Angling Trust Policy Chief Martin Salter visited Thames Water’s first Predator Competition at Farmoor Reservoir on Sunday (Oct 21) to see for himself how the popular and long established trout fishery is now encouraging predator angling.

The sell out event, decided on the length of the best three fish landed rather than weight, was a great success with good numbers of 40cm-plus perch caught. The largest was a 47cm specimen by Dave Greenland of Predator Tackle – a fish that would weigh close to 4.5lbs.

34 anglers in 17 boats took to the water on Farmoor 2 for the Perch Only Competition. No fish were retained or weighed but just measured and the photos texted in to the ranger’s lodge. Predator Tackle supplied each competitor with measuring mats to ensure complete fairness.

The winner was Wayne Fletcher with his best three fish totalling an impressive 137cm. Second and third places in the closely fought match went to Mike Haywood and Dave Greenland (Predator Tackle) who both recorded 134cms. In the event of two lengths the same the winner was the first to phone in. Although none of the really big Farmoor perch showed up the rangers were pleased to see several at 4lb and a lot of smaller fish.

Wayne picked up £350 in winnings plus a Farmoor Predator Season ticket worth £200.

Match Organiser and Farmoor Ranger Ben Farley said: “We have some huge perch in both our reservoirs which make popular targets for winter predator anglers. We are really pleased that the competition proved so popular and we will certainly be doing it again, especially if we can attract some more sponsorship.”

Martin Salter was particularly impressed with the fish friendly way the match was organised. He said: “It’s all too easy for fish to be damaged when boat fishing and to my mind the use of measuring mats is the way forward for competitions like this. It cuts down fish handling and allows for almost instant catch and release. It was a pleasure to see our water supply reservoirs being used for the widest possible forms of angling. The Angling Trust is keen to work with companies like Thames Water and others to open yet more angling access including kayak fishing.”

Rosemary Waugh, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Thames Water added: “For over 40 years our reservoir at Farmoor has been a valuable and popular accessible waterbody for all types of anglers of all abilities. We continually look for new activities to broaden our appeal and therefore I am delighted that the first predator match was such a great success.”

The Predator season at Farmoor starts on 1st November or a week earlier for season ticket holders. Phone 07747 640707 for details.