Angling: Big-money event has fresh twist in the tail

Emma Pickering at a Fish-O-Mania qualifier event at Hayfields Lakes.
Emma Pickering at a Fish-O-Mania qualifier event at Hayfields Lakes.
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I do not think that there is a match angler in the country who does not look forward to the yearly Fish O’Mania contest – and it does not seem that it will be 21 years this year since the very first final back in 1994.

Where have all those years gone?

This event goes from strength to strength each year, and 2015 will be no different with thousands of anglers applying for tickets to compete in the 16 qualifying rounds – reward for which is a place in the final at Cudmore Fisheries in Staffordshire on Saturday, July 18.

And all will be competing for the top prize of £30,000 with £5,000 for the runner-up and a further £1,000 for whoever catches the biggest fish on the day.

The Arena lake at Cudmore has seen a few changes in the past few months as the place was drained and then netted and a good number of the better-sized carp have been transferred to other lakes on the site.

They have been replaced by much smaller fish and also more silverfish such as roach, bream, chub and ide.

Thousands of these have been introduced and it is hoped that these fish will create more variation in the final, as in the past the carp have tended to settle in certain areas and therefore these spots have dominated the final catches.

The aim is that the new stocking policy will create a much fairer final, as these new fish tend to spread out.

Also these fish will respond to more natural bait such as worms and maggots.

Tickets for the qualifier will go on sale early in the new year and, as usual, I forecast that will be a sell-out at all of the 16 nominated venues.

I do have a copy of these venues and there are a couple of new ones from last year.

Maver Larford lakes and Retford’s Hallcroft both get the chop and they are replaced by Messingham Sands and Moorlands Farm.

Altogether there will be 2,500 places available for the hopeful contestants.

Details of the ticket sales are not yet available but I do understand that it will be the usual random draw with costs unchanged. As I mentioned in a previous article, in recent years some people have not bothered applying for tickets but have simply turned up on the day hoping that there will be some absentees whose place they can take.

The Angling Trust did promise last year that they would investigate this loophole but, so far, things have been very quiet on that subject.

I have heard of some anglers who have spent an absolute fortune on both tickets and expenses, so great is their desire to reach the final, but for those nearer home who wish to take part here are a few of the local venues and dates.

Saturday, April 4, Hayfield Lakes (Doncaster) 130 pegs, Saturday, April 18, Messingham Sands (Scunthorpe), 160 pegs, Saturday May 9, Oaks (Sessay, North Yorkshire), 150 pegs, Saturday, June 13, Woodlands (Thirsk), 150 pegs and Wednesday, June 24, Lindholme Lakes (Doncaster), 300 pegs.

The final is on Saturday, July 18. The best of luck to you all.

Well done those people who attended the recent trophy presentation evening which was held at the Leeds Anglers Club as they raised a magnificent £700 which will be shared between two charities, Combat Fatigue and Macmillan Nurses.