Winning Fish O’ tactics
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.