Keepnet error costs match angler chance of £30,000 prize money

A match angler has missed out on a chance to win £30,000 in the prestigious Fish O’Mania final after accidentally putting too many fish in his keepnet during a qualifier match.

Although the official result from the competition held last week at Monk Lakes, Kent, shows that Browning Andover matchman Dave George won with 144lb 4oz of fish, it also reveals that third place Steve Clark was given just 50lb for one of his keepnets – even though it contained much more.

In fact, Steve’s net had bottomed the scales out at 64lb during the weigh-in, when he confessed it contained 70lb – a figure that could well have seen him placed first in ‘the winner-takes-all’ qualifier. Instead, he lost out with an imposed 126lb 12oz total due to Monks Lakes’ strict 50lb of fish per net limit, costing Steve his crack at the Fish O’ final.

“The last two of my three keepnets had 51lb and 25lb in them, but when I pulled my first net out I could feel it had around 70lb of fish in it,” Steve told AT.  “That would have put me very close to, if not over, the winner’s weight and into the final.

“I stopped putting fish in my first net after I’d got 50 carp but when you think they average anything between 8oz and 1lb 8oz, you only have to guess a couple of ounces out on each and it soon adds up to a lot of weight when spread across 50 fish.

“I’m normally pretty good with splitting my fish, but it’s much easier when you have just 10 to 20 bigger carp in there. It’s just one of those things, and it happens. The ironic thing is I’m a financial advisor and I couldn’t count! Fair play to the winner, though, who had a very good match,” he added.