It was a big weekend in the world of angling with several of the area’s top rods fishing the Fish O’Mania qualifier.
They were all hoping for a good draw to land one of the 16 most sought-after places in the grand final, which carries a first prize of £30,000.
And from a massive field lining the banks at Messingham Sands Fishery in Lincolnshire it was city rod Steve Freeman who came up trumps.
Freeman is well known for his big-weight catches in the area, and his bold approach saw him put a fine169lb 2oz net of carp to the scales.
It was not an easy water to sort out though. Thankfully he got off to a good start which lasted for the first half of the match fishing the long pole line at 14 metres which saw him bagging at full depth with 6 ml pellets.
But then it all started to go wrong as the bites stopped. But Freeman kept his nerve while others around him started to catch and he was rewarded with five fish in the last hour.
That saw him home and he can now look forward to the big day later in the season. And who would bet against the big lad from Peterborough grabbing the top spot after this cracking performance.
With only 16 anglers lining up at Cudmore Fishery for the final, all he will need is a good draw and he could well be the dark horse and shock the huge crowd and the big audience looking in on Sky TV as they will be covering the whole day live.
Garbolino-backed rod Steve Cook was second with 133lb 12oz.
Result: 1 S, Freeman, 169lb 12oz; 2 S. Cook, 133lb 12oz; 3 L. Bamford, 114lb 5oz; 4= A. Goddard and N Speed, both 111lb 9oz; 6 S. Trower, 109lb 14oz.
Back onto our local waters and in the Decoy Lakes Over 55s match fished on both Willow and Lou’s the big field enjoyed some cracking sport.
Pole fished cat meat over a pellet feed was the order of the day for the winners on both lakes.
Deeping rod Ray Torrington on only his third visit to the venue put together 148lb 6oz of carp to 6lb from peg one on Willows to take the top spot.
Over on Lou’s venue regular Mick King took a similar all-carp net of 127lb 11oz from peg 8, followed by Ron Cuthbert with 116lb 2oz.
The first fixture of the new season saw Fenland Rods lining up on a windswept and bitterly cold Six Islands.
That was no problem for matchwinner Mel Lutkin though. He caught steadily all day on meat fished close to the rushes from a sheltered peg 25, to win with 96lb 8oz.
Dave Garner was running away with the match in the first half, catching lots of fish on meat with a waggler. But it all went wrong and he struggled in the afternoon and had to settle for runners-up spot with 81lb 4oz.
Third place went to Bob Allen with 74lb 12oz.