IMAGINE choosing the winning numbers in the lottery – only to decide against buying a ticket.

Three pairs of anglers know that exact feeling following the keep-or-ditch peg draw at last week’s £25,000 Rod Hutchinson World Carp Classic in Lac Amance, France.

On three occasions, peg number 11 was pulled out, only to be rejected – yet it turned out to be the most prolific location.

Even the eventual winners, Eastbourne-based Tony Kirrage and Mick Hinson (pictured below), were forced to fish there, having already rejected another peg. The irony was not lost on either of them.

Kirrage, 49, a former England international sea angler, who owns Tony’s Tackle in Eastbourne, said: “It was odd. Three people had already chucked it back, so we didn’t think we had a chance. Last year, pegs one to 20 didn’t catch many fish.

“We caught nine fish which must have