Meet our 2017 King of the Catch Runners-Up

Our 2017 King of the Catch was the hardest fought edition of the competition to date – with more entries than ever before. Unfortunately, there could only be one winner in each category but that didn’t stop our second place anglers from giving them an incredible run for their money. In more cases than one, this battle took the competition right down to the last day of voting! Here are our 2017 King of the Catch Runners-Up Catch Reports – in their own words…

Ady Good – Carp Fishing Runner-Up

I used to coarse fish and did so for around 10 years, before stopping due to personal reasons.  With a busy job, wife and 3 children I struggle time wise to get out, so when I do I want it to be as relaxing and rewarding as possible - basically I felt a bit bored of drowning maggots… so I went out and bought some carp fishing tackle!

Once a week through the summer months I like to get up about 3.30 and fish through till around 8.30, before I start work.

I’d been targeting a particular lake and putting the hours in, without much success, without even a bleep! As it was a water that doesn’t get fished very often, due to its secret location, I decided to do a bit of baiting to see if I could get the fish in a certain area, which I could then focus on.

I’d been trickling in a mixture of Sticky Baits Krill and Manilla boilies and had started to get a bit of interest, no fish, but a few signs of activity and a few line bites.

Previously, before one particular session, I’d been reading a bit about pop-ups and thought I’d give them a try, especially knowing that there was alot of leaf litter and debris on the lake bottom. So I baited up with a pop-up and a small PVA bag of broken boilies, glugged in some Manilla liquid and flicked it out to my chosen spot. Less than half an hour later my alarm burst into life and I was greeted with an absolute one toner!

The result… my King Of The Catch entry, all 33lb 6oz of it!

The Sonik rods did the trick and made playing it enjoyable, I've always used them and recently updated to the new Vader X rods. On the business end I used the Fox Pre-tied hair rigs in size 6.

Abby Blackwell – Coarse Fishing Runner-Up

After spending the morning on a local pool with my nephews catching carp, we decided to take a venture to the river to get my nephews their first Barbel.

Me and my other half took them to our usual spot and got the rods cast out.

We didn’t have to wait too long before we had our first bite, I was sat talking to my nephews when all of a sudden my rod went from a 45 degree angle on the rod rest to horizontal!

I picked the rod up and started to bring the fish towards me, after a spirited fight I thought it was only a small one, but as soon as it got towards the waiting landing net I realised it was alot bigger than I first thought!

As you can see by my King Of The Catch entry I was rather happy with the fish, that was in excess of 10lb and a new PB!

Tackle wise I was using my 10ft Shimano Tribal Velocity rods & Shimano Ultegra 5500 reels, these were spooled up with 10lb Gardner Pro Carp Line. Rig wise I kept things really simple, with a basic running rig and a Drennan Blockend Feeder filled with pellets. The hooklink was 6” of 18lb Grand Max Riverge flurocarbon, knotless knotted to a Nash Size 7 Fang Uni Micro Barb Hook. On the hair I used the good old faithful piece of Spam & put a white stem of grass to hold the spam on the hair!

Paul Shemmings – Sea Fishing Runner-Up

Me and my girlfriend Marie planned to travel, work and fish our way through Asia and Australia on a trip that eventually lasted 32 months.  When i got to Oz I bought an old Land Rover Discovery with roof top lights, huge bull bars and engine snorkel for driving through deep water (get to the best fishing spots).  I originally bought 2 rods and reels and a light amount of tackle, when I finished the trip I had 6 reels, 8 rods and 2 x 25 litre boxes full of tackle along with a cast net for catching live bait, a jetty gaff, hand lines, fish filleting kit and a sea kayak with 5 rod holders, we all get carried away with our fishing gear !!  Two of the reels I bought were Penn International II 50SW, they're a two speed boat reel for game fishing which are used for tuna, marlin and all things big. They were fixed to a single roller tip rod 15-24kg.

I was traveling up the west coast of Oz for 5 months and one of the places I visited was called Carrarang Station, a cattle station the size of Kent surrounded by coast line which lets you camp on your own private beach for 5 pound a night for two people.  It was a 2 hour drive from the tarmac road through the bush, then you let some air out the tyres to be able to drive through the sand dunes for another 40 mins to choose your beach where you could spot dugongs, manta rays, dolphins and sea turtles daily.  Once there we set up camp and built a fire pit and collected wood.

I spent 16 days at Carrarang station and fished for sharks most afternoons, the day would start kayaking the blue water, trolling a couple diving lures searching for schools of fish, once I'd found a school I would anchor up and do some jigging, return any under size fish and keep the rest for shark bait.  Most of the fish would be used for chum, but the fish used for bait would be kept whole.  The bait would have a 16/0 circle hook protruding from the tail, which is where the shark is most likely to attack. The hook would be tied to a metres of 400lb multi strand cable for the sharks super sharp teeth, then this would be crimped to a 400lb swivel. Crimped to the other side of the swivel is 10 metres of 300lb mono leader, as sharks skin is like armour and can easily rub through thin line, a few times when walking the sharks through the water the skin on my leg would be removed from the rough sand paper like skin.  And attached to the leader by a 400lb quick clip was my mainline, about 800 metres of 50lb mono.

The rod would be left on shore and the bait would be put in the kayak as you have no chance of casting it out, I would kayak out about 120 metres and anchor the bait to a rock, dump the chum and kayak back and set the drag and clicker on the reel.  If you done this around dusk or high tide you never had to wait too long for a take.

Once the bait had been picked up, wait around 5 secs for the fish to get it in its mouth then tighten the drag and set the hook, the idea with circle hooks is that the fish can get the hook in its mouth without it hooking onto anything inside or getting deep hooked as the point of the hook is bent inwards towards the eye, but when the hook pulls out of the mouth it rolls round the lips and this is where it holds.  Once the sharks hooked it just runs and runs in a straight line, unlike some other predators that run for cover or make twists and turns, a sharks take is just straight, fast and heavy and all the time using its large tail to hit the line.  You could be reeling (winching) the fish in with your feet dug into the rocks and if the fish turned and run with you unaware it could easily pull you over, i always used a fighting gimble to put the rod butt into and sometimes my girlfriend would have to hold me by the belt to stop me falling forward even though i was at a 45 degree angle. Once close to the shore I would walk the shark to shallow water and leave its head in the water to ensure it was recovering well and the lapping waves were coming through the gills, there I would unhook it with a specialist unhooking tool and check for parasites, take a measurement and when the time was right turn it for a photo.  I would then walk the fish back out to deeper water which was one of the best parts, they were very calm and swam very gracefully back to the blue water and i would retreat to the beach, crack a beer and watch the sunset.

Fishing in different countries and for a variety of species has taught me so much about fishing, I have learnt so many new techniques and skills and i'd advise any avid angler to do the same!

Matthew Cox – Junior Runner-Up

This was a day that Matthew had been looking forward to for months. Most notably because he would finally get to spend the day fishing with his uncle Steve. Steve has been a carp fisherman and an extremely good one since he was a kid and even in his 40’s he still comments that he feels as passionate about angling now as he always has. So, when I started having chats with him about Matthew’s growing obsession with the sport, he suggested we all meet up for a day. I’m still not sure who was more excited about the day, Matthew, because he had a million and one questions buzzing around his head, ready to pose to a real fisherman (I’ve very rarely been able to answers any of Matthews in-depth ‘fishy’ questions), or Steve, who often told me that he felt frustrated having so much knowledge and information but not being able to pass it on to the next generation. So Steve finally got the chance to off-load some of his hints and tips and Matthew got the opportunity to spend the day with someone who spoke the same language.

We arrived at Tyler’s Common, Brentwood as always at 6.30am, just as the gates opened. And as usual, before I’d even managed to put the car into ‘park’, he was out and off scurrying down the hill and over to his favourite spot.

Matthew busied himself during the first hour or so, flitting between setting himself up and stoping to ask Steve all manor of questions. I’ve never seen Matthew concentrating so intently on one person’s words. Absorbing every drop of information like a sponge.

Throughout the day I would find myself happily sat in the background (in the sunshine), while the boys, deep in conversation, spent their time discussing the multitude of issues that I assume every fisherman has to contend with during a session.

Matthew’s kit for the day consisted of 3 Advanta CSX 3lb test curve rods, each with a Baitrunner ST 10000 RB reels, loaded with ESP Syncro XT Loaded 15lb line. He started the day with a normal hair rig set up on each of his rods with his favourite Nash Scopex Squid boilies. But as the weather warmed during the day, Matthew noticed more surface activity and decided to switch to a simple controlling float with a floating dog biscuit bait, with some success, bagging himself a couple of 10lb’ers.

Later in the afternoon he decided to switch tactics again, and he was rewarded for his persistence, bagging his PB catch on a 3ft Korda pre-tied zig-rig with a generous soaking of Korda Almond Goo. The smile in the photo says it all.

Wesley Sloane – Predator Fishing Runner-Up

This beast of a catfish, all 162lb of it, was actually landed on a trip over to the river Ebro in Spain, with my daughter Jodie. We enjoyed some crazy fishing, landing numerous big cats!

Obviously fishing for such beasts our tackle had to up to the job. We used 5lb Fox Warrior rods, Shimano 6500 bait runners loaded with 150lb Berkeley ultra cat line and on the business end we mounted 3x 20mm halibut pellets on a super strong sharp hook.

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