MANY years ago, the Daily Mirror ran a fishing competition for the worthiest catches. The prizes, selected by the great Bernard Venables, were spectacular – a B James Avocet rod and an Allcocks Flick ‘Em reel.
I have one of the latter, neatly engraved ‘Daily Mirror Prize Reel’. I’m no expert, but the boffins tell me it dates to the early fifties.
I didn’t win it. It came to me far more recently, via eBay, but it still works like a charm and has teased a few chub and perch from local rivers. I’m very fond of it.
Fishing competitions are curious things. The logic of a match is obvious – he or she who catches the biggest net of fish takes the glory. But competitions which compare, say, the capture of a 30lb carp with a 10lb barbel, or a 2lb roach with a brace of 5lb chub, are far less clear.
They can be controversial. The relative merits of each specimen must be compared, so too the waters from which they came – and in the case of carp, the captor is unlikely to want that to be in the public domain.
And so I announce the Get Hooked monthly competition with a little trepidation, knowing that the final decision – mine – will inevitably be questioned by some readers.
That’s fine; we are all brothers of the angle, as Walton described us, and most brothers have been known to disagree from time to time.
The criteria for entry are simple. If you catch a fish that you consider pleasing, impressive or unusual, and you do so within the region covered by the Standard, tell me about it. An email to the address below is enough, and your story need not be long. If you’re willing for me to mention it in print (with venue details omitted if you wish) then you will have entered.
I will choose a winner at the end of each calendar month, and announce them in this very column. I’ll contact the winner, too, and they will be able to claim their prize. So far, with more offers coming in daily, monthly winners will be able to choose from a Tackle Den Voucher, a 24-hour ticket for Bradley’s, a 24-hour ticket for Whelford Pools and a bait package from Baitworks. I’m hoping for some trout-related prizes to materialise, too, so get your stories to me. Tight lines.
Catch reports: firstname.lastname@example.org