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Ladies Fish ’O’ Mania 2018

Kayleigh Smith blogs how she won the prestigious Ladies Fisho title… for the second time!

This year saw the Fish ’O’ Mania final return to Hayfield Lakes, which left me with mixed feelings – on the one hand I was happy as it was closer to home so it would be easier to get down a few times for a practice, but on the other hand it has its challenges, including the big old fish that can go 20lb plus, meaning that no one is ever out of it.


I had a couple of practice sessions/matches and managed 18 carp for 107lb in one and 16 carp for 96lb in the other, catching a few fish and getting my confidence up. I also learnt a few things along the way that came into play in the final.

On the day I drew Peg 6, which was permanent Peg 71 and also an end peg, although I could only fish up to this side of the next platform. I was still happy-ish with the draw as it was an end, even though on the other end peg (61) there seemed to be a lot more fish about and a bit of a ripple.

I started shallow and managed a decent fish in the first half-hour for about 8/9lb, which was a good start… then nothing! I knew that Abbi Kendall on Peg 61 had four carp and a couple of the other girls also had a carp. I felt it was too early to try my margin but at 1.30pm I thought: “I’m not going anywhere and have nothing to lose,” so I decided to feed my edge. To kick-start it I tipped in 6mm and 8mm pellets and a pinch of corn from a height to make some noise and left it for 15 minutes. After that time I repeated the process but this time I also fished it.

I started with an 8mm pellet on the hook and within a few minutes I’d had an indication and could see the odd swirl, so I knew the fish were responding.  

I didn’t have to wait much longer before the float buried and I was into my first carp down the edge, which was more than welcome! I repeated the process and alternated between 8mm pellet on the hook and double corn. I did foul hook a couple of carp that unfortunately came off, although I managed another three down the edge, one of which was around 12 to 13lb, which was caught in the last 30 minutes of the match.


The rig I used down the edge was a Preston Innovations Margin Float from the Des Shipp Commercial range, with 0.19mm Power Micron main line to one of the new pre-tied KKM Mag Lock hooklengths, which was 0.17mm to a size 14 hook with a band. This was matched to 13 Hollo elastic. 

After the whistle went I was unsure if I had won or not and knew it would be pretty close. Emma Pickering weighed in 17kg, and when the scales  got to me I weighed my first two carp in ,which went 7kg 750g, so I had to have at least 10kg in my other net, which had three fish in it, including the big one I had caught last.


Sure enough the scales tipped round to 13kg, which meant that with a total weight of 21.210kg I had won the match and retained the Fish ’O’ Mania title that I won last year.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Preston and Sonubaits for their support, as well my friends and family for all the good luck and congratulations messages – they mean a lot.

Kayleagh Fish Prize

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