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Meet our 2016 King of the Catch Winners

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Meet our 2016 King of the Catch Winners

Our annual King of the Catch competition came to a close in September – and what a year it was! Not only were there more entries than ever before but it also had some of the closest fought voting we had ever seen. We announced our five winners at the end of October and now it is high time that we gave them a proper introduction. We invited all the winners to tell us about the day they caught their winning catch – so here they are, in their own words, the 2016 King of the Catch Winner’s Reports!

sea

Ben Creaser – Sea Fishing Winner

I live on the Isle of Wight and I'm out boat fishing at every opportunity - have done so for the last 30 years! I fish regularly with my buddy, David Cheal, as we both own our own boats based at Sandown. On the 3rd of July, we planned to have a few drifts for bass at the edge of a 200ft hole on the last couple of hours of the ebb tide (a mark we know well), before anchoring up for some bottom fishing elsewhere on the flood.

The day started the same as any other, quieter if anything. The bass weren't giving themselves up, with just a couple of missed takes in the first hour. We persevered and eventually found a bass… the only one and a very special one, too. Just as we neared the end of a drift in the shallowest part where the fish usually wait in ambush, I hooked up to what I thought was the bottom (snags are very frequent with this style of fishing), until the bottom came to life and started to buck and kick. This fish had some serious weight to it and I knew it was a decent one. I took my time and fought the fish gingerly before it eventually surfaced behind the boat... that's when the panic set in - this looked huge and I just wanted to see it safely in the net!

Dave was like a coiled spring with the net and as it neared the boat she slipped in… I gave a massive sigh of relief and my legs were shaking like jelly – it was an epic moment and one I'll never forget. The fish weighed 13lbs 12oz and beats my previous best of 11lb 1oz by nearly 4lbs! Definitely a once in a lifetime fish!

Smile and photos ensued before she went back unharmed.

I was fishing with an Abu Suveran Pro Uptide Rod, Avet SX 5.3 Lever Drag Reel, 30lb Power Pro Braid and a 9ft 20lb Clear Amnesia Snood - the lure that fooled the fish was a Blue White Regill Evo.

coarse

Rick Hurley – Coarse Fishing Winner

I arrived at my syndicate around 3pm, full of confidence as I had been fishing the previous two afternoons in a small bay that doesn't get much attention from other anglers and had baited it quite heavy on leaving on both occasions. On walking up to the small pad lined bay I could see the swim was free and, on climbing the usual tree, I could see there were fish all over one of the spots I had baited – some big ones, too. I primarily fish the lake for carp and, whilst up the tree, I noticed that there were some real big'uns. I was keeping my eye on these when I noticed two big tench among them, feeding happily alongside the carp. I slowly climbed down the tree and, as stealthy as I could, positioned both rods. I also introduced a small amount of crumbed boilies.

I went back up the tree to watch them and it wasn't long before the carp drifted back in, to gingerly start to feed along with the two tench. After a short while, the carp drifted off but the two tench stayed and were feeding quite confidently. I recognised the smaller of the two fish due to a small notch on its tail, I'd caught it the previous year at just under 11lb, but the other one was visibly bigger. As I watched them I noticed they seemed to be by-passing my rig and feeding around it; this was due to it being quite scaled up as I was fishing for 50lb+ carp. I decided to reel in one of the rods and scale it right down to see if I could induce hopefully the bigger tench to pick up my hookbait. I scaled down to a size 8 Korda Kaptor Wide Gape, 10lb GR60 line, a 1.5oz Rodger and Kerry dung coated lead attached to a Korda Hybrid Green lead clip and fished with two 10mm ABS Chocomino bottom baits. After casting back onto the spot I had a bite within five minutes and, after a good fight on my Wychwood 10ft Extrictor and Riot 65 reel I landed what I could see was the bigger tench, on weighing her I was stunned that she went 12lb 3oz. She was truly an amazing fish and my biggest tench in over 30yrs fishing. I also had two commons at 36lb and 34lb a few hours later and it will be a session I will always remember.

predator

Arezue Omid – Predator Fishing Winner

This catch followed on from a recent red letter day on an undisclosed Cheshire mere where I took no less than 17 carp in 36 hours, topped by my first twenty and now new PB carp, but however lost something truly monstrous – suspected to be a huge catfish! I returned the next week with my fiancé and fellow Carp Couture team member to the same undisclosed water with the intent of capturing the one that got away. Knowing the water to hold a number of large wels catfish I baited heavily with 3kgs of halibut pellets, soaked in fish oils, and Sticky Baits Krill Boilies close to a dense set of lily pads at 30yrds. Over this I presented a Sticky Baits Buchu Berry Wafter on both rods. The first day was unproductive but, as night fell, fish began to move and a bite looked imminent. At 3am I was woken from my sleep as my pink Delkim erupted and shattered the silence with a screaming run as a hooked fish took flight! I ran from the bivvy in the darkness and, as I made contact with the fish, my 10ft Warrior S Rod bent double and line pulled from a tightened clutch – set tight to prevent the fish finding sanctuary in the dense lily beds.

