Late dash to the line

Pickering undone by McKinnon in thrilling Fish 'O' Mania finale

Last Updated: 22/07/10 1:48pm

Making a splash: McKinnon

Neil McKinnon overturned a six-kilo deficit in the last half-hour of Fish 'O' Mania XVII to break Tommy Pickering's heat and land the £25,000 prize at Cudmore Fisheries.

"Finishing second you might as well chuck yourself in the water and drown yourself. I'll be smashing up everything in the house tonight but full credit to Neil."

Tommy Pickering

Quotes of the week

McKinnon, a 44-year-old contracts manager from Gloucester, had not been in front at any stage of the UK's most prestigious angling competition, but swept to glory in a sensational finale.

Pickering, the 1989 World Champion, looked odds-on to book his place in the Champion of Champions event but was undone by the biggest last half-hour comeback in the tournament's 17-year history.

"With an hour to go I just stuck to my plan and fished my heart out and it has worked for me," said McKinnon.

"I knew there was a lot of carp there and I had to be patient to find them. But I persevered and persevered and I caught five or six fish in the last half hour and it has made all the difference.

"What a day! I missed a few bites near the end and I thought that might've cost me but it didn't. Now I might buy a new car or go to Las Vegas. Viva Las Vegas!"

McKinnon was 6.15kg behind with only 30 minutes remaining but then caught 10.25kg compared to nothing from Pickering, who ended on 23.88kg, while McKinnon claimed the victory with a total of 27.98kg.

Despite the disappointment of not winning, Pickering paid tribute to the winner.

"Neil fished a great match in the last hour while I couldn't catch anything," said Pickering. "He deserved to win it and I'm pleased for him. I will just have to try again.

"Finishing second you might as well chuck yourself in the water and drown yourself. I'll be smashing up everything in the house tonight but full credit to Neil."


Neil Machin, the 2006 champion, was the early front-runner while in contrast Pickering was in last position after the second weigh-in.

But he soon made his way up the leaderboard and in the 2.30pm weigh-in he had moved up to second and with a big fish in the bag was on the verge of moving from last to first inside two hours.

Pickering became the fourth different angler to be in front after Andy North, Rob Wootton and Neil Machin had been leading the competition but McKinnon took control when it mattered the most.

There was an added incentive for all the anglers as the biggest fish of the day would net them £2,500.

Tim Bull, brother of 2008 winner Mick, led that competition with a fish of 3.42kg, slightly ahead of Pickering's ghost carp which weighed in at 3.26kg.

However, that effort was later beaten by Andy Benwell's 5.05kg monster that looked to have won him the money. But there was to be a twist in the tale as Andy North caught a huge 6.08kg carp in the last few moments to claim the £2,500.

Final Fish 'O' Mania XVII results


Neil McKinnon27.98kg
Tom Pickering23.88kg
Andy Benwell20.27kg
Ray Hayward16.71kg
Rob Wootton16.37kg
Andy North14.87kg
Neil Machin14.75kg
Tim Bull13.87kg
Kieron Rich12.62kg
Stuart Ballard11.20kg
Steven Seaborn10.99kg
Sean Huggins9.85kg
Luke Bamford9.25kg
Richard Hoskins8.07kg
Ben Emery5.99kg
Steven Bamford5.36kg

Fish 'O' Mania XVII - Celebrity Match

Darts -18.40kg

Simon Whitlock6.10kg
Joe Roberts8.50kg
Phil Taylor2.10kg
Adrian Lewis1.70kg

Boxing -11.05kg

Mark Addy4.60kg
Tim Witherspoon2.60kg
Richie Woodhall3.40kg
Spencer Oliver0.45kg

Cricket - 9.77kg

Owais Shah2.25kg
Ben Scott3.50kg
Dawid Malan0.70kg
Mark Eves3.32kg

All Stars - 3.70kg

Cyril Brewster0.50kg
Barry Hearn1.50kg
Helen Dagnall0.80kg
Hollie Dowding0.90kg

Fish 'O' Mania XVII - Ladies

Ann Yates (Doncaster)37.00kg
Samantha Sim (Steyning)26.21kg
Denise Hudgell (Reading)25.36kg
Karen Madeley (Leigh)19.80kg
Charlotte Gore (Edenbridge)10.71kg
Deana Wood (Lancing)5.51kg
Sue Arkell (Reading)4.18kg
Sophie Davis (Maidstone)-

Fish 'O' Mania XVII - Juniors

Joe Kent (Wakefield)4.96kg
Jack Smethurst (Basingstoke)4.92kg
Tom Potter (West Hallam)4.60kg
Jamie Cowling (Hunslet)1.95kg
Jake Gallagher (Reading)1.93kg
Kyle Moore (Bradford)1.74kg
Matthew Ebbrell (Manchester)0.84kg
Josh Smith-Trow (Manchester)-