How To Qualify For Fish'O'Mania
Here is an article from MAPs website after my recent qualification for Fish'O'Mania. For more see MAPs website.
Think of Fish’O’Mania in recent years and one name will spring to mind, Jamie Hughes – Reigning Two-Time Champion, qualified for the last four consecutive finals and is now firmly on track for his 5th…
Thanks to a format change the qualifiers were starting earlier than previous years and when 150 of the UK’s top anglers were faced with a lake, which was frozen only a few days previous, it was clear that it was going to be a tough day. Jamie drew peg 1 on Canal and too cut a long story short absolutely ran away with the match, a final weight of 141lb 5oz was nearly 60lb ahead of 2nd placed Andrew Mann.
We caught up with Jamie shortly after his qualification…
Firstly huge congratulations on qualifying for the semi final first time of asking, the draw gods obviously played a part but was that your first choice peg on the day before the draw?
As with every qualifier, the draw played a massive part! Before the match I felt that a weight around 70-90lb would be enough to win. With the cold weather there were possibly 20 pegs that were capable of this.
My first peg choices would have been pegs 1, 20-24 on Club Pool or 25, 27 and 2 on Jenny's. Peg 1 on the Canal would have closely followed although recent matches on that pool had been difficult! That said all you can ask for in these events is a peg with half a chance, the peg I drew definitely did that!
Can you talk us through how you approached the match?
My match was possibly as simple as they come, I began dobbing bread to the rushes to the right of my peg. The first hour was brilliant with 12 f1s and 3 carp finding there way to my keep net, the fish in canal are a big stamp so I possibly had 40lb at that point. After this I moved to my left where the lake ended, I had left this area for as long as possible hoping that a few fish would settle there, by dobbing bread again I had another 20 fish in a hectic spell. Some of these were proper carp around 6-8lb.
At the halfway point I had nearly 100lb in the net! Over the next 2 hours I swapped between my 2 lines catching the odd fish until both lines were completely devoid of fish. At 3pm I fed my first bit of bait into the peg. 10 maggots were cupped in at 6m. I has 4 bites on this line in the final 30 and 2 f1s and 2 carp finished my match nicely!
Did you feel that you were running away with it after a few hours or is it just about getting the most from your peg and not worrying about others?
After an hour it became obvious that I has a massive chance to qualify, there were plenty of signs that with the tight pegging on the pool, the fish were being pushed into my peg.
Then it was just a case of taking my time with each fish and holding back as long as possible before feeding any areas of the swim.
Going into Fish’O’Mania as reigning champion must be a lot of pressure on you to perform, how do you find this effects you?
I feel that each year I get better at dealing with the pressure! With each qualifier I have the mentality that if the peg I draw is capable of producing a winning weight and as long as I approach it correctly and make no mistakes then that's all I can do! It's all about making the most of the good draws and learning from the bad ones!
You are the first ever angler to be through to a Fish’O’Mania Semi Final, are you a fan of the new format?
In all honesty, yes I am happy with the new format, the more chances to qualify the better! The semi final should make things a bit more technical as you will have to fish to qualify rather than win. The only down side is that now, twice as much prep is required!
Finally with Fish’O being one of your main goals each year you normally end up dedicating a lot of time to qualifying, with all that free time what are your plans?
My weekends will be spend focusing on any match this qualifiers and possibly a bit of practice at Cudmore. Not having to fish any qualifiers during the week has helped me out massively, I was fully booked until August with my coaching but now I've got half a dozen extra dates.
Thanks for your time Jamie and we look forward to watching you at Cudmore this Summer!