Tony Curd Talks Big Match Fishing

Drennan KO Cup, The ultimate test?

There are some fantastic events in the angling calendar year on year, but what really proves to be the ultimate test of skill and bottle? We have 130 peg one day qualifiers where ultimately it’s down to who draws well and can keep their bottle for a full five hours without cracking under the pressure of the occasion. We also have events such as White Acres Festivals and the UK Champs where consistency is key against top opposition! But in my opinion Match Fishing’s own Drennan Knockout Cup is head and shoulders above any other competition in that it’s an invited field of the very best the country has to offer, held over a number of months and equally gruelling rounds across a multitude of different venues meaning a ‘one trick pony’ is most unlikely to progress very far in the competition, if at all!

In recent years I’ve concentrated on Fish’O’Mania and making two finals along the way was great, but with ticket allocation becoming more and more difficult I found myself with a lot of time on my hands to dedicate to something else this year, and having never been able to give the Knockout Cup much time with regards to practise, it became the focus of my year.  

The first round at Lindholme Lakes will probably go down as one of my finest wins to date, I cannot think of a better 110 peg match to win, a red letter day of the highest order.  But from what to me is a ‘standard’ day at a top quality commercial fishery, we was then thrust into the world of canal fishing now this to me personally was going to be a big challenge – I used to do loads of canal fishing and really enjoyed it, but with the main events being held on commercials I hadn’t visited one for a good few years. Dusting off all my old floats and tying tiny hooks was definitely a different experience and to be honest one I was really looking forward to. The match itself was a difficult affair and after a practise session it would have been easy to have gone far too positive after catching double figures on squatts, but as with anything on this competition versatility is everything and a scratching match ensued for me with just 3lb being enough to get through on the day!

Feeling as though I’d dodged a bullet with that one the third round descended onto Viaduct Fishery, an awesome venue and one I always look forward to visiting and more ‘my game’, luckily I managed to draw on a few fish here and made the most of it and my 199lb weight was enough to frame on the day, it was now getting into the bones of the competition with only 20 remaining and if I’m honest the Tidal Trent wasn’t something that phased me, I’ve always done lots of river fishing and enjoy it just as much as I do fishing commercials but it was going to be a mammoth effort to get through to the next round. My peg for the day at North Clifton had a hate campaign towards me and proceeded to empty my box of feeders and gave little back in the way of bites on safer options, so unfortunately my 5lb odd weight fell short, one bonus fish on that feeder though and It’d of been game on, these are the very thin dividing lines you’re dealing with in this event owing mainly to the standard on the bank! Do I feel as though I messed the match up? No probably not, I’d say I was unlucky with the peg I’d drawn and it did bring it to the fore that although you can put in stellar performances round in, round out, you do need that bit of luck each round. Let’s face it, these guys are the best there is and without luck the result would probably go in peg order if fishing was truly fair, it’s what keeps us all going.

What I do take from my experience in having a decent run in the competition this year though is feeling massively tested in all areas of match fishing, and to be honest it’s a huge breath of fresh air after setting up pretty much the same kit week in week out on the venues I visit regularly.  It also showed the amount of time and effort you need to be putting into preparing for these rounds, there is absolutely no point turning up without leaving any stone unturned because you can bet your life on all the others on the bank being ready for anything and you’ll soon get found out!

I’d like to send out massive congratulations to this year’s winner Andy Power, a truly masterful display of all-round angling across the hugely diverse venues the competition visited and another big title added to an extremely impressive list to date. As always with the event, it’s great to hear about how these wins were carried out, so check out the December issue of Match Fishing Magazine to see the full story.

This competition should be an aim for every match angler out there to be involved with and if you ever get an invite to compete, grab it with both hands it’s an excellent experience! Who knows it may even get televised someday, in my opinion the format is spot on for a series style programme and could deliver all the excitement and ‘gladiatorial’ competitive viewing delivered by many other successful TV sports.  Food for thought…

Tight Lines

Tony Curd