Char­ity fishabout chal­lenge sees Jerry Gleeson ex­hausted but happy

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK - MARK PECK Se­nior reporter

“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...

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