Runs were hard to come by in the 2009 British Pike Championships, but one man who had no trouble getting among the fish was Paul Lenton, who after agonisingly missing out on first place last year by 2oz, comfortably won this time with 33lb.
A combination of crystal-clear water and bright sunshine made for far from ideal conditions for the 230-plus predator anglers who converged on Whittlesey AA’s waters to pit their wits against the Fenland pike.
Paul had arrived with a game plan, though, and by sticking to it the 44-year-old Doddington-based welder helped himself to three pike from peg 100 on the Twenty Foot Drain. Adopting a groundbait approach, he only had to wait an hour for his first bite which resulted in a pike of 12lb 4oz. This was backed up with predators of 8lb 12oz and 12lb, which was more than enough to see him walk away with the prestigious trophy and £1,000, together with a £1,200 voucher to spend with sponsor
“It was disappointing to miss out on first place by such a small amount last year, so I was delighted to win this time round,” said Paul. “I’d seen other anglers do well in the past by using groundbait to draw prey fish into the swim, so decided to try it myself ¬ and it certainly did the trick.”
By plugging away right until the end Wes Ogle managed to snatch both second place and the biggest fish prize with an impressive 20lb 4oz specimen. The 31-year-old Buckinghamshire PAC member spent the match drifting a roach deadbait through his peg on the Twenty Foot Drain, and eventually connected with the fish with only 15 minutes left on the clock. This saw him collect £600 cash and £600 of Fox vouchers and a goodie bag.
Event organisers Anne and Ted Rowe were impressed with how the anglers made the most of the difficult conditions: “With the clear water and bright weather I don’t think anyone expected it to be easy. There were still several good doubles and a twenty caught, and the winning weight was more than it has been in the past couple of years,” said Ted.
Predator expert Mick Brown was especially impressed with the winner Paul Lenton: “He’d arrived with a strategy and he got his tactics right on the day and deservedly won the match,” he said.
Mike Heylin from the Angling Trust also enjoyed the day: “There’s nothing better than seeing so many anglers getting together and having a good time. The event has a really good social side to it, and I can’t praise the organisers highly enough.”
1 Paul Lenton, Doddington, Cambs, 33lb;
2 Wes Ogle, Aylesbury, Bucks, 20lb 4oz;
3 Bob Norman, Wigan, 17lb 4oz;
4 Steve Parker, Reading, 16lb 8oz;
5 Andy Ricard, Bicester, 14lb 8oz;
6 Rob Grasiewicz, Cannock, Staffs, 14.
Junior: George Shipley, Fakenham, 1lb 2oz.
Lady: Ann Harden, Letchworth.
Biggest fish: Wes Ogle, Aylesbury, Bucks, 20lb 4oz
Ladies and juniors
The ladies title had to be decided by drawing names out of a hat, after none of the female competitors managed to catch. The lucky angler to have her name picked out was last year’s ladies champion, Anne Harden from Letchworth, who has now won the title both times she’s fished the event.
In the juniors, Fakenham-based George Shipley banked only one fish of 1lb 2oz, but that was enough to see him receive a £150 Fox voucher and goodie bag from Mick Brown.