Simon Medd braved the elements to secure his place in the Fish 'O' Mania grand final 2012.
The chemical engineer from Stockton on Tees won the Fish 'O' Mania qualifier held on Saturday April 28 at Lakeview Fishery, Melton Mowbray - although only 3lbs separated the top three positions.
In contrast to last year when this match was fished earlier in the month in bright warm sunshine and a cloudless blue sky, the 2012 event was almost like fishing in mid-winter with freezing cold winds, which continued all day, not allowing the temperature to rise much above 5 degrees.
Simon drew Canal peg 6 and started down the edge on pellet to catch 20lbs of carp in the first 30 minutes. He then switched to the far bank, using the same tactics and feeding little and often and, using only half a pint of loose fed pellets through the whole match, gradually built up his weight of 65lbs 8 ozs made up of carp to 5lbs to run out the eventual winner and the fifth qualifier for the 2012 Fish 'O' Mania grand final on July 14.
Only 2lbs behind him was Sean Huggins, a regular Fish 'O' Mania competitor and past finalist, drawn on Serpent peg 1, weighing in with 63 lbs 8 ozs. Sean openly admitted that he thought he was being battered on both sides and never thought he had a chance of being this close to the winner. He again fished short and across, picking up two or three fish from each line, but lost three fish during the match which turned out to cost him the winner's spot.
Third place and 3lbs behind the winner, also losing a number of fish, was Ben Roberts from Flintshire, drawn on Serpent peg 24, fishing for Drennan North West and weighing in with a weight of 62lbs 8ozs.
In fourth place was Stephen Barraclough of Doncaster, drawn on Serpent peg 8 and fishing for Ultimate Barnsley Blacks, with a weight of 59lbs 7ozs, and fifth place went to Gary Miller of Cuffley, Hertfordshire, drawn on Stream peg 20 with a weight of 55lb 8ozs.
The next Fish 'O' Mania qualifier heads to Peatling Pools at Leicestershire on Wednesday May 2.