Andrew Bailey beat the traffic and then beat the field to take the eighth qualifying spot in Fish‘O’Mania XXV at Heronbrook Fisheries on Wednesday, by less than a pound from Robert Bestwick.
Bailey had only reached the fishery 20 minutes before the match was due to start but after a quick turnaround set to work, netting predominantly F1 and carp as the morning’s heavy rain began to clear into the afternoon.
Bestwick had already weighed in at 121lbs 5oz from Match Lake peg 4 when officials came to measure Bailey’s catch from Meadow peg 18 but the late arrival had just done enough – 122lbs 4oz – to book his spot at the £50,000 Grand Final, to be fished this year at Hayfield Lakes, Doncaster on Saturday, July 14
“It feels good to have qualified,” said Bailey. “I qualified from Heronbrook two years ago, when there was a semi-final on the Friday of the main event and I didn’t make it through to the main match, so to know I’ll be in the Grand Final this year is great.
“I fish at Hayfield quite a lot, so I will feel comfortable there. It’s fishing, so nothing is guaranteed, but it won’t hurt to know the lake.
“Traffic was a nightmare this morning and I didn’t get to my peg until 10:40 and didn’t start fishing until 11:15, fifteen minutes after the match started. I had some carp and some F1s and I am not very good at estimating weights but I thought I’d be close because I had some quite chunky fish.”
The next Fish‘O’Mania qualifier takes place on Saturday, May 5 at Partridge Lakes in Warrington.
Heronbrook Fisheries Qualifier – Top 5 1. Andrew Bailey – 122lbs 4oz
2. Robert Bestwick – 121lbs 5oz
3. Jack Walker – 99lbs 11oz
4. Ryan Lidgard – 90lbs 10oz
5. Barry Bush – 88lbs 8oz