“I’ve dreamed of this moment since I first started targeting big fish and to think that my name will now sit alongside some of the greatest anglers of all time just blows my mind.”
These are the emotional words of Alan Stagg, who has this week been crowned Drennan Cup Champion.
The Basingstoke based fishing fanatic took the most coveted prize in specimen angling after votes cast by specimen fishing’s elite put him well ahead of the rest of the field in this year’s competition.
At the end of the 2014/15 season Alan had amassed an impressive five weekly awards in his quest for the famous Drennan Cup and ultimately it was the Gardner tackle employee’s versatility and ability to catch some of the biggest specimens from both still and running water that saw him secure the prestigious title.
“It was my birthday and I was in my garden having a celebratory drink and I got the phone call telling me that I’d won and my jaw hit the floor. I could hardly speak as it was the best present I could have ever wished for,” a delighted Alan told Angling Times.
”I’ve had the Drennan Cup in my sights ever since I started targeting big fish and many all of my fishing heroes have their names on the cup and I’ve been close in the past, but words can’t describe what this means to me. It’s such a huge honour because the unique aspect of this competition is that the winner is decided by votes from your fellow anglers and there’s no bigger accolade than that.
Alan’s campaign began last May when he ended a seven-year quest to beat his bream personal best when he slipped the net under a huge 17lb 3oz that was backed up by another fish weighing 16lb 12oz during a session at a southern gravel pit.
His incredible run of form continued on the same venue a few weeks later after netting one of the biggest braces of all time with a combined weight of 34lb 11oz.
The first trip to a new water saw him gain with his third weekly award when he adopted a float-fishing approach to achieve a long-time ambition of catching a rudd over the magical 3lb barrier.
It took him hours to locate the fish but when he found them he landed specimens weighing 3lb 5oz, 2lb 7oz and 2lb 5oz.
He then switched his attentions to running water and proved why he’s regarded as one of the most gifted all-rounders in the sport when his second river session of 2014 on a tributary of the River Thames produced a 15lb 8oz barbel.
It was only fitting that his fifth and final Drennan weekly award saw him join an elite group of anglers who have banked 3lb-plus roach from both still and running water.
The 3lb 3oz 8 dram fish was the first ‘proper’ roach he’d ever banked from a river and came from a southern chalk stream caught on feeder fished maggots.
“It really was a dream season for me as I achieved so much and banked fish that I’ve been after for so many years,” Alan continued.
“To have come out on top of a field of anglers that’s made up of such well-respected and genuinely inspiring people is a huge honour, but to have my name on the famous Drennan really is as good as it gets.”
Leading the chasing pack in the 2014/15 Drennan Cup competition was Angling Times columnist and Peg One consultant Paul Garner.
He finished his campaign with a total of three weekly awards for impressive specimens such as a huge 12lb 10oz tench, a 3lb 11oz 8 dram rudd and a 4lb 2oz 8 dram personal best rudd.
The remaining places in the top four were filled by well-respected big fish anglers Brian Ingram and Mike Lyddon.
Drennan Cup sponsor Drennan International have again been delighted with the continued popularity of the competition and congratulated Alan on his victory.
“Congratulations to Alan on a richly deserved win. In all sport, rewards are generally directly proportionate to the amount of effort & practice invested, and I know first-hand how much time Alan puts into his fishing, Said Stewart Moss of Drennan International.
“I’ve personally bumped into him several times on various venues banks over the years and he really is an expert specimen angler and will be an exceptionally popular Drennan Cup champion.”
What they win:
1 Alan Stagg, £2,000
2 Paul Garner, £1,000
3 Brian Ingram, £500
4 Mike Lyddon, £250