22 SPECIES AND 1,600 MILES...
Charity fishabout challenge sees Jerry Gleeson exhausted but happy
“I’d love to do it all again but it would probably get me a divorce”
AN INCREDIBLE angling challenge has seen one man travel more than 1,600 miles in order to catch as many species of fish as possible – all in the name of charity.
Fishing fanatic Jerry Gleeson spent more than two weeks travelling across the UK and Europe, fishing no fewer than 16 rivers to raise money for the Army Benevolent Fund.
The Mad Baits-sponsored angler fought off sleep deprivation, broken rods, aching muscles and numerous items of lost tackle to land an incredible 22 different species.
The challenge saw the Manchester stalwart begin his campaign in England, fishing his local River Goyt before visiting numerous waterways on his way south, where he finished on the Kentish Stour.
He then made his way across the Channel to fish rivers in Belgium, France, Holland and Germany with the personal aim of also catching a barbel from every nation as well as as many species as possible.
Fishing a variety of tactics including lure, fly, trotting and standard legering, Jerry caught everything from trout and grayling to ide, asp and zander, and despite having numerous issues on the way, the 43-yearold had a great time
“The challenge has been fantastic, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, despite being absolutely exhausted,” he said. “All the anglers I have met and those who have helped me out, including those in Europe, have been so supportive – I couldn’t have done it without them. The angling
community has also
been great. One guy Steve West, who I didn’t even know before the challenge, heard about what I was doing and even came down and brought me a takeaway meal on the River Stour. It was this kind of jesture that kept me going to the end. I also have the likes of angling friends Matt Marlow, Christophe Pelhate, Paul Floyd, Julian Barnes and Dave Chambers who supported me at numerous locations to thank.”
Jerry’s journey was not without incident. He lost numerous items of tackle and even got lost twice while finding his fishing spots: “I got lost in London, and when looking for the River Soar in Leicestershire. I also broke a couple of rods but the worst incident has to be when the taxi driver broke my £400 custom built rod putting it in the cab – I never realised until he drove off.
“I also snagged my reel lines on a bramble bush while walking the banks of the River Goyt and it practically stripped both my spools before I realised what had happened,” he said.
Jerry’s incredible journey has seen him raise more than £700 so far, but he is hoping to increase this by keeping his JustGiving page open for the next couple of weeks. Would he do it all again?
“Yes, I’d love to do it all again, but it would probably get me a divorce,” he joked.
A dawn start for the intrepid Jerry as he embarks on his epic journey. One of the best fish Jerry caught was this 12lb 2oz River Dove barbel.
Friends like Paul Floyd were crucial to Jerry’s charity walkabout.
This 7oz dace is actually of a respectable size for the species.
A broken £400 rod was one of several setbacks Jerry suffered on the trip.
Sleeping in the car saved on hotel bills, but it’s a tiring business...