Northampton’s Tony Gibson is £2000 better off after winning the biggest prize in specialist angling – the Drennan Cup.

But it’s not the money he’s celebrating. Rather it’s the prestige of winning a trophy regarded as the Holy Grail among big fish anglers.

“The competition has such heritage and history,” said the 37-year-old in Angling Times this week. “You only have to look at the previous winners to see the calibre of angler involved.

“Knowing that it’s my fellow anglers who have voted me as the best specialist of the 2002/2002 season makes me feel very proud indeed.”

The Northamptonshire Specimen Group angler’s amazing season kicked off with a magnificent 18lb 7oz bream last year, the biggest of the species ever taken by design.

Knowing you have to show your all round abilities to win the admiration of your peers, Tony switched to roach fishing and landed a string of big fish from Oxford’s Linch Hill complex, topped by a 3lb 1oz beauty.

But it was the moment that he landed a magnificent 5lb 1oz perch from the Great Ouse that Tony knew he could be in the running to win the cup.

“I set my own targets rather than fish for prizes, but when those targets become reality and things start to come together, then you start to think of the possiblities. It was that perch which allowed me to believe it was going to happen,” added Tony, who had landed a then British record barbel from the Ouse the previous season.

“I think every angler to some extent fishes for ‘known’ fish. Match anglers don’t book a venue that hasnt got anything in it after all.”

Tony beat 2000/2001 winner Terry Lampard (£1000) into second spot, with Paul Garner (£500) third and Martin Bowler (£250) fourth.