The 2016 Pike Championships results
1 Andrew Muirhead, Cromer, 21lb 1oz (two fish)
2 Wayne Lees, Oxfordshire, 16lb (two fish)
3 Jack Taylor, Stoke-on-Trent, 14lb (one fish)
4 Diniz Rodrigues, Cromer, 13lb 12oz (one fish)
5 Paul Lenton, Doddington, 13lb 2oz (two fish)
Kevin Roads, Alderminster, 11lb 2oz (one fish)
A cheque for £1,400 and the 2016 Angling Trust Pike Championships trophy was an unexpected but pleasant reward for birthday boy Andrew Muirhead.
The pike fanatic, from Cromer, Norfolk, celebrated his 52nd birthday with two fish totalling 21lb 1oz, including the day’s biggest pike of 18lb 1oz.
Fishing peg 24 on Cambridgeshire’s Bevill’s Leam, an area known locally as Glassmoor Bank, Andrew had to wait 90 minutes for his first run of the match, but after recasting a dead roach to the drain’s far margin the float was off again in two minutes.
“I gave the rod a hefty strike and immediately knew it was no jack pike – but the fight from the 18-pounder was rather disappointing,” said Andrew.
Things could have been very different had third-placed 12-year-old Jack Taylor not lost a potential match winner.
The youngster, from Stoke-on-Trent, caught a 14lb pike then, like the winner, saw his float dip again from a second fish.
“I saw the fish briefly in the clear water. It was a much better fish than the 14-pounder, but unfortunately it let go and I lost it,” said Jack.
Incredibly, he hooked the fish again moments later, but in a cruel twist of fate, he lost it again. Consolation came in the form of third place and the prize for top junior.
In between Andrew and Jack was British Pike Fishing Squad member Wayne Lees with two pike for a combined weight of 16lb, including a 13lb 4oz fish.
On a day of heavy rain, an early-morning frost and strong winds, another four double-figure fish were recorded as well as a host of smaller fish.
Match organiser Ted Rowe commented: “Despite the horrendous weather conditions throughout, the 2016 Pike Champs has been another roaring success and I’d like to thank the Angling Trust for its sponsorship, my wife Ann for helping to organise the event, all the match stewards, and Whittlesey AA’s Dave White for the venue.
“For me, though, the story of the day was young Jack landing a double-figure pike to come third in the match, beating off some very strong competition.
“Hopefully news of his success will spur on other juniors to take up this great sport of ours.”
Dave White, vice president of Whittlesea Angling Association, added: “Even though the conditions were poor and the fishing very hard, Whittlesey AA are proud to be able to hold the Championships on one of our many waters.”