Despite this, the fish took off like a steam train and was truly super strong! As the fish burrowed hard left then right it was clear that I'd hooked into something special. It felt like it was stuck to the bottom and I was trying to pull the plug out of the lake itself! Twenty minutes later and I was making steady progress but still hadn't seen the fish. Then, as I applied steady pressure, a huge tail broke surface! It was a catfish –could this have been the beast that evaded me before? I wasn't going to let him get away this time. Ever determined, with my back and arms breaking, I fought on in the darkness. As the fish neared the margin it broke the surface for a second time, creating a huge boil and sending out waves across the lake. My heart was pounding and my hands were sweating but I was determined I wasn't about to loose him! By this time I had summoned my fiancé from his slumber to assist with the net. The battle seemed to go on forever and as quickly as I gained line it was lost as the fish powered away once more. At last I was winning and, in the light of my head torch, the leviathan rolled from the deep.

‘It's a monster!’ Dave shouted and I gathered all my remaining strength and walked backwards as I guided the fish into an awaiting net – but so big was he that his whole body wouldn't fit in the net. Eventually, head first, we got him in! As the net engulfed his huge frame I literally dropped the rod and shouted out in celebration!

Taking a few moments later to gather myself, in light of the breaking dawn, we heaved the catfish into an awaiting sling and onto the mat. Only then were his true proportions revealed! This fish was a titan! I'm only 152 cm tall and I'm sure that if this fish could have stood on his tail he would have towered over me and swallowed me whole, if the need had arisen. What a creature! On the scales he went 38lb 2oz and it was not only my ‘first catfish’ but now my biggest fish ever – having only started fishing seriously 7 months ago. I managed to heave him up for the camera, despite what may have looked like a wrestling match between woman and beast at one point. Shots done and well recovered I gently slipped him back into the waters from which he came. Thank you, Mr Catfish, for a truly epic battle and a fight I'll remember for a long time to come! I'm still aching now…

carp

Ray Rutter – Carp Fishing Winner

I am a very keen angler and I spend approximately 10 weeks a year on the bank, with an average of six of these spent abroad. However, despite this, I’m not one for all this malarkey about bait, equipment, and all the other waffle that seems to go hand-in-hand with carp angling these days! I can’t reveal too much about the day that I caught my winning catch, as I was fishing an untouched water which is best kept secret, but I can say that I was out on the bank doing what I love with one of my good friends. I had packed away my Free Spirit rod for the session in favour of a lucky Chub rod, which I borrow from my friend every time I’m away doing a long trip. I was also using a Daiwa QD reel, which actually ended up in the bin after it failed battling a different fish on that same trip. Bait-wise I was using my leftover lunch, too! This particular catch was a special one for me and it tipped the scales at just over 56lbs.

junior

Jodie Sloane – Junior Fishing Winner (words by her father, Wesley)

Ever since I had gotten back from France fishing, Jodie had been mithering to get out fishing, so we decided to go to Tara at Cubmore Fisheries for a few nights. When we arrived I baited up four spots (two each) and then we began setting up. Three of our rods were Daiwa Black Widow Rods, with brand new Shimano XT 10,000 Reels, Delkim alarms, Korda Touchdown line, Korda Safe Zone leader. We used a simple hair rig made from Korda Dark Matter coated braid with a size eight Korda Krank hooks.  The fourth rod was set up for float fishing. After talking to people around the lake and the bailiffs, I was told it was fishing hard and nothing decent had come out. Jodie chose double 18mm Nash 4g Squid on one rod and maggot on the float rod. I went for 20mm Nash Citrus on one and meat on the other.

Not a thing came out in the first 24 hours. We managed to get the small fish going on the maggots which Jodie loves – me, not so much. With half the day gone we reeled in for another cast. My two were at the island in front of us and Jodie’s rod was on the right-hand side on a corner under a tree. I cast my two. Before Jodie cast hers I got my big bait bag of mixed boilies and pellets out and we baited her swim up with a total mix up of different flavours and sizes. Jodie’s cast was slightly off and I was going to move it but decided against it. Jodie was just about to cast her float road in and when her rod went screaming off. She dropped it and ran for her rod and hit it. She was very excited because she could feel how much it was pulling. She had only ever had 5/6lb-ers before so I had to keep reminding her to take her time, but she handled it like a pro. I moved my two rods out the way and got the net ready.  She kept saying it was strong and felt like it could pull her in. After a 10/15 minute battle we finally got it in the net. The look on her face was priceless (as you can tell from her photo). After the photos and weighing we gave the fish some time to recover and then released it back into the lake. After bringing the net in we realised it had left us a scale in the net; a nice little memento of Jodie’s biggest fish to date. Nothing else was caught in that session but that one fish made the trip worthwhile.

All of our winners will be joining us in the new year for their official coronation. The team here at Angling Direct are all looking forward to shaking their hands and saying one final ‘congratulations’ before sending them off for the holiday of a lifetime!
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