Jon Whincup earned himself £70,000 and the title of Maver Mega Match This Champion 2016 with a blistering display of commercial carp fishing at Maver Hayfield Lakes.
The Peterborough angler posted a record-breaking 105.75 kg (233.1lb) catch of carp to 12lb in an incredible match that saw a remarkable 1,123.82kg of fish was caught by the 24 competitors.
That equalled an average weight of 46.826kg (103.2lb) per man, together with the largest prize fund ever paid out in a UK fishing competition.
Spectators on the Island Lake at the Doncaster venue were treated to a real tussle between Jon on peg 49 and Jamie Hughes on adjacent peg 51. Although many thought double Fish O’ champion Jamie had the edge, the scales showed that he fell just short with 93.925kg as Jon’s earlier run of big fish stole the show.
“It’s unbelievable really, it’s everything I’ve worked for over the past 20 years of fishing,” beamed Jon.
“This is what we all go fishing for now, to win something big like this. It was the simplest match I’ve ever fished, but I thought I’d blown my chance in the last hour. I actually had a big lead, but I didn’t know about that at the time.
“This definitely makes up for last year, when I sat between first and second place in the final.
It just didn’t happen for me. I was so close to the action that I felt how much I wanted it, so I got on with it again this year and it’s all come good now!” he said.
Within minutes of the start, it became obvious that the 2016 Match This was going to be something special. Carp were coming out all over the place, with Simon Skelton, on peg 57, getting off to a flyer and Jamie Hughes surging into the lead at the close of the first hour on the feeder. But Jon’s pole line was becoming stronger and stronger and in the second hour he put an estimated 70lb of carp in his keepnets, cementing his place among the front runners.
Despite his swim going quiet in the last hour, when Jamie piled on the pressure, the damage had already been done. It was an enthralling battle between the pair that left spectators unsure which way to look!
“I knew Jamie was catching – we could hear what was going on over the Tannoy – but I didn’t looked round once for the first four hours. I told myself to concentrate on my float, as every bite could result in a crucial big fish. In the last hour my peg started to go a bit funny and I was foul-hooking fish. I only caught three or four,” said Jon.
“Then I was looking round and it was the most tense hour’s fishing of my life. Of all the times to have a bad hour, why did it have to be now? Luckily, I had a 10lb carp right on the whistle, although I didn’t actually need it.
“I said before the match that somebody would catch on the short pole all day, and thankfully it was me!
“I’d like to thank my sponsors Frenzee and Bait-Tech and my long-suffering partner, Ivy. She sat behind me all day in the rain and she said she couldn’t bear to watch at times!” he smiled.
Jamie’s late rally helped him to the runner’s-up cheque of £5,000 and Maver’s own Simon Skelton was third and secured £3,000 with his 81kg 950g catch.
Best weight on the other side of the lake was by England star Des Shipp, but his fourth-placed 65kg 300g was only good enough for one of four £1,000 section prizes!
Result: 1 J Whincup, Frenzee/Bait-Tech, 105-750; 2 J Hughes, MAP/Bag ‘Em, 93-925; 3 S Skelton, Maver UK, 81-950; 4 D Shipp, Preston Innovations/Sonubaits, 65-300; 5 D Shires, Garbolino Lindholme, 60-245; 6 A Power, Preston Innovations/Sonubaits 59-425; 7 R Brennan, Garbolino, 57-550; 8 S Openshaw, Lingmere, 56-100; 9 M Godfrey, Drennan Barnsley, 54-175;
10 D Burley, Champion Feed, 48-157; 11 L Bamford, Notts, 47-225; 12 S Davis, West Malling Angling, 43-375; 13 D Brown Jnr, Poplars AC, 40-250; 14 J Ashwell, Maver Midlands, 40-200; 15 R Harold, Matrix, 39-000; 16 A Playford, Dersingham AC, 38-675; 17 S Fry, Garbolino, 30-625; 18 P Cook, Maver, 29-325; 19 M Arnold, Decoy Lakes, 28-100; 20 J Smalley, Decoy Lakes, 26-800; 21 A Richards, Browning, 25-350; 22 G Bell, Lakeland Fishery, 24-075; 23 P Stone, Spro/ Gamakatsu, 14-300; 24 M Jones, Tredegar AC, 13-925.