Andriks Lekstutis is the 2015 Thames TideFest champion. He beat the 46-strong field on the tidal river in London to take the 2015 trophy with a 31-13-0 net of big bream.
In a match held on the Strand on the Green and Barnes sections in the west of the capital, anglers shared £1,000 in prizes.
Sponsorship came from Thames Tideway Tunnel and Thames Water, and Andriks took most of that cash, £500 in total, as he fished the groundbait feeder with worm and maggot from his peg below Kew railway bridge, netting slabs to 7lb.
With the match running on a Continental-style payout, second overall and winning £250 was Hampshire tackle dealer Nigel Newport with 21-8-0 of bream and dace from the Barnes section, also on the feeder. Steve Edwards finished third due to having the second-best weight from the Strand with 31-6-0 of feeder-caught bream.
“The tidal Thames is already a good fishery but it will only get better once the new Tideway ‘Super Sewer’ is built and the water quality improves still further,” said Martin Salter of the Angling Trust.
“We took a bit of a gamble to use the rarely-fished section at Barnes but it came up trumps with some cracking roach and bream alongside the ever-present big shoals further upriver at Kew.”
Angling Times columnist and Thames legend Keith Arthur agreed – he landed four bream for 19lb on the day but didn’t win a penny, not that he was complaining.
“The match has really hit the spot for me with some superb fish caught, thousands of visitors maybe seeing angling and other activities for the first time on my home river and a terrific atmosphere,” he enthused.
“I can’t recall many Thames matches, even from back in the day, when I’ve weighed in 19lb and not won a bean but this was one of them and it’s testament to how good the fishing was. Roll on 2016!”
Result: 1 A Lekstutis, 31-13-0 (top weight from Strand on the Green); 2 N Newport, 21-8-0 (top weight from Barnes);
3 S Edwards, 31-6-0 (second-best weight from Strand on the Green); 4 G Bullock, 17-8-0 (second-best weight from Barnes).