Daley retains the Drennan Cup!

Hampshire specialist scoops title again following a bumper season for big-fish catches


by Angling Times |

SIMON Daley has lifted the Drennan Cup title for the second year running, despite stiff competition from the country’s growing band of dedicated specimen hunters.

With six weekly awards, the roof tiler from Hampshire becomes only the third angler ever to win the prestigious title in consecutive seasons, following Martin Hooper in the late 1980s and specimen angling ‘royalty’ Terry Lampard, who managed the feat twice.

Second place this year went to Daniel Woolcott, who stole the hearts of voters with his record-breaking brace of roach, not to mention his quality chub and rudd catches. Hampshire Avon expert Gavin Barrett finished third, following a string of huge barbel and chub catches from the iconic waterway, as well as a big eel earlier in the year.

Simon Baker was the final angler to get his name on the cup, managing a fourth-placed finish after a superb season of catches featuring big rudd, chub and barbel.

GOLDEN ERA FOR BIG-FISH ANGLING

It’s safe to say that in any ordinary season the anglers filling the podium would have had serious claims to the top spot, but 2021/22 witnessed new standards being set in specialist fishing, with a record number of weekly awards being handed out by Drennan, which makes Simon Daley’s win all the more exceptional.

“It takes a lot to get me excited, but winning this year’s Cup has blown me away,” he told us.

“Last season was quite incredible for big fish, not only in terms of the number of anglers on multiple awards, but also the quality of fish that they caught. There were some huge braces, too – Dan Woolcott’s roach, Alan Stagg’s pair of 8lb chub, Andy Black’s mega zander brace – competition was tougher than ever, which makes me even more pleased to have won.”

When Simon first won the Cup in 2020/21, he admitted that he hadn’t specifically set out to try and do so – he went fishing and big fish just came along. However, after an early success in this latest campaign, he admitted to having his sights set firmly on the prize.

“My first award was for an 11lb 3oz tench, and after that I decided to have a proper go for it,” he said. “I fished hard, targeting big eels, which took some real effort, before moving on to the rivers. I had a string of good barbel from the Thames and Avon, plus a nice roach. Knowing that the extra effort that I put into the campaign paid off is a great feeling.”

BROTHERS IN ARMS

Interestingly, Simon revealed that he had been in regular conversation with a few of the other main contenders, with a fair bit of banter exchanged between them as the season progressed.

“I’d see Gavin Barrett regularly on the Avon and I know Simon Baker quite well. It was nice to have a bit of a competition between us,” he explained. “We’d joke along the way, but were always happy for each other when we landed a special fish, even if we were neck and neck at times!”

After such a competitive year for the Cup, Simon believes specimen fishing is in a great place and likely to see a continued rise in participation.

“I don’t think there’s been a better time for specimen angling. Access to information on where big fish are is more open than ever, and I also think there are more big fish about. I think back to when I was young and the British record barbel was just over the 13lb mark. Nowadays, fish like that hardly get a look in. My local Hampshire Avon is in spectacular form, with 17lb barbel coming out fairly regularly, plus lots of stretches where you can catch big roach, not to mention pike and chub.

“Carp fishing still rules the roost, but I know a lot of carpers who are trying for different species. Some of them have switched over to specialist angling entirely.”

After some anglers win the Cup, their enthusiasm can wane, but Simon is as keen as ever to get back out there. “I’m currently trying for big eels and bream – both of which are rock hard to catch! I’d also really like an 8lb chub. Alan Stagg and Paul Faint’s fish have inspired me, so I’ll certainly be down on the Thames again this winter.

“If I get off to another good start this season I reckon I’ll have another go at the Cup. My dad and uncle are both anglers and are really pleased I’ve won, as is my girlfriend. She always sorts me out with pack-ups for when I’m fishing, so she really deserves some credit.”

HOW THEY FINISHED: FINAL POINTS STANDINGS OF TOP 10

1 - Simon Daley – 140 points

2 - Daniel Woolcott – 98 points

3 - Gavin Barrett – 96 points

4 - Simon Baker – 78 points

5 - Neville Fickling – 58 points

6 - Paul Faint – 56 points

7 - James Champkin – 30 points

8 - Lee McManus – 24 points

9 - Paul Scowen/Steve Pitts – 18 points

10 - Andy Black – 12 points

DRENNAN CUP HALL OF FAME

2022 - Simon Daley

2021 - Simon Daley

2020 - Rich Wilby

2019 - Darryn Stolworthy

2018 - Dai Gribble

2017 - Iain McDonald

2016 - Dai Gribble

2015 - Alan Stagg

2014 - Jamie Cartwright

2013 - Gareth Goldson

2012 - Simon Lavin

2011 - Neill Stephen

2010 - Julian Chidgey

2009 - Terry Lampard

2008 - Darran Goulder

2007 - Ted Bryan

2006 - Terry Lampard

2005 - Terry Lampard

2004 - Andy Nellist

2003 - Terry Lampard

2002 - Tony Gibson

2001 - Terry Lampard

2000 - Terry Lampard

1999 - Dave Harman

1998 - Terry Lampard

1997 - Matt Hayes

1996 - Bill Neil

1995 - Mark Vials

1994 - Andy Harman

1993 - No Drennan Cup

1992 - Alan Wilson

1991 - Ritchie McDonald

1990 - Len Arbery

1989 - Alan Wilson

1988 - Martin Hooper

1987 - Martin Hooper

1986 - Alan Wilson

1985 - Greg Buxton

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us