And So It Begins
Fish’O’Mania Qualifier – Heronbrook
My first Fish’O’Mania qualifier of the year was at Heronbrook. With pretty much every peg in on the venue it was always going to be a drawbag affair dominated by gaps, corners and anywhere with some room. No chance of that as peg 5 on Canal stuck to my hand!
Every peg was in and after an hour I’d already lost all enthusiasm. The far bank was too deep and also had a big snag right in front of me where I ideally wanted to fish. I tried shallow fishing but that was a waste of time. I perhaps should’ve packed up but instead I decided to fish dow the edge and try and snare a lump or two. I got seen off by a couple of creatures that went through undercut roots and managed a few fish before tipping back at the whistle. The guys either side battered me but only 50lb odd won the section, which was miles off the winners.
Steve Openshaw won off Bridge Pool with 120lb on maggot shallow and my good mate Dave Brown was second with 109lb off Meadow 15, then Jamie Hughes was just 2lb behind off Bridge 1.
It felt a bit of a wasted journey for me other than catching up with old friends and brushing up on my edge skills…
There was only just over 90 anglers on the first qualifier at Viaduct so I wasn’t at all surprised to see spaces at Heronbrook as well. In fact you could’ve just turned up on spec and fished, which is a shame. I’m sure the ogling Trust will try and blame it on the new format or whatever but I think they’ve just got themselves to blame after such a let down the previous year. The semi final format they experimented with last year simply didn’t work and upset a lot of people. Also, as good as Cudmore is I don’t think everyone wants to see a small fish dominated Final. Without any big carp to go for it’s just not attractive to so many anglers who aren’t all young speed merchants.
Now it seems this year’s Final will have every peg in with no gaps! I’m not sure if they’ve thought that through. The weights will be really low and where will the cameramen go? And where will the fish go when they’re weighed in every 30 minutes? They normally go in a spare net to one side of the angler. That aint gonna happen this time! I just hope it’s not as disappointing an event as I’m fearing…
I’ve only picked six or seven relatively local qualifiers this year. I’m wondering how many qualifiers will be sell outs this year, especially with potentially more attractive Match This and Golden Reel qualifiers to choose.
In the end, everyone who wanted to get on at Heronbrook did, plus there were still four pegs left in the bag afterwards. That included the peg everyone wanted, Meadow 26! It’s little predictable at Heronbrook when it’s so tightly pegged as pretty much everyone we picked out at the start who had some room framed. Thankfully it looks like the owner Neil is digging another lake around the back of Canal Pool, so maybe next year we won’t be crammed in peg for peg?