Tony Coates with the Golden Reel trophy

by Angling Times |

TONY Coates is the new Golden Reel Angling Champion, earning himself a £50,000 pay day.

Lining up as one of the 40 semi-finalists in a one-off eliminator at Larford on the Wednesday before the final, Beverley-based Tony won it with 200lb-plus from peg 28 on the grass bank of the Match Lake – and then went and drew it again for the final!

This time, though, 68-1-0 was enough to win by just 9lb from Welsh rod John Hannam, who was on the end peg of the burr bank. Tony takes up the story...


“I felt the end pegs would dominate, so I was pleased to have one. I set up a mugging rig plus 6m and 16m pole lines, margin rigs, and a bomb and Method feeder rod to chuck to the point of the island. I planned to start on the pole short and work my way out.

“On pellet short at 6m I had nothing for 30 minutes. I moved out to 16m, but the wind made it hard to fish here, pinging pellets over the top. I did catch a couple of carp, but it was a real sit-and-wait job.

“The bomb to the island caught me one more carp. Although I managed two on the mugging rig I felt this wasn’t the right method, so it was back on the bomb with 8mm pellet, when I caught two more carp.”

Tony in action
Tony in action


“At around 2.30pm I had a look in the margins but the fish were very spooky, coming into the edge but then bow-waving off once you put the pole over their heads.

“It was time to pick up the Method and cast a metre away from where I was fishing the bomb, using a wafter on the hook. Three carp in three casts took me into the lead! But with an hour to go John Hannam began to catch quickly – if his carp were big, I felt he could overtake me in no time.”


“With half-an-hour to go I snapped my feeder off, so I cast the bomb back out, turned around to pick up another feeder and the rod almost got pulled in!

“With that fish in the net, I set the Method up, chucked it out and caught a carp straight away. Then it went dead.

“I’d still fed the pole lines but had left them alone for a long time. Dropping in at 6m with pellet I foul-hooked a 5lb carp but landed it, then lost another next drop-in.

“The last 10 minutes or so were spent out at 16m on the deck, and with 30 seconds to go I nailed another 5lb fish. Would this be the one to win me the match?”

A last gasp fish secured £50,000


“Talk was that I’d won, although John had been catching really well with big fish too. My two late carp seemed to have kept him at arm’s length, however, so I was confident – although 68lb is a very low weight for Larford. I was hoping no-one had sneaked a few big fish out without anyone seeing.

“You couldn’t follow the scales around, so I sat tight and waited anxiously for John’s weight to be broadcast on the tannoy.

“There was relief when his total was confirmed at 59-1-0, more or less one carp behind me. I honestly believe if we’d fished for another 15 minutes he might have beaten me, and without a doubt I owe a lot to those two fish I caught at the death!”

Tony with his catch
Tony with his catch
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