Our first Fish-O-Mania qualifier brought a disappointing change in the weather with cooler temperatures and bitterly cold easterly winds which affected weight on the favoured Colton Lake (many anglers found it impossible to hold a pole in the first hour).
The Pleasure and Match Lake fished well from the start with local angler Mick Bartrum (Daiwa/Angling Direct) taking 6 carp mid-water in the first half hour. But as bites dried up, he was over taken by Diawa Dorking angling Simon Wheeler who won the lake with 94lb 13ozs.
After the first hour it was obvious that the winning weight would come from the Pleasure Lake where four anglers on the causeway were taking fish throughout the match. Pegged on the causeway on the Pleasure Lake, local Embassy Pairs qualifier Gary Kiddell was sandwiched between two previous Fish'O'Mania qualifiers Nathan Watson and Phil Ringer. All anglers were fishing mid-water and both Phil and Nathan caught well in the first hour, after which Gary started taking more fish and over took last year's Fish'O'Mania winner, Nathan Watson and weighed 101lb compared to Watson's 84lb 10ozs.
The Pleasure Lake was dominated though by Southampton Property Developer and Home Stores Angling Centre angler Ray Hayward who was the qualifier on the day with a spectacular catch of 215lb 5ozs. Pegged on the very much on form, point on the causeway (peg 79); Ray fished the waggler towards the middle, fishing a size 18 hook, 18" deep with luncheon meat. Ray caught a carp on his first cast and continued to catch well throughout the match. By the last hour of the match Ray averaged a fish every 25-30 seconds.
1st Ray Hayward (Home Stores Angling Centre) (215-05 Pleasure Lake)
2nd Phil Ringer (Essex County VDE) (151-06 Pleasure Lake)
3rd Gary Kiddell (Team Barford) (101-00 Pleasure Lake)
4th Simon Wheeler (Daiwa Dorking) (94-13 Match Lake)
5th Nathan Watson (Grimsby) (84-10 Pleasure Lake)
6th Mick Bartram (Daiwa/Angling Direct) (83-10 Match Lake)