Matt Dawes has won the 2023 Cazoo FishOMania Grand Final at Westwood Lakes in Boston, Lincolnshire with a final weight of 52.875kg live on Sky Sports Action in the UK and Ireland.
The rain teemed down early on, and it showed with some strong weigh-ins to start the day out with Dawes taking the competition to everyone with a hearty 9kg haul with Smon Diment coming in with 6.8kg and John Jones at 6.1kg. Dawes kept pace throughout the early weigh-ins for an advantage that was looking unassailable with many struggling to keep pace. Ricky Small entered proceedings with a mammoth 8.125kg to pull closest to Dawes who at weigh in 4 was at 19.550kg. In the fifth, a huge 7.5kg extended Dawes’ advantage at the top.
At the halfway stage, Dawes on Peg 14 was leading the charge with a 10kg advantage over closest rival Small who was fishing from Peg 2. Defending champion Kristian Jones sat well positioned at the halfway stage too with the 24-year-old sat in fourth from Peg 13 1.1kg behind third-placed Andy Power.
At weigh-in seven, Dawes came in with just over 2kg whilst Mark Griffiths entered the fray with a brilliant 5.2kg to move into second spot but still 8.95kg shy of the man who had led from the get-go.
Small picked back up between the seventh and eighth with a 6.9kg weigh-in to come back into second place and with Dawes only putting in 2.1kg, the sole leader for so long was staring at the smallest deficit since the opening weigh-in at 5.75kg.
One of the two international qualifiers Marvin Röttger caught the biggest haul in one go during weigh-in 9 with 11kg which pushed the German to third just 300 grams behind Small. In the same weigh-in, Dawes recovered from a few slow hours for 3.9kg to keep on top of the leaderboard by 6.5kg. 2021 champion Harry Bignell breached the top ten with 6.6kg to improve his standing.
The final weigh in was tense as Power came through for his third-ever runner-up finish at 48.625kg whilst Röttger finished up with a big final 6.9kg but it wasn’t enough for victory as he finished as a section winner.
Small ran Dawes close throughout but a final weight of 3.825kg could not force the agenda and a total of 45.275kg saw a fourth-place finish. That news filtered around the lake as Dawes came in with a final 4.9kg to win by 4.25kg.
Dawes said: “I do not know how to feel. The last hour was horrible. I wanted a few more bites. I want to thank everyone who has helped me in the past. I was confident because practice went so well but I thought it couldn’t go that well. I can’t even speak. I am shaking.”