The weekend of the 16th September saw the thirteenth running of the British Carp Angling Championship final held at top Hampshire day ticket water Broadlands Lake. Back in April the event started out with 216 pairs all hoping to get here, but after two rounds of hard fought eliminators we were left with just 14 teams and what was considered by many to be one of the strongest final line ups for several years.
All would battle it out for the coveted BCAC trophy and £15,000 prize pool, but despite all of the big names, it was a relatively unknown pair of anglers drawn in a swim that nobody really wanted who would take down the top prize and ensure their names would be added to the 12 previous winners already etched on the trophy.
2011 champions Wayne Rees and Luke Church had made it to Broadlands for a second year and it was left to them to get things underway. Drawn in one of the more favoured swims, it took Wayne and Luke just nine minutes to get off the mark and this first bite prompted a busy couple of hours where no less than eight of the 14 finalists got themselves on the score board. By Friday evening it was BCAC regulars Kevin Grout and Matt Wyld who were leading the way with 3 carp for 40lb 4oz. Pegged in the Blackwater Bay swim that won the match in 2008, Kevin and Matt employed the traditional Broadlands PVA bagging tactics to catch all of their fish, one of which was a cracking common that weighed in at over 20lb.
Overnight, the early lead held by Grout and Wyld would soon come under threat from Bradley Sears and Stuart Harbour. Pegged in the winning Motorway Bay swim from last year, five carp for 53lb would move them straight to the top only for Grout and Wyld to catch another twenty to see them regain the lead. Back in third were two anglers giving the BCAC a go for the very first time. It’s fair to say that when Northamptonshire based Robert Julyan and Ashley Taylor drew the relatively un-fancied peg 8, they thought their chances of winning were all but gone. However, by Saturday morning things hadn’t quite gone as expected, and the very likable duo had already netted a trio of carp for 38lb. The pair had found a good number of carp held up under an overhanging bush up the left hand margin, and using chod rig tactics not usually associated with the PVA bag dominated Broadlands they started to catch on their glugged Premier Baits Indian Spice pop-ups.
Overall, Saturday morning produced little in the way of action for anyone, but it didn’t stay that way for long. Another double for Julyan and Taylor seemed to be the catalyst for the Broadlands carp to switch on and within minutes there were reports of fish getting caught from all over. Julyan and Taylor were in again minutes later with a superb 27lb 10oz mirror that saw them briefly take the lead from Grout and Wyld. Then over in peg 2 the very experienced pairing of previous champion Tim Fromant and partner Cliff Kemp put on a stunning display of accurate casting to land four good fish within the space of an hour. The catch included a brace of twenties and added to their overnight captures, propelled Tim and Cliff from a lowly seventh to the heights of first place. A 25lb common for Grout and Wyld then ensured they were still in the running before Juylan and Taylor bagged two more to regain the lead on 106lb 10oz, just 3lb ahead of Fromant and Kemp.
Through Saturday evening both Grout/Wyld and Julyan/Taylor held the lead at some stage and after a very quiet Saturday night where neither teams caught, there was just 6lb between them with six hours of the match to go. Overnight, the teams of Fromant and Kemp and Mark Sawyer and Simon Wheeler had closed the gap on the leaders, but when Julyan and Taylor landed two more carp to extend their lead to 40lb, someone would need to make a big move. With only two hours of the match to go, Grout and Wyld did exactly that and two doubles on the bank within minutes put them just 11lb 13oz behind. A battle had also developed for third place with Sawyer and Wheeler only 7lb down on a very nervous Fromant and Kemp, who had recently lost a carp that would have almost guaranteed a third placed finish. With 50 minutes left, Sawyer and Wheeler finally got the opportunity they had worked so hard for, but disaster struck when the carp got wedged in the marginal pads and came adrift. Opposite them were Grout and Wyld who were also desperately hoping for one more chance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and when news came through that Julyan and Taylor had extended their lead to over 25lb with a priceless 13lb mirror, it was all over.
Pegged in a swim where nobody really wanted to be, Robert Julyan and Ashley Taylor had given it 100 per cent and put on a faultless display of angling to win the British Carp Angling Championships at their very first attempt. It was a victory that was fully deserved and they take away the sought after BCAC trophy, limited edition Reuben Heaton silver champions scales and a cheque for £10000.
BCAC 2011 FINAL RESULT
1st Robert Julyan/Ashley Taylor 180lb 2oz
2nd Kevin Grout/Matt Wyld 155lb 1oz
3rd Tim Fromant/Cliff Kemp 116lb 7oz
4th Mark Sawyer/Simon Wheeler 109lb 6oz
5th Lewis Swift/Jack Meyer 98lb