***** Drennan Cup Winner *****
Simon Daley has lifted the Drennan Cup title for the second year running, despite stiff competition from the country’s growing of dedicated specimen hunters. With six weekly awards, the roof tiler from Hampshire becomes only the third angler to ever 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.
Its 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 the 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.”
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 competitions 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 s 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 that 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.”
2nd Place – £1,000
Daniel Woolcott: 3lb 7oz Rudd, 3lb 1oz Roach, Brace of Roach 4lb 2oz and 3lb 14oz and 7lb 10oz Chub
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.
Daniel’s incredible brace of Roach was captured on film and can be watched below.
LARGEST EVER BRACE | DANIEL WOOLCOTT | SPECIMEN ROACH FISHING
3rd Place – £500
Gavin Barrett: 6lb 3oz Eel, 8lb Chub, 16lb 9oz Barbel, 17lb 6oz Barbel and 19lb 3oz Barbel
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.
4th Place – £250
Simon Baker: 3lb 8dr Rudd, 17lb 3oz Barbel, 18lb 2oz Barbel and 7lb 10z Chub
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.
How To Enter
Weekly Drennan Cup prizes are awarded to anglers who have caught specimen fish by design.
All contenders are put forward for consideration by Drennan and are featured in Angling Times. Weekly winners receive a £80 prize, while the overall champion each season gets £2,000 plus their name engraved on the prestigious trophy.