Who will lift the Drennan Cup?

Who's up for the Drennan Cup

by Angling Times |

IF the stunning array of catches made by the country’s specimen anglers over the past year is anything to go by, Britain’s big-fish scene is thriving.

River records have tumbled, and some of the biggest braces of all time have been reported in a memorable
12 months.

Since the start of last spring the team at Drennan has handed out more weekly awards than at any point since the competition began in 1985.

Usually, when the time comes to pick the leading angler, there are one or two that have nudged clear of the chasing pack, but this season it’s a far closer affair. No fewer than 10 anglers have won three or more awards, pointing towards this year’s competition having a tighter finish than ever before!

Here, we’ve rounded up the main contenders and highlighted some of the remarkable fish they’ve caught.

Simon Daley (6 awards)

REIGNING Drennan Cup holder Simon Daley showed no signs of slowing down this season, scooping no fewer than six weekly awards.

Last time around, his winning haul consisted of three fish from his ‘home’ water – the Hampshire Avon. But this year he’s shown his true versatility by catching an 11lb 3oz tench and a 6lb 1oz eel, both of them PBs. His tench fell to a worm and fake maggot hookbait, presented below a feeder packed with chopped worms and maggots.

But Simon still fished the Avon, taking barbel of 16lb 12oz and 17lb 6oz, before heading to the Thames and landing a 17lb 10oz fish, yet another PB. Homemade boilies did the trick for the barbel. Come winter, he returned to the Avon to bank a 2lb 10oz roach on trotting tactics for his sixth and final award.

Simon Baker(5 awards)

ALL anglers go through purple patches, but you’d struggle to replicate Simon Baker’s form in the autumn of 2021. After landing a 3lb 8dr rudd in July, the London angler was given awards in four consecutive weeks after a stunning run of captures. These began with a 17lb 3oz Thames barbel, swiftly followed by a 7lb 10oz chub from the same venue.

He then targeted the River Lea, where he trotted maggots on a size 20 hook to tempt a 7lb 15oz chub. Returning soon afterwards to find the river in flood, he legered a chunk of spicy meat for an 18lb 2oz barbel PB to end a month-long run of amazing form.

Gavin Barrett (5 awards)

MAKING the most of the Hampshire Avon’s potential was Ringwood angler Gavin Barrett.

He enjoyed a blistering autumn and winter campaign, landing barbel of 16lb 9oz and 17lb 6oz before slipping his net under a phenomenal 19lb 3oz fish – one he’s been after for the past few winters.

Like Simon Daley, Gavin relies on homemade boilies, and there’s no doubt that his recipe is to the fish’s liking!

While you might think that the 19-pounder would be the fish of Gavin’s season, he also banked a superb 8lb chub on paste from the same venue – but before he hit the rivers, Gavin also spent time targeting eels, and managed to bank a 6lb 3oz fish in May.

Paul Faint (5 awards)

SPECIMEN anglers know that the best time for a monster river fish is in the dying weeks of the season, and Essex angler Paul Faint duly capitalised on the fact. He kicked his campaign off with a
5lb 12oz eel in August, but it wasn’t until February that he won his second award – this time for a clonking 8lb 1oz chub on breadflake from a neglected stretch of the River Lea.

A few weeks later, he added a 7lb 15oz Thames chub, before banking the biggest of the species reported this season – this
8lb 12oz monster. It, too, came from the Thames and set a new PB. Both fish were caught on a boilie named The Herb – a new bait Paul has been having great results on.

He didn’t rest on his laurels, however, and got back out on the same river just before the season ended to snare an 18lb 4oz barbel, this time on a piece of hair-rigged luncheon meat.

Daniel Woolcott (4 awards)

IF there’s one catch that really took ourbreath away, it has to be Dan Woolcott’s historic brace of roach weighing 3lb 14oz and 4lb 2oz – the biggest pair of redfins ever caught in the UK.

It’s fair to say that these fish sent the angling world into meltdown, but they’re far from the only specimens that all-rounder Dan managed this season.

In May, he banked a 3lb 7oz rudd from a tricky northern water using maggot feeder tactics.

Then, in December, he managed a 3lb 1oz roach – a specimen that’d be the fish of a lifetime for most anglers but one that was eclipsed by the colossal brace that followed.

Like many other anglers, he headed for the River Thames towards the end of the season and rounded things off with a chunky 7lb 10oz chub on boilie tactics.

James Champkin (3 awards)

WHEN James Champkin called Angling Times last spring and told us that he’d taken possibly the greatest haul of big rudd in history, our ears really pricked up! After hearing he’d caught 11 fish between 3lb and 3lb 12oz we were in awe, but when he mentioned that a 4lb 5oz stunner – one of the biggest rudd ever caught in Britain – had topped the list we were simply astounded! All came from a tricky northern stillwater, where he used popped-up maggots fished helicopter-style.

At that point James had already won a weekly award for a 3lb 9oz rudd, but these beauties weren’t his only claim to fame. In the last few weeks of the river season he bagged an 19lb 7oz River Lea barbel, a fish that set a new river record at the time. Safe to say, James doesn’t do things by halves!

Paul Scowen (3 awards)

OXFORD angler Paul Scowen has had a cracking season, with one of the best fish of the year included in his catches – a 3lb 15oz roach.

It came from a low-stock gravel pit that he’d been fishing for three winters, and fell to maggot feeder tactics over a bed of dark groundbait.

Back in late May Paul received an award for a 15lb 15oz bream, taken from a tricky water after he used an underwater camera to establish how the fish were feeding. He realised that they’d swim over the spot alone or in small groups, take a mouthful of grubs, and move on. Switching from traditional bream tactics to carp-style rigs was the key to catching the specimen.

Come January 2022, Paul then hit a southern reservoir in search of perch to take fish of 4lb 10oz and 4lb 6oz on lure tactics.

Lee McManus (3 awards)

MANY of the big fish reported from the Midlands last year were huge Trent barbel, but Leicester rod Lee McManus proved that the region’s stillwaters have plenty to offer too.

In early summer he had a 17lb 12oz bream from a gravel pit, where he fished a double fake corn hookbait on a small plateau in a 20ft-deep area.

A few months later, on just his second perch trip of the season, he managed to bank a 4lb 8oz stripey from a
170-acre stillwater, this time on a worm hookbait fished at long range.

But Lee also managed to tap into the Trent’s incredible potential when he headed to a tidal stretch of the river in the heart of winter to bank an 18lb 2oz zander on a roach deadbait. This is a species that seems to be thriving in the venue, and few people would be surprised if it produced a new British record over the next few seasons.

Matthew Fernandez (3 awards)

HAMPSHIRE angler Matt Fernandez had a bountiful few months in late summer and early autumn, winning weekly awards for three of our most iconic stillwater species – tench, bream, and crucians.

He kicked things off in July with an 11lb 1oz tench that fell to a heavily glugged 12mm boilie, fished helicopter-style above an open-ended feeder packed with groundbait and pellets.

Then, in early September, Matt targeted his favourite crucians on Method feeder tactics with fake caster hookbaits and managed to bank a new PB of 4lb 4oz.

The following month Matt went in search of specimen bream, and came up trumps with a 16lb 12oz fish from a southern pit.

Neville Fickling (3 awards)

PREDATOR fishing legend Neville Fickling showed his class at the back-end of the season, landing three quick-fire specimens in the space of a month.

He kicked things off with a 40lb 12oz pike from a secret Midlands stillwater on a floatfished deadbait. It was Nev’s second career forty, the first being the former British record of 41lb 6oz from the River Thurne in 1985.

He then turned his attention to zander, and it didn’t take him long to land a very special 18lb 14oz fish from a Midlands river. It was a new PB for Nev at the time, but just a few days later he was back on the same venue for an early morning session.

This time, he fished with a 4oz roach livebait and duly landed a 19lb 2oz zed to
finish the river season with a real bang.

END-OF SEASON RECORD RIVER BRACES!

Sometimes, a single outstanding catch will capture the imagination of voters, and this year we saw two record fish braces caught at the end of the river season. First up was the 16lb 12oz brace of Thames chub landed by Alan Stagg. After slipping his net under an 8lb 8oz fish, the Basingstoke rod was preparing to photograph his prize when his rod went again and he banked another giant scaling 8lb 4oz – the first time ever that two ‘eights’ have been caught in the same session. Just a week or so later, lure ace Andy Black entered the record books after he caught two huge zander weighing 19lb 14oz and 18lb 6oz on the final day of the season from a Midlands river.

Multiple award winners 2021/22

Simon Daley (Six awards)

Fish caught: 11lb 3oz tench, 6lb 1oz eel, 16lb 12oz barbel, 17lb 6oz barbel, 17lb 10oz barbel, 2lb 10oz roach

Gavin Barrett (Five awards)

Fish caught: 6lb 3oz eel,16lb 9oz barbel, 17lb 6oz barbel, 8lb chub, 19lb 3oz barbel

Simon Baker (Five awards)

Fish caught: 3lb 8dr rudd, 17lb 3oz barbel, 7lb 10oz chub, 7lb 15oz chub, 18lb 2oz barbel

Paul Faint (Five awards)

Fish caught: 5lb 12oz eel, 8lb 1oz chub, 7lb 15oz chub, 8lb 12oz chub, 18lb 4oz barbel

Daniel Woolcott (Four awards)

Fish caught: 3lb 7oz rudd, 3lb 1oz roach, roach brace of 4lb 2oz + 3lb 14oz, 7lb 10oz chub

James Champkin (Three awards)

Fish caught: 3lb 9oz rudd, 4lb 5oz rudd, 19lb 7oz barbel

Matthew Fernandez (Three awards)

Fish caught: 11lb 1oz tench, 4lb 4oz crucian, 16lb 12oz bream

Lee McManus (Three awards)

Fish caught: 17lb 12oz bream, 4lb 8oz perch, 18lb 2oz zander

Paul Scowen (Three awards)

Fish caught: 15lb 15oz bream, 4lb 10oz perch, 3lb 15oz roach

Neville Fickling (Three awards)

Fish caught: 40lb 12oz pike, 18lb 14oz zander, 19lb 2oz zander

Steve Pitts (Two awards)

Fish caught: 7lb 4oz eel, 6lb 3oz eel

Matt Atkins (Two awards)

Fish caught: 5lb 1oz perch, 5lb 4oz perch

Alan Storey (Two awards)

Fish caught: 3lb 2oz roach, 3lb 3oz roach

Adrian Eves (Two awards)

Fish caught: 17lb 15oz bream, 17lb 4oz bream

Adam Jones (Two awards)

Fish caught: 4lb 11oz perch, 3lb 1oz grayling

Eric Robinson (Two awards)

Fish Caught: 37lb pike, 33lb pike

Sam Edmonds (Two awards)

Fish caught: 4lb 8oz perch, 4lb 13oz perch

Phil White (Two awards)

Fish caught: 16lb 9oz barbel, 7lb 11oz chub

Gary Newman (Two awards)

Fish caught: 11lb 4oz tench, 20lb 2oz barbel

Heber Crawford (Two awards)

Fish caught: 2lb 12oz roach, 3lb 2oz roach

SUBMIT YOUR VOTE!

Anybody who has won a weekly Drennan Cup award over the past five years is eligible to cast a vote in this year’s competition.

If you qualify, please email Freddie.sandford@bauermedia.co.uk or call 07707 286660. Please include your top four choices for this year’s cup. Voting ends on April 19, and the winner will be announced shortly after.

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