Win­ning Fish O’ tac­tics

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Va­narama Fish O’Ma­nia XXIV Fi­nal (Sat) Cud­more Fish­eries, Arena Pool (25 pegs)

S SOON as he qual­i­fied for the Fish O’Ma­nia fi­nal, Jamie Hughes was named firm favourite to take the 2017 ti­tle – and the Wir­ral star duly obliged in the new-look event at Cud­more.

He won the coveted crown for a record third time with a 26-900 net of carp and ide – that’s three wins in six years for the MAP/ Bag‘em Baits man, a statis­tic that will surely never be bet­tered.

Cham­pion in 2013 and 2015, Jamie fin­ished a lit­tle over 5kg clear of the chas­ing pack headed by Pre­ston In­no­va­tions man Andy Power, who mounted a strong come­back in the clos­ing stages. But the dam­age had been done and Jamie was home to take the £50,000 prize. More im­por­tantly, he set that record which many thought could be done if he got the right peg.

His­tor­i­cally, the early num­bers on the Arena Pool are the most con­sis­tent, mean­ing pegs 1 to 10 would be the ones to draw the evening be­fore the big day – al­though Jamie thought 6 to 13 would be bet­ter. When he pulled out peg 7, it was truly game on!

“I was happy to draw peg 7 as it meant that I was in the game,” Jamie said. “I’d been on the op­po­site side of the lake last year, so I knew how hard it was on those pegs. That’s the key on this fi­nal – not mess­ing up a good peg when you get one. Know­ing the lake so well, I didn’t re­ally prac­tise a great deal be­cause the fish­ing can be so up and down that noth­ing is ever set in stone.

“The plan as such was to fish a sil­ver fish match, but keep an eye out for any carp be­ing caught and change tack ac­cord­ingly,” he con­tin­ued.

“There are lots of carp in the lake, but ex­pe­ri­ence shows that they don’t al­ways feed that well with lots of peo­ple on the bank. The weather was hot and still, too, and that’s never been a good com­bi­na­tion on the lake.”

Be­gin­ning with pel­let fished shal­low at 13m, Jamie mugged two carp of 2lb apiece in the open­ing 15 min­utes, fish that he could see cruis­ing about.

That was a great start, but the carp then van­ished so he moved on to his sil­ver fish lines at 6m and 13m on the deck where he’d been ping­ing casters, with a small amount of chopped worm pot­ted on to the shorter line to

get things go­ing quicker.

“I did get bites from ide quickly and at four to the pound they were the fish I was af­ter, but af­ter an hour or so these fish dis­ap­peared too!” he re­called.

“In fact, ev­ery­thing ex­cept the carp stopped feed­ing at this point. Where the ide are con­cerned I think this is down to the fact that they gorge on as much bait as they can get and then they’ve had enough.”

Sin­gle caster, fished on a light rig to fall through the wa­ter, was the ap­proach for the ide, but once they van­ished it be­came an out-and-out carp match.

“As soon as this be­came ap­par­ent I upped feed on my 13m line and slapped the rig around the edge of the feed,” he said.

“When I saw a carp I caught it, but I also had a few by fish­ing nor­mally and wait­ing for the float to go un­der. I think I ended up with 17 carp to 6lb, so it was a dif­fer­ent match to what I think a lot of peo­ple were ex­pect­ing.”

In the lead at the half­way point, Jamie never re­laxed his grip and paid no at­ten­tion to what was go­ing on around him.

“You can’t change what oth­ers are do­ing, so you get on and fish your own match,” he said. De­spite that late charge from Andy Power a few pegs away, the win was in the bag.

“It’s a bit silly to win three fi­nals in six years, and so many peo­ple ask me what the se­cret is – to my mind there isn’t one!” Jamie said.

“Draw­ing a peg that lets you com­pete is vi­tal, of course, and so is know­ing the venue, but just as im­por­tant is not be­ing daunted by the fi­nal and its

crowds and cam­eras, as this can cause an­glers who have never been there be­fore to crumble a bit. The money is also in your mind when you get into a win­ning po­si­tion!”

Win­ning one big-money match would be enough for most peo­ple, but Jamie now has the Maver Match This crown to go for at Hay­field Lakes later this sum­mer. How­ever, the money won’t be his goal.

“That’s a ti­tle I re­ally want, es­pe­cially af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond last year – I badly want that one on my CV,” he said. Af­ter his per­for­mance at Cud­more, who would bet against it?

Re­sult: 1 J Hughes, MAP/Bag‘em Baits, 26-900; 2 A Power, Pre­ston In­no­va­tions, 21-875; 3 R Harold, Ma­trix, 21-250; 4 S Jackson, Gar­bolino/Bait-Tech, 20-050; 5 S Cooke, Gar­bolino, 13-825; 6 C Weeder Jnr, Maver NW, 13-760; 7 B Giles, Milo, 13-100; 8 T Curd, MAP/Bait-Tech, 12-350; 9 J Red­grave, Maver Gold Dy­na­mite Baits, 12-125; 10 A Richards, Brown­ing, 12-025; 11 L Ben­nett, Maver NW, 11-725; 12 M Billen, Ger­many, 11-575; 13 S Open­shaw, Mosella, 10-650; 14 B Sharp, Maver, 7-725; 15 J Collins, MAP, 7-000; 16 S Hamil­ton, St He­lens Angling, 6-525; 17 S Bar­r­a­clough, Brown­ing, 5-025; 18 P Blinkhorn, Culcheth, 5-010; 19 D Roberts, Tri-Cast/Bait-Tech, 4-700; 20 C Scott, Gar­bolino/Spot­ted Fin, 4-550; 21 R Chap­man, MAP, 4-300; 22 W Rai­son, Daiwa, 4-125; 23 L Kerry, Pre­ston In­no­va­tions, 1-825; 24 K Pent­land, Colmic Wood­lands, 1-525; 25 A Adams, Oakham, 0-925.

Jump­ing for joy – af­ter win­ning the crown a third time.

Jamie takes aim to send the feed out 13m.

Jamie was de­lighted to draw peg 7. It’s in the bag! Jamie shows off his catch and tro­phy.

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