The Go Fishing Show and Fish O'Mania 2009
Graham Marsden goes to Cudmore to see the show and the big match. Was it any better than at the NEC?
This was the first year the Go Fishing Show was to be held outdoors and following a few disappointing years at Birmingham's NEC everyone was wondering if the organisers had now got the formula right. And being as the show, which included the final of the prestigious Fish O'Mania competition, was being held at Cudmore Fisheries in Staffordshire, that lies a mere seven miles from where I live, I thought I'd better go along and see for myself.
So what is the right formula for the show? Ideally it has to be a showcase for British angling, inexpensive to visit, in a location that sits somewhere in the midlands, entertainment for all ages, comfortable and dry weather conditions, and a guarantee to please everybody.
Getting all those right is of course impossible, particularly the latter, and the weather is in the lap of the gods.
Demo for preston Innovations
My visit, along with my grandson Calum and old mate Eric Barnes, was on the Saturday, mainly because we wanted to see the match lads in action in the Fish O'Mania final, so I can only give my views on that one day.
It was a good start to the day for the weather was dry and not too warm, at least it was until I left the show at around 3pm. We had watched the first couple of hours of the match and then decided to go back to my house to watch the remainder on TV.
Dave Chilton with a demo of Kryston Bogey
The car parking was much better for the simple fact that it was free! OK, it was in a field and if you arrived an hour or more after the start of the show at 9am then you had a longish walk to get to the show area, for unlike the NEC there was no shuttle bus. I can't see anyone minding that after lashing out an outrageous seven quid to park at the NEC. Even following a few days rain around these parts the fields were no problem to walk on and in the gateways where you would have expected lots of mud they'd laid fine hardcore. On that theme the show area was muddy in places, but not to the point where it became ridiculous as it did at times in the old days at Chatsworth. Anyone who had any sense was wearing boots or wellies anyway.
Matt Hayes draws his usual crowd
The stands were the usual mix of manufacturer displays and retail selling, but the demos by some manufacturers and celebrity anglers were much better as they were based on the banks of the many and various lakes that make up the Cudmore complex. The practical fishing demos I saw were well attended and it was easy to see what was going on as the banks sloped upwards giving everyone a good view.
The Shimano Stand
On the positive side the refreshments were cheaper than the NEC, but on the negative side there were far too few places to sit and have a beer or a cup of tea or coffee. We went into the beer tent to have a bite and a drink and had to wait quite a while to get a table and a seat. There was plenty of room for more tables and chairs and I think this is something the organisers should address another year. It's not too bad for the youngsters but us older fellas need to take the weight of our legs a bit more often without having to queue for it.
An hour after the start of the match we went over to watch the Fish O'Mania final. The set-up was impressive, not just the fishing but the technology that was used to beam the match into viewer's homes. The cameraman who was on top of the crane to get the overhead shot should be paid a king's ransom for that job!
Steve Broad shows how it's done
The match anglers were a delight to watch, with obvious and tanglible skills being demonstrated as they fished hard for the £25,000 first prize. Many of the fish caught were barbel and it was interesting to hear one of them comment that those who have objections to stillwater barbel should come and see how the Cudmore barbel are thriving and the excellent condition they're in.
The video at the end of this report will give you a good flavour for the show and the match.
Results of the Fish O'Mania Final
Winner: Matt Hall 34.77kg
Runner-up: Rob Wootton 23.04kg
Third (and captor of the biggest fish): Mark Tullett 20.91kg
4. Adam Richards 17.54kg
5. Andy Power 15.96
6. Tony Curd 12.73kg
7. Edward Warren 11.85kg
8. Dave Swain 11.41kg
9. Mick Bull 11.15kg
10. Tony Robertson 10.75kg
11. Paul Christie 10.01kg
12. Chris Vandervleit 7.14kg
13. Peter Goodwin 3.26kg
14. Nathan Watson 3.07kg
15. Mark Stevens 2.95kg
16. Dave Roberts 2.65kg
Matt Hall, 47, from Awsworth, Nottinghamshire, became the first angler to win Fish'O'Mania twice and led from the second weigh-in. His first Fish O'Mania title was in 2003.
Matt won £25,000 and said:
"The title means a lot more to me than the money. To win it once is awesome but to win it twice is something else and I wanted it so badly. It's what I've always wanted since I won it once and no one had won it twice. I've pushed myself to do it and eventually I got there.
"The best thing in my eyes is Fish'O'Mania and I've been lucky to get through to the final four times. But I wanted to make amends after last year. A lot of people were saying to win 'I didn't see you catch any fish' but they weren't the only ones as I had to sit there not catching anything!"
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