PUBLISHED: 11:05 03 May 2007 | UPDATED: 22:46 28 May 2010
Story by JOHN ELWORTHY I HAVE just gone through three days of hell. That was the reaction of young March man Alex Bates who was still suffering 72 hours after being disqualified from the big Fish O Mania qualifier at Barford Lakes. The 18-year-old had
Story by JOHN ELWORTHY
"I HAVE just gone through three days of hell."
That was the reaction of young March man Alex Bates who was still suffering 72 hours after being disqualified from the big Fish 'O'Mania qualifier at Barford Lakes.
The 18-year-old had lined up among 130 top anglers hoping to become one of the 16 bidding for a first cash prize of £25,000 in the final showdown.
With a winning haul of 139lb 9oz from peg 18 on the Willow Lake, he thought he had made it. But then - disaster. It was discovered he had infringed a strict fishery rule that no more than 65lb of fish was allowed in one keep net.
The contents of one of his nets was on the 75lb mark, and in one stroke of the pen he fell from hero to zero as disqualified was marked against his name.
Alex, of the Sensas Mark I squad, said: "I accept I made a serious error of judgement. I actually thought I was well inside the catch limit for my keep nets, but I completely misjudged the average weight of the F1 carp I was catching.
"I accept that rules are rules. Obviously I am gutted, but I am determined to succeed in this event and shall be back again next year."
Fishery manager Sarah Thomson said the rules had to be enforced. "The guideline here is no more than 50lb per net with a leeway of 15lb either way," she said. "I explained to Alex Bates that it would not be fair to waive this restriction and he had to be disqualified. He accepted this as did the National Federation of Anglers, the main organisers of the tournament.