Who won the big­gest prize in spec­i­men fish­ing in its first year?

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK - IAN JONES News Edi­tor

THE pres­ti­gious Dren­nan Cup has been of­fer­ing peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to make it big in the angling world for the last 33 years – but when did it all be­gin?

For this spe­cial 65th an­niver­sary is­sue we’re tak­ing a trip down mem­ory lane to 1985 and the first year of the ‘Dren­nan’ – the most pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion in UK spec­i­men fish­ing.

It was a year that turned out to be mem­o­rable, not just for the in­tro­duc­tion of the Dren­nan Cup it­self, but for the records that were bro­ken in the process… Words from Angling Times, Wed­nes­day, May 8, 1985 F Gir­resgt: Bux­ton – £1,000 S Neecvoin­llde: Fick­ling – £750 Third: Alastair Ni­chol­son – £500 FRoituchrtihe: MacDonald - £250

THE se­cret is out. Greg Bux­ton – cap­tor of a 14lb 1oz bar­bel – is the win­ner of the 1984/85 Dren­nan Cup.

Launched at the be­gin­ning of last sea­son, the Dren­nan Cup com­pe­ti­tion evolved as a way of re­ward­ing spec­i­men hunters for their achieve­ments.

Spon­sor Peter Dren­nan ex­pected to see per­haps one en­try from a na­tional record-holder, but the com­pe­ti­tion very soon went out of con­trol. The records rolled in… no fewer than NINE of them dur­ing the sea­son, and each a world ex­clu­sive to Angling Times.

The judg­ing was ex­pected to be con­ducted by a panel of ex­perts but the de­ci­sion was even­tu­ally de­ferred un­til the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Spe­cial­ist An­glers’ Con­fer­ence, in March, when mem­bers cast a vote for their choice. Again, the re­sult was a com­plete sur­prise. The best-known names were ex­pected to make a clean sweep. In­stead, fair minded NASA mem­bers put the qui­etly-spo­ken and charis­matic Greg Bux­ton to the top of the pile.

Greg wins a cool £1,000, the an­tique sil­ver Dren­nan Cup per­pet­ual tro­phy… and the hon­our of be­ing the first name on an award which is an­tic­i­pated to be the spec­i­men hunter’s tar­get for many years to come.

“I only ex­pected to get fourth place. Any­thing else was go­ing to be a bonus,” said Greg.

“I know that carp and pike are the ‘in’ species as far as spec­i­men hunters are con­cerned.

“Now I know the re­sult I am pleased for the bar­bel species as a whole.

“It has put them on a par with other fish when many thought they wouldn’t make the grade.”

Greg al­ready has plenty of plans for next sea­son, but none of them will be fol­lowed to the ex­tent that would al­low him to lose his ‘sense

of pro­por­tion’.

“I en­joy fish­ing for big fish be­cause they are few in num­ber – that’s the chal­lenge,” he said.

“But it means more to me to catch medium-sized fish from a nice river than to fish for big ones at a place where I have to keep pick­ing up lit­ter.

“If, by my ex­am­ple, I can in­flu­ence peo­ple to look af­ter what we have got, it will have been more than worth­while.”

Sec­ond-placed Neville Fick­ling was quick to con­grat­u­late Greg. “His fish is so far ahead of any other bar­bel that has been caught in re­cent years that he thor­oughly de­serves the award.

“I would like to have won the cup, but hav­ing my name en­graved on it along with the top four is a great hon­our.”

And Alastair Ni­chol­son said: “I am pleased for Greg, af­ter all the hard work he has put in.

“His win will be good for bar­bel fish­ing gen­er­ally.”

Fourth-placed Ritchie MacDonald said af­ter­wards: “Ev­ery­body who caught big fish last sea­son and didn’t make the top four was dis­ap­pointed.

“I’m just glad to be there, and pleased for Greg.”

And as he turned to leave, he shook hands with Greg, who was hold­ing the Dren­nan Cup and said with a smile: “Keep it pol­ished for me, my son.”

1st First win­ner Greg Bux­ton’s 14lb 1oz bar­bel.

Greg Bux­ton, the in­au­gu­ral Dren­nan Cup cham­pion.

2nd Sec­ond – Neville Fick­ling’s 41lb 6oz pike, a great fish.

4th Fourth – Ritchie MacDonald’s 45lb 12oz mir­ror.


Alastair Ni­chol­son, third with a bream of 15lb 6oz.

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