Fish â€˜Oâ€™ Mania XXI Final
Record crowds turned out for Fish'O'Mania XXI final at Cudmore Fisheries last weekend.
The Stoke Sentinel reports that:
It was double delight for South Yorkshire as Andrew Geldart and Emma Pickering were crowned respective champions on a muggy day in Staffordshire.
Twenty-nine-year-old Geldart celebrated his first success after coming third in 2011, but for Pickering, aged 28, the title made it a hat-trick of successes following up wins in 2008 and 2013.
Geldart, from Leeds, claimed the men's prize of £30,000 while Pickering, from Doncaster walked away with a £1,000 prize.
Geldart was always in the running and was never worse than third place in the opening two hours, but took the lead at the sixth weigh-in. He went on to stretch his lead with a catch of 3.94 kg in the eighth, which turned out to be his last, as he put distance between himself Pemb Wrighting and Ashley Price.
"I cannot describe this feeling. I put so much time and effort into my fishing over the last few years trying to qualify for these finals. It has paid off and I have won today and I am absolutely over the moon. I got married about six weeks ago and then obviously this, so it is my year so far.
I never knew if I was going to win because it was so close, somebody could have gone and caught two fish and that could have wiped me out. The last half an hour was the worst half an hour of my life. I lost a fish in that last half hour, but lucky it didn't cost me."
Pickering's success was partly down to a strong last hour, netting over 3.5kg of fish to secure the win, having trailed behind Sophie Hill and Sam Perkins.
"It feels great to win and really good to do it two years in a row. I'm the only person to win it three times now as well so it is such a brilliant achievement for me."
The £1,000 prize for the biggest fish went to Daniel Brydon with a carp of 4.980kg.
In the international event, Team England, made up of Will Raison and Des Shipp, continued English dominance of the event as they collected top prize of £10,000 for a fourth year in a row. They led by almost four kilos at the first 30-minute weigh-in and by the two-hour mark that lead had increased to 11 kilos, before taking the overall title by 14.87kg from Holland in second place.
"With an hour to go we weren't really sure because there were a few carp being caught and we were beginning the think it would go the opposite way. It is great to win, brilliant."
There was a tense finish to the junior match before 18 year-old Cameron Cross from Sutton-in-Ashfield, won by just 20grams. Cross, who will be entering the main event next year, claimed the £1,000 top prize and made up for his disappointment in finishing fifth last year.
"It feels good and I'm really glad I have done it this year after losing out last time. It was close, but I got there in the end."