Meet our 2017 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 2017 King of the Catch Winner’s Reports!

Yordan Todorov – Carp Fishing Winner

The most interesting thing about my catch is that I caught the fish on my homemade boilies. I have been preparing my bait for 6 years and hunting mainly on homemade bait/boilies. It can be said that this is my second hobby! I even have my own Facebook page/Instagram account titled DANY BAITS where I publish all my recipes and the results of using them.

To catch my winning King Of The Catch entry, all 15,400 kg. (34lb) of it, I used a recipe which included 4 fishmeals, 2 dry extracts and 2 liquid extracts, amino acids, probiotic, salmon oil, a good level of soluble ingredients, big crab flavour and many others. The fish was landed from Agov Dol Lake, Bulgaria, I love fishing there and targeting the big wild commons that inhabit it, they're so strong!

Tackle wise I used a JRC Defender 3lb test curve carp rod and a Daiwa Crosscast reel. For the end tackle I rigged up with Nash Leadcore, Avid Carp Captive Braided Hooklink in 15lb and a Prologic XC3 size 4 hook, fished knotless knot style and baited with a standard bottom bait.

I love fishing, but the most important thing is to be in the nature. So I'm unloaded from the tension and I'm filled with positive energy. This year I don't have many opportunities to go fishing because I have a baby boy, but still managed to catch this beauty on a day session. This makes the joy of the winning prize even bigger. All week carp fishing in Hungary? Oh man, this is exactly what I need!

Sean Culley – Predator Fishing Winner

I was recently told about a notoriously hard lake in the midlands, which contained only a few Catfish, approximately 15-20 but all of a good size. So, along with my friend Paul Burch an admin for the Wels catfish community on Facebook (he actually introduced me to the world of catfishing) we took a trip there to see what the lake was all about. In all honesty on our first visit we were just expecting to have a good social in the sunshine, with catching simply being a bonus.

The water was crystal clear so I opted for a different approach on each rod. On the first rod I decided to fish an MSR rig with a pair of leeches on the surface, on the second rod I went with a whole fresh squid popped up 4ft off the bottom using a catmaster PA rig (Phil Aylett pattern) and on the third rod I went with 2 hair rigged 22mm marine halibut pellets fished over a small tight bed of mixed pellet freebies.

Literally within a few hours of casting out I noticed the MSR rig twitch and then disappear as a huge vortex appeared on the surface! My heart was thumping as I reeled down and lifted into the fish, a split second later I felt the immense power and weight of what was obviously a substantial creature, for some reason in my head, I just knew this was a new PB!

"Don’t panic, don't panic, pump and wind, you can do this" I thought to myself!

As I slowly gained control over the fish Paul was stood, net in hand, ready to pounce... this is when the chaos started though... as all of a sudden my right hand rod burst into life!

I said to Paul "You're gonna have to hook'n'hold it whilst I sort this one out" and he done exactly that.

The first cat was soon ready for netting and as soon as it was safely in the folds of my waiting landing net Paul passed me the second rod - it was time for round two!

Again, I soon knew that this was a good fish, although I don't think it helped that my arms were in bits, still aching from the first one! After a good 15 minutes or so I eventually steered another monster to the net.

After a round of smiles, handshakes and congratulations we sorted both fish out, the first weighed in at 70lb and 8oz and the second fish hit 71lb on the nose. So my pb was broken, not once, but twice! A true red letter day and one I shall remember for the rest of my life.

The tackle I used included...

Freespirit 11ft 5lb Tamer-s Bank Cat Rods
Shimano Longcast Big Pit Reels
Berkley Big Game 30lb Momo
MSR Rigs (only available from www.catfishcommunity.co.uk)
Tonne-Up 80lb Hook length
4/0 Eaglewave Hooks
Catmaster PA Rigs
Catmaster 60” Net
Squid from the supermarket.
Leeches from www.biopharm-leeches.com
Nash Siren SR5 Alarms
Nash H-gun 2man bivvy
Ghost Ship Ale!

Jason Elliot – Coarse Fishing Winner

After watching the rain fall over the previous 24hrs a last min decision was made to hit my local river Trent for day break. On arrival it was clear to see the river level was approximately up around 2ft.

Soon after setting up we were given a confidence boost as my friend landed a nice fish of 9lb 2oz. After this I fully expected things to kick off, however we waited for over 5 hours without a single knock, so the decision was made to give it another hour and see what happened.

I sat eagerly watching my rod tip, with my faith dwindling away, when all of a sudden my rod lunged over! I quickly lifted into the fish, before my alarm had had a chance to go off and the battle began!

After what seemed like an age I steadily worked the fish through the Trent's powerful current's. With water levels up it was difficult to gauge the size of the fish but once I'd got her into some slacker water it became obvious this going to be a nice specimen!

My associate slipped the net into the water as we both eagerly awaited for her to rise from the depths to get our first glimpse, when she did we weren't disappointed as a big tail broke surface. Turning her again I managed to guide her into the waiting landing net, it was at that point we could really appreciate how big and beautiful this fish was!

She was left to recover in the net while the scales and camera were prepared and after a quick snap and weigh in, she was returned to her home.

The tackle I used included...

Greys Prodigy VX 2lb Barbel Rods
Shimano XTR 8000RA Baitrunners
Delkim TXi Alarms
12lb Korda Touchdown Mono
15lb Korda N-trap Hooklink
Size 9 Fox Arma SSC Hook

The fish fell to 2 Vortex Baits 18mm Hydroshrimp Shellfish Boiles masked in Hydroshrimp Shellfish Paste.

Paul Jones – Sea Fishing Winner

I recently booked a family holiday to Mexico and decided that a few days fishing would be an opportunity to try and catch some different species on my bucket list, with a decent Marlin, Barracuda, Wahoo or a Dorado in my sights! I have been lucky enough to fish in a few places in the world including The Falklands, Canada and the famous Ebro in Spain, but was really looking forward to some big game fishing, especially as it would be a good opportunity for me to introduce my son to it all.

We set out on a beautiful sunny day and trolled for a few hours catching a few baitfish, small Bonito's and Spanish Mackerel. Once we had the baitfish we then set about targeting the more serious species! Even though we did lose a Marlin, which was disappointing we still had a brilliant day and we were lucky enough to catch a decent Dorado as well as the species you see in winning picture above, a lovely Barracuda. The Barracuda had some seriously big teeth and put up a great scrap, it really capped a very memorable days fishing for both me and my son.

The fishing tackle we used was fairly heavy, with the skippers choice being a Shimano Tiagra 80a rod, Abu Garcia 10000ca Multiplier with a 100lb leader, size 5 Hook with a stripped Spanish Mackerel for bait.

Dylan Proudman – Junior Winner

I was fishing with my Dad at Pen Y Thirff lakes in North Wales, when I landed my winning King Of The Catch entry, all 28lb of it! To be honest I knew the venue held some big carp, but I really wasn't expecting to catch one for myself! It was around lunchtime when I hooked the fish and after a little help from my Dads friend I finally managed to slip the net under it. To make the day even more memorable I managed to catch a slightly smaller fish of 21lb a few hours later!

I landed both using 9ft Nash Dwarf rods and Wychwood Big Pit Reels, on the business end I opted for a simple inline lead set-up with an IQD rig from Korda baited with a Nash Key Cray bottom bait.

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