Angling's most prestigious big fish competition is celebrating one of best summers in its history as the UK’s best specimen anglers battle it out in this season’s Drennan Cup.
Despite only being at the halfway stage no less than 60 weekly awards have been earned by anglers vying to be crowned the 2014/2015 Drennan Cup Champion.
Huge predators dominated the headlines early on but May and June saw big tench and bream go on the feed with no less than 13 weekly prizes given for double-figure tench and Alan Stagg took one of the biggest bream braces of all-time weighing 34lb 11oz.
The nation’s rivers haven’t disappointed either with barbel to 17lb 12oz and several 7lb-plus chub landed. But the real talking point of this season’s competition so far has been the number of huge 3lb-plus rudd caught, with six weekly awards handed out as opposed to just two for the species in the 2013/2014 season.
“The fine settled weather most of the UK has experienced this summer has resulted in the capture of some really spectacular fish, of various species. In fact, the sheer volume of caught-by-design specimens – means our little Drennan Cup Awards committee, in conjunction with Angling Times, often has a tough call debating which ones are most deserving of an award each week,” said Stuart Moss at Drennan International.
“A settled winter is likely to see some monstrous barbel, chub, perch and pike caught in particular, and some of the nation’s finest specimen anglers are already emerging as leading contenders to take the cup from 2013-14 winner Jamie Cartwright next Spring”
Leading the way so far and already boasting four weekly awards is respected big fish angler Alan Stagg.
The Gardner Tackle employee had huge bream to thank for his first two awards as May saw him land a brace of specimens of 17lb 3oz and 16lb 12oz, but the best was yet to come as he followed this up with one of the biggest braces in angling history with slabs weighing 17lb 6oz and 17lb 5oz.
A 15lb 8oz barbel from the River Thames and a 3lb 5oz rudd caught from a southern stillwater earned Alan his remaining two awards.
He said: “This summer has been of the highest quality for big fish as both the rivers and stillwaters have been in top form. It has really made for a great start to the Drennan campaign, not just for myself but also for many of the other anglers in the running.
“So far everything has gone right for me and all of my home-work has paid off. I’m honoured to have four awards at this stage, but the beauty of this competition is that it’s still wide open.
Angling Times columnist, Paul Garner, is hot on Alan’s heel with three weekly awards thanks to tench of 12lb 10oz, 3lb 11oz rudd and a 4lb 2oz 8dr.
Other anglers including former Drennan Cup Champion Darran Goulder, Jim Mathews, Mike Lyddon and up-and-coming specimen angler James Champkin are currently on two awards.