What a fantastic day the first-ever Maver Mega Match This Final turned out to be! It had everything you want from a top-flight match. Big money, lots of twists and turns, lots of people in with a shout, lots of interesting methods, excitement from poles breaking and fish being lost.
It was also won by a young and extremely talented angler in the shape of Andy Power. I've known how good this guy is for some time now as he smashes his local Viaduct Fishery in the southwest apart and is a top running line angler - not just a pole expert like many others his age.
Commiserations to Grant Albutt and Jamie Hughes who both pushed him close but I reckon, just like Shane Atkin in this year's Fisho Final, Andy was the most deserving winner. He kept it dead simple with a single-minded bomb-and-pellet approach and it paid off handsomely to the tune of 50,000 notes!
The presentation was great with all the fireworks going off, dramatic music being played and not to mention the two nice 'dolly birds' from the Mirror (I actually wasn't allowed to look as my wife was with me!).
It's also great to hear the commentary all match too without ever dumbing it down like they sadly have to on TV. To me, it was just like the Evesham Festival but on a commercial fishery! It was even piped behind our pegs on the Chalet Bank on Speci Lake so we got to hear everything that went on - I think Phil Briscoe and David Hall managed to say everyone was "dangerous" at some point though! Darren Cox's "20lb carp" was a bit of an exaggeration too, but this all made it such an enjoyable experience.
I've fished in three Fisho finals now and the Mega Match This was even better... and I was only competing in the Runners Up Final!
I had a good day and couldn't get my rig in fast enough at the end as bream after bream came to the net. I ended up with six carp for 15kg and a tidy 19kg of bream and skimmers. That was less than a kilo off Andy May on the end peg and just 4kg off the winner Perry Stone. I reckon if I had another 15 minutes or just one of those double-figure munters had turned up I would\'ve won but it wasn't to be. For a change I was reasonably happy with how I fished though! My only real gripes were that the 'stoppers' were actually two away from the end pegs which is a bit ineffective in my eyes and that there wasn't something for 2nd and 3rd. I'm sure a £50k 1st place could still include £2k and £1k as consolation prizes.
Still, it was a great event and Im glad to hear the Mirror is backing it for another two years. I'm going to try my hardest to qualify for the final next year. It's the future of match fishing and I want to be a part of it!
£50,000 Match – 24 anglers, Match Lake, 12pm to 5pm
1st Andy Power 39kg
2nd Grant Albutt 37kg
3rd Jamie Hughes 34kg
£5,000 Match – 24 anglers, Speci Lake, 11am to 4pm
1st Perry Stone 38kg
2nd Andy May 35kg
3rd Jon Arthur 34kg