“I’ve got the biggest smile on my face – I didn’t expect to win the Drennan Cup at all!”
These are the words of an elated Darryn Stolworthy, who has been crowned champion of the country’s most prestigious specimen fishing competition.
The Angling Direct-backed ace took top spot and a cheque for £2,000 after one of the closest-run votes in the competition’s 35-year history, with Darryn finishing just 10 points ahead of his nearest rival, Rich Wilby.
In a phenomenal season Darryn scooped four weekly awards, the first of which came in June after a mega haul at Bawburgh Fisheries in his home county of Norfolk. Darryn landed tench to 12lb 4oz and part of a haul of 60 fish that also included a 10lb 1oz male and a 33lb 12oz carp.
Over the following months Darryn added an 18lb bream, a 4lb 4oz perch and a 3lb 3oz stillwater roach to cap off a truly superb season’s fishing.
“When I had that big hit of tench in June I wasn’t going to publicise it, but thankfully my mate convinced me to.
“Then the big perch and bream came along and I really couldn’t not send them in!”
Of his four winning catches, it was the bream haul that turned out to be his favourite, as he explained: “Only two bream were caught all season from the water but I managed fish of 12lb 13oz, 14lb 14oz, 15lb 3oz, 16lb, 17lb 2oz and the 18-pounder in a single session.
“There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so you couldn’t have had worse conditions for bream, but somehow I still managed to catch them!” he continued.
“You can be a skilful angler, but at the end of the day luck ultimately has the biggest part to play. I’m just completely shocked and delighted to have won.”
There was little surprise that Rich Wilby took second-place after his maiden Drennan campaign yielded no fewer than five weekly awards – the most taken by a single angler throughout the season.
These included a haul of rudd to 3lb 6oz, 15 eels to 5lb 2oz and a 2lb 14oz River Waveney roach.
“I’m delighted to have come this close and it’s definitely given me the motivation for next year,” Rich told Angling Times.
“I’ve really enjoyed the experience but it’s totally deserved for Darryn,’ he added.
Third place went to Essex-based angler Paul Faint who won a quartet of Weekly Drennan Cup awards for his catches of huge barbel (19lb 11oz), rudd (3lb 6oz) and perch (brace of 4lb 1oz and 4lb 7oz).
All round specimen ace Dan Gale filled the final position on the podium following his captures of a 3lb 2oz roach (River Frome), a 16lb 9oz barbel and a 3lb 8oz rudd.
How it works
Captures are submitted to Angling Times, then forwarded to Drennan to be considered for an £80 Weekly Award. Anglers who break a British record get a one-off award of £300. After 12 months a list of winners is published and voting letters are sent to previous Drennan Cup Weekly Award winners from previous years.
They list their top four anglers – four points going to their top pick, down to one point for their fourth pick. The result is revealed in late April, when the angler with the highest total number of votes wins the trophy.
You could win!
Due to the rolling nature of the competition, entries are already being accepted for weekly awards in the 2019-20 Drennan Cup competition.
Entries will cease being taken at the end of March 2020. If you catch a specimen coarse fish (other than a carp or catfish) by design in the next 12 months, try to take good quality photos, weigh the fish carefully and, if possible, have a witness on hand. Tick all three boxes, and you could have a chance of winning!
DRENNAN CUP HOTLINE
If you’ve caught a specimen fish, contact Angling Times news editor Ian Jones on 01733 395111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All big fish are put forward for consideration by Drennan and will be featured in the Angling Times.