Cancer is such a devastating disease. Speak to anyone and they can tell you how they have been directly or indirectly affected. This terrible condition has been prevalent in my life, affecting both my family and friends. I felt I just had to do something rather than just sit there. So it was my intention to raise funds to help Cancer Research but the problem was how? I love my fishing and especially fishing for wels catfish in the summer months. I frequent most of the cat fishing forums and on a couple of them a charity fish-in had been mentioned but it never got past the idea side as it seemed no one wanted to pick up the challenge. So the idea came into my head, why don’t I try and get all the forums and as many catfish anglers together to fish an event to raise funds and Catting for Cancer was born. First thing I needed to do was find out what sort of interest there was out there for an event like this, so I posted my idea on all of the forums I frequented and also on my Facebook page to see what feedback I would get. Well the response was overwhelming. I was inundated with messages from anglers all over the country expressing an interest to fish an event like this. So the idea looked a good one, I had interest now probably the hardest part of the idea, where to hold it? The venue had to be large to accommodate at least 30 anglers, must hold wels catfish (obviously), be prepared to let us hold this event and hopefully donate us the venue or let us have it at a reduced rate. I contacted five fisheries that I thought would fit the bill and sat back eagerly awaiting a response. Disappointingly four of the five I had contacted failed to reply. The only one who responded was Shatterford Lakes. They thought it was a great idea and could accommodate the event, they offered me all three lakes that held catfish at a reduced rate and more importantly had 34 pegs available. After a few emails pinging back and forwards and telephone calls to discuss the finer details, the lakes were booked for 48 hours from July 2nd to 4th I posted on all the forums the details of the event and almost immediately places were being booked and deposits sent. This really was going to happen. Posters were designed by Keith Lambert of the CCG and advertised, I contacted Pike and Predators explaining my idea and their response was brilliant. They immediately donated 34 goody bags for all persons fishing the event. They also donated two yearly subscriptions towards our raffle and pledged they would advertise the event each month up to the event. I started contacting companies for donations for our raffle prizes, the donations again were overwhelming. I was pledged three Ebro trips, tackle vouchers from £25 up to £250, fishing rods, terminal tackle, signed catfish prints and lots more. In all we had 29 prizes for our raffle in what even if I say so myself, is the most impressive prize list I have seen for a fishing event.
I wanted to get angling celebrities involved if possible, so I decided to contact a few. I managed to get the ‘Day Ticket’ boys Richard Garner and Trevor Pritchard on board and actually fishing the event. This gave me an idea of asking them if they would fish a 48hr session on Swallow Pool – that had been donated as a prize – with whoever won it; they both agreed. Another angling celebrity Des Taylor also agreed to turn up and support our event. All 34 places sold out within a couple of months, other guys were so keen to be involved I made up a reserves list of 11 names in case we had any cancellations. Raffle tickets were printed, a just giving page was set up with a Catting for Cancer team attached to it, and it was at this point I thought what should be our target to raise? I really had no idea how much we could make so my first target was set at £1000 but I soon realised this would be fairly easily achieved so upped it to £2000 and then again to £3000. Raffle tickets starting selling well, I attended the CCG AGM where they kindly offered me a table free of charge to promote the event and sell raffle tickets. Finally the event was upon us, unfortunately we had had a few guys drop out due to one reason or another but each and every one of them donated their £60 fee for the event to the fund. I want to say a big thank you to them for doing that. The vacant spaces were quickly snapped up from the guys on the reserve list so we were ready to go.
I turned up bright and early at Shatterford on the day of the event to get the gazebo’s set up. Banners were put up including one on one of the lake islands with thanks to Davan the bailiff at Shatterford. His rowing skills are second to none. The guys fishing the event started turning up at around 10.15, signed in and received their goody bags which included magazines from Pike and Predators, DVD’s from Monster Tours and Rich and Trev and a free Catting for Cancer T-shirt from The printbiz. Pegs were drawn and Davan worked tirelessly ferrying everyone’s gear to the pegs so at 12 noon fishing could commence. First fish caught was a carp to Richard Garner who just couldn’t resist stalking some that he had seen on the lake he was fishing. He was caught in the act and was advised that after all his efforts, the carp didn’t count. The first catfish landed was caught again by Richard who had by now settled into his swim and was finally fishing purposely for the cats. All three lakes produced fish over the next 48 hrs, the smallest caught was 19.5lb and the biggest being 44.4lbs. On 3rd July DesTaylor turned up as promised and an amazing bbq was had by all courtesy of Michael Pickard. His food was amazing especially the 58 day matured sirloin steaks that everyone enjoyed. A representative of Cancer Research
Event winner Jason Walton used his local knowledge to good effect. This was one of four cats he landed.
A representative from Cancer Research UK – Annie Mitchell- turned up for the cheque presentation of what had been raised. After counting all the cash we had on site and adding this to the monies we had raised from our just giving pages plus what all the participants had raised in sponsorship an amazing £4509.78 had been reached thus smashing our target of £3000. (The figure has not stopped there, it has now risen to just over £5100 after more sponsorship and donations have been received since the presentation). Another night went by with a few more fish being caught; we even had a small firework display to celebrate the success of the event which was won by Jason Walton who caught 4 Cats of 33.5, 28, 27, and 27. Richard Garner also caught 4 Cats of 36, 26, 19.5 and 18; Eric Cleary 2 Cats 27 and 27; Maurice Johnson 1 Cat 44.4; Kevin Neale 1 Cat 29.5; Sean Mills 1 Cat 29; Michael Pickard 1 cat 20 Overall the event has been a brilliant success, we smashed our target we set ourselves, cats were caught and everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I would like to take the opportunity for a few special thanks to go to the following. Grant and Nikki Albutt the owners of Shatterford who’s welcomed us with open arms; nothing was too much bother for them to make us feel at home. Thanks also to Davan the bailiff who worked tirelessly to ensure we were all settled in our swims, supplied us with baits and even ordered and collected the takeaways that were ordered on the Wednesday night. Michael Pickard who has supported and helped with this event from the humble beginnings to the end result; as well as taking charge of the bbq and managing to get all the food donated free. You did a magnificent job in cooking it all along with the help of Ian Whittaker. And to my lovely wife Judith and daughter Becky who stood by me right from the start, helped in any way they could and just for being there when things got a bit stressful, love you both guys. A special mention must go to Daryl Meade who alone raised £975 in sponsorship and won himself a pair of catfish rods, a sterling effort, well done. There are just so many people I need to thank for their help and generosity towards the event that it would take me a whole page just for that, but you know who you all are and my sincere thanks go out to you all, without you all the event just wouldn’t of happened and you should all be proud of yourselves at what we achieved, I certainly am. Catting for Cancer 2015 This year’s event will be held at Furnace Lakes. Tickets are already sold out but donations and sponsorship are still welcomed!