LEICESTER predator angler Carl Shingler has realised a 35-year ambition to be crowned British Pike Champion after winning the 2023 Final in a hard-fought contest on the Fenland drains.

It was just two bites and two fish which sealed the title for the 55-year-old in a match where over 20 fish were banked, including a trio of double-figure fish.

Heavy rainfall in the run up to the big match, and a cloudless, sunny sky on the day meant bites were at a premium for the 110 competitors who tackled Whittlesey AA’s chocolate coloured Glassmoor Bank and Twenty Foot Drains.

Carl’s two fish came at opposite ends of the match with his first – weighing 7lb 4oz – hitting the bank on Glassmoor just 10 minutes from the start. He had to wait for the second though, a similar sized fish being landed with an hour left to go.

The pair put him on a total of 14lb 6oz which was just enough to secure the £1,000 payday and the title he’s wanted to win for over three decades.

“I started fishing the Pike Championships when I was 19 and I’m 55 now and I’ve always wanted to win it,” said Carl. “To be fair, I thought the chance had passed me by, so I’m delighted to have finally won it.

“I caught very early on using a small floatfished roach and the second fell to a legered sardine cast to the far bank.”

The victory came with just a few ounces to spare as local lad Liam Wade – just four swims away from the winner – banked the largest fish of the day at 13lb 8oz to claim the runner-up spot and a £750 payout.

Third fell to Basingstoke’s Chris Charlton who led the anglers on the Twenty Foot drain with his 11lb 2oz pike, earning him £500, while John Joyce’s 10lb 3oz fish from Glassmoor sealed fourth and £250.

Fifteen-year-old Stanley Lees showed some of the country’s most experienced pikes how to do it after working his swim on the Twenty Foot yielded a pike of 3lb 1oz and secured the Witney, Oxon angler the Junior trophy.

Our two female competitors – local lasses Rita Clarke and Michelle Marshall – couldn’t be separated on the weigh sheets and so both went home with the shared prizes for the top lady angler.

The Angling Trust would like to extend our huge thanks to all the anglers who took part this year, final organiser Andy Jackson and his team of stewards for running the event and, of course, to Whittlesey AA for hosting the match on their waters once again.

Qualifiers for the 2024 final are already up and running, you can find your local event on the Angling Trust website.