5 metres, feeding pellets and corn to ascertain the levels of feeding in the swim. With reasonable success catching several pounds of silver fish, he then moved into the corner for the remainder of the match where he successful fished at 13 metres alternating between pellet and meat hookbaits over pellet and corn.

There were a number of fish in his swim, however due to the nature of the peg it was known that the fish were tough to land. However, he did what he had to do minimising his losses and landing all carp up to 8lbs and winning the match with 70lbs 12ozs.

Initially, when the anglers were weighing in, Andrew was not as confident as he had been despite hearing that a good weight was 57lbs recorded on one of the other lakes. Believing he had only 60lbs, the news that another angler had 66lbs meant Andrew thought his match was effectively over.

However, as his own weigh in approached and the scalesmen stated that he himself had over 70lbs of fish, Andrew was over the moon. Talking to Andrew, who is a hotel manager from the Gateway to the Brecon Beacons in Abergavenny, after the match he commented, “I have fished Moorland’s a lot in the past and so I had a game plan before I started and stuck to it throughout – thankfully it worked. I can’t wait for the final and have already booked the time off work to get some practice in.  I have never been to Cudmore before but it is a first class venue though, so I am really looking forward to it.”

Andrew finished just over 4lbs ahead of runner-up Karl Webster from Manchester who finished with 66lbs 3ozs. Karl weighed in a mixed bag of carp and skimmers from peg 25, fishing pellet shallow on the pole on Island Pool.

Third place went to former Fish ‘O’ Mania winner Nathan Watson who weighed in 57lbs 5ozs from peg 55 on Meadow Pool fishing on the pole over pellet and meat up in the water.