Andy Leathers was just a minnow away from losing out on £25,000 on Saturday – but a tiny fish tipped the scales in his favour and the St Neots angler is now reaping the rewards of a lucky couple of days in Cornwall. Not that he wants to carp about it, of course.

The 49-year-old St Neots postman is no stranger to big competition prizes, but this one – a whopper for sure, won at the Parkdean Masters final at Whiteacres near Newquay – is his biggest yet.

The angler knew he had done well but wasn't convinced he had caught enough fish to scoop the standalone prize until the scales confirmed he had beaten the previous best weight caught by Ben Fisk by a mere five ounces.

“Without doubt it is the biggest competition I have ever won,” he told The Hunts Post. “One tiny carp was the difference between me walking away with £25,000 or me walking away with nothing. It was an unbelievable result.”

Leathers, who came third in the Sky Sports televised Fish 'O' Mania showdown earlier this year, was the last of the 24 qualifiers to snag a place in the final from 180 competitors during a Friday of fishing at the South West holiday resort. And because he was the last of the 24 qualifiers, he was the last to draw his peg – and the last to take his bounty to the scales at the end of the day.

In the earlier draw for the all-important peg position, Leathers watched as the other 23 entrants picked out their spot on the lake, leaving the much favoured peg 16 to be his by default. “That's when it started to look like my day,” he said. “I got a good start and some good fish in the first few hours and mid-match I was the front runner and catching well.

“But I hadn't realised that down at the other end of the lake someone else was catching well too and after catching a good carp of up to 10lbs with just two minutes to go I thought I had done enough.”

But at the weigh in, Fisk's haul was 97lbs 15oz. “I honestly didn't think I had enough to beat that,” said Leathers.

In the end, the scales fluctuated before settling on 98lb 4oz and the cash was all his courtesy of just five ounces – the weight of one tiny fish.

Fiz Binge, of Godmanchester's angling specialists Stanjay Sports, said: “There are few more popular or respected anglers in the area than Andy and everyone who knows him will be pleased for this unassuming but very talented fisherman.”

With his winnings, Leathers, who has been angling since he was old enough to cast a line, is planning some home improvements and a fishing holiday. He also intends to keep some money back for a rainy day. “It was a good weekend,” he said, after going back to work.