Andy Bennett won a gripping Fish‘O’Mania which went right down to the wire as he finished with a total match bag of 52.200kg to see off the challenges of Simon Skelton (45.225kg) and Jamie Hughes (36.9kg) and take home the £50,000 winner’s prize.

With just four kilos between the top three heading into the final half hour it was anyone’s match but Bennett held onto his position from peg six at the top of the leaderboard, taking 8.725kg in the final 30 minutes to Skelton’s 4.1kg, while Hughes didn’t net.

As a result of his win, Bennett automatically qualifies for Fish‘O’Mania 2020. Runner-up Skelton takes home £10,000.

“I am absolutely made up,” said a beaming Bennett. “I cannot believe it has come to plan. I was hoping they would come back late on the pole and they did, so I am made up.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am a fishing coach, so this is my living, so what this will do for me is massive. I want to push on and try and win more and more now.

“I didn’t really know where I was up to, it was only in the last 40 minutes that I knew I was in with a chance. I thought Jamie was well ahead but we have clawed it back and he didn’t catch in the last hour. I didn’t think Simon had what he had, I was just totally focused on what I was doing and it came good in the end.

“This peg is a pole peg, it narrows up so the fish naturally push onto the pole line. I had a couple early, a couple late and a few on the waggler. Looking back, I should have sat on the pole all day but it is hard when you’re not catching and you want to make something happen. You have to be patient and stick to your guns.”

Fish’O’Mania Results
Andy Bennett (Peg 6) 52.500kg
Simon Skelton (Peg 5) 45.225kg
Jamie Hughes (Peg 2) 39.600kg
Jordan Holloway (Peg 1) 34.800kg
Andy May (Peg 18) 34.675kg
Will Raison (Peg 15) 32.500kg
Gavin Bridge (Peg 4) 28.175kg
Luke Webster (Peg 7) 26.150kg
Kristian Jones (Peg 8) 24.195kg
Lee Thornton (Peg 14) 22.350kg
Carl Visser (Peg 19) 21.655kg
Lee Riley (Peg 3) 19.675kg
Vince Cross (Peg 13) 16.725kg
Abbi Kendall (Peg 9) 16.050kg
Simon Fry (Peg 22) 15.955kg
Luke Gasson (Peg 20) 15.850kg
Ben Hagg (Peg 16) 15.800kg
Paul Gibson (Peg 17) 12.850kg
Tim Peters (Peg 12) 9.000kg
Douglas Jackson (Peg 21) 8.430kg
Ben Emery (Peg 24) 8.080kg
Markus Billen (Peg 23) 1.825kg
Roland Lucas (Peg 10) 0.125kg
Steve Brindley (Peg 11) 0kg

Sarah Taylor of the Wirral won Fish‘O’Mania Ladies on her FishO debut. The 18-year-old had a total catch weigh of 18.5kg, made up of predominantly skimmers, to see off the challenge of Linda Abbott and win £1,000.

“I have watched Fish‘O’Mania as I have been growing up and I have always thought I’d love to compete in it, so to win is something else, it’s unbelievable,” said Taylor.

“I mostly fished 30meters on the deck fishing for skimmers, because I had a feeling the carp wouldn’t feed. I ended up with 18kg of them so it has been a decent day. I always felt like I was on track but I wasn’t necessarily sure how the other pegs were going to perform. You never feel safe because the carp could suddenly switch on.”

Fish‘O’Mania Ladies Results
Sarah Taylor – 18.500kg Peg 5
Julie Abbott – 12kg Peg 2
Samantha Sim – 8.525kg Peg 1
Gemma Matthews – 3.250kg Peg 3
Emma Drysdale – 0.325kg Peg 4
Linda Billington – 0.300kg Peg 6

Billy Marlow took the Fish‘O’Mania Junior title with a bag of 11.050kg, although he thought it was Nathan Mills on the next peg who had taken the title.

“It is hard to put into words,” said Billy of his win. “I thought I was one fish off, I had said to everyone behind me that I was one off. I didn’t feel I had fished a great match but it just shows that one last fish in the last half hour can do it for you. Even when Nathan’s bag came out, I still thought he had done me.

“I only had three carp but they were all a decent size stamp so it just shows that you don’t necessarily need many bites. The prize money will probably go towards a new pole.

“I entered a few of the main event qualifiers but I will try again next year as it would be great to come back in the main final and hopefully one day try and win that.”

Fish‘O’Mania Juniors Results
Billy Marlow – 11.050kg Peg 5
Nathan Mills – 10.550kg Peg 6
Joshua Newman – 7.250kg Peg 2
Ethan Etherington – 1.950kg Peg 4
Zak Worby-Smith – 1.875kg Peg 1
John Light Jnr – 1.525kg Peg 3