Saturday saw the final of the British Lure Angling Championship take place at Chew Valley lake, and what a fantastic event it was.
The day dawned wet and windy and conditions made the morning session tricky, but the 64 contestants who had qualified were all raring to go and keen to find the fish. The event was brilliant organised by Fox Consultant and Event Supremo Julian Chidgey, so everyone had time for a full English breakfast in the cafe ahead of the rules and safety briefings at which fish welfare was a major priority.
Once the boats had been allocated everyone got themselves ready and then the boats were told to move out to a buoyed off area waiting for the “Le Mans” start.
By the time we got to the lunchtime break it was fairly obvious that those who had fished off Woodford bank had faired the best as the bait-fish were there in abundance. After a cracking lunch courtesy of the Polish Anglers Association and a good gossip about who was doing well and who was not. It was time to set off for the final session of the day and see who would be crowned BLAC Champion.
If the morning had been a bit wet, windy and difficult for many anglers, the afternoon was a different story. Soon news was filtering round of a huge fish caught by Ben Tregoning which measured a staggering 120cm. Ben must have been delighted and frustrated at the same time as neither he nor his boat partner had a set of scales, but the Pike was estimated at well over 30lb.
Some of the anglers who qualified using finesse techniques on canals took a little while to adjust to the demands of fishing with 4″ lures and 28lb wire traces, but good anglers always find a way as proved by Adam Kirby, who may be famed for catching big bags of small perch, but certainly showed he knows how to catch the big specimens too by boating an amazing 5 perch over 3lb in the afternoon.
Paul Parnell who won the original Chew qualifier was in amongst the fish all day and it only got better in the afternoon as Paul banked 3lb + perch and 20lb + pike in quick succession. Paul would go on to miss out on a podium spot by just a few centimetres.
But Paul, Adam and Ben were not to become the first british Lure Angling Champion. Instead the Top Three on the day consisted of venue specialist John Horsey who boated 1089cm of fish in 3rd. Ben Humber grabbed 2nd with a massive haul of 1284cm and out in front was Steve Collett who tore the opposition apart with a dramatic 1473cm which consisted of 7 pike and 40 perch. Well done Steve, what an amazing performance.