With clear, bright skies, bites were hard to come by in the 2010 British Pike Championships, but one man who did manage to get among the fish was Tony Doolan who, after 23 years of trying, won the event with two pike for 24lb 4oz.
The less than ideal conditions made things difficult for the 200 anglers who converged on Whittlesey AA’s waters to pit their wits against the Fenland pike.
In one of the closest results in recent years, there was just over 3lb separating the top two places ¬ taken by Tony and his fishing partner Kevin Roads.
Fishing from peg 102 on the Twenty Foot Drain, Tony got off to a flying start with a 10lb pike, and the Leicestershire-based butcher also caught a 10lb zander shortly afterwards, although this didn’t count towards his overall weight.
It was his friend who led for the majority of the match, however. Casting a popped-up smelt towards the far margin, the 47-year-old Stratford landscape gardener netted a 21lb specimen in the first hour.
But with just over an hour remaining, Tony’s roach deadbait was taken by a 14lb 4oz pike, which was enough to see him knock Kevin off the top and walk away with the prestigious trophy and £1,500.
“This is the 23rd year I’ve fished the event so I am delighted to have finally won,” said the 63-year-old. “There was only one angler I wanted to beat, though, and that was Kevin,” he joked.
If there was a prize for the most dedicated angler it would certainly have to of gone to Owen Finnemoore. The Didcot, Oxfordshire-based rod set off the night before the event, catching the train to London and then waited four hours for a train to Peterborough. Once there, he cycled seven miles to the venue and went on to catch a jack on a fly. “I’ve fished the event for years, and despite only having one small fish it was well worth all the travelling,” he said.
Organisers Anne and Ted Rowe were impressed by how the anglers made the most of the difficult conditions. “I don’t think anyone thought it was going to be easy with the bright weather. There were still plenty of good fish caught. I’d like to thank everyone who helped with the event, and Fox International for donating the raffle prizes,” said Ted.
Angling Trust Chairman, Mark Lloyd, also enjoyed the day: “It was great to see 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.”
The ladies and juniors titles had to be decided by drawing names out of a hat after none of the competitors managed to catch.
The lucky female to have her named picked was Sharon Woolford from Witney, and in the juniors it was Fakenham-based schoolboy George Shipley (above) who was selected. They both received a selection of tackle from Fox International, presented by the Angling Trust’s Mark Lloyd.
Result: 1 Tony Doolan, 24lb 4oz, Leicestershire; 2 Kevin Roads, 21lb, Stratford; 3 Nigel Howe, 19lb 4oz, Wotton; 4 Martin Earl, 18lb 10oz, Reading; 5 Steve Parker, 18lb 8oz, Reading; 6 Jon Gerrans, 17lb, Lincolnshire.
Junior: George Shipley, Fakenham.
Lady: Sharon Woolford, Witney.