“I’m going to turn Hayfield Lakes into the country’s ultimate fishery.” That’s the promise of former Fish O’Mania champion Rob Hitchens, who has just taken over the lease at the popular Doncaster complex and has high hopes of it once again staging the final of the £25,000 televised winner-takes-all event.
Rob plans to leave no stone unturned in his quest to transform Hayfield into a ‘match angler’s paradise’, including:
Building a new 60-peg lake stocked with F1 carp
Reducing the price of entry to open matches to encourage more anglers
Creating four separate lakes by splitting up existing water Adams Lake
Securing venue sponsorship from major tackle manufacturer Spro
Opening up the on-site restaurant pub to anglers for the first time
Ironically, Rotherham angler Rob is now in charge of the very water which banned his infamous Wonder Paste after he became unbeatable in the matches there because of it. His first project is to dig a new rectangular lake with islands at a pole range of 13m-14m to ensure plenty of bites in the colder months.
“The current lakes are deep and the fish big, so the sport isn’t always good in winter – this will change, I can promise you that. Onceeverything is in place and settled down I want to look at the reasons Hayfield lost the Fish O’Mania final and what we can do to get it back.”
Rob recognises that visitors have had ‘issues’ with the running of the fishery in the past, and has a hit list of problems to tackle.
“I want to right the wrongs – and as an angler myself I can see it from both sides. I’m not going to make people cast over each other near the corners. I want to give clubs plenty of room so everybody has a good day’s fishing. It costs too much to enter a lot of today’s open matches, so the entry will be reduced to £15 – if anglers want to pay more there will be an optional pool on top,” said Rob.