The world’s biggest specimen fishing competition has crowned Dai Gribble champion.
In the closest-ever finish in the 31-year history of the Drennan Cup the Staffs-based specialist became the envy of the big-fish world when votes cast by angling’s elite put him just two points ahead of Yorkshire’s Tony Smith.
He sent shockwaves through the angling world when he began his campaign and made an incredible string of tench hauls that many believe will never be rivalled.
The Korum-backed angler’s incredible journey began last May when he targeted Medway Valley Fisheries and banked a huge 13lb 3oz fish that was backed up by no fewer than seven other double-figure specimens.
Just a few weeks later he switched to another venue and made tench fishing history when he banked the biggest-ever specimen caught by design weighing in at a colossal 14lb12oz. The specimen later graced his net for a second time an ounce heavier at 14lb 13oz.
Not only did he land 16 double-figure tench during his campaign, but his summer was completed when he struck gold again, this time with another species – a 20lb 10oz bream, along with six other ‘doubles’ that secured his third and final Drennan Weekly Award of the season.
“By the end of June I’d made five catches that were all once-in-a-lifetime achievements in their own right, and anglers that I hold in the highest regard were saying ‘Dai you’ve got the Drennan in the bag’. I didn’t even dare to dream that this could be the case,” he told Angling Times.
“I never set out to win the Drennan Cup as I just have a passion for catching big fish.
“To have my name etched on to this trophy along with names such as Terry Lampard and Tony Gibson is just incredible.
“The Drennan Cup is special because the winner is voted for by other specimen anglers. There couldn’t be a bigger honour in big-fish angling.”
Peter Drennan said: “In any other season Tony Smith with four awards across four different species would have walked away as the overall winner.
“But a run of giant tench and most of all a truly massive 20lb plus bream drew a tiny majority of the discerning voters in favour of Dai.
“What a fantastic season both of these dedicated specimen hunters have enjoyed, so serious congratulations to them.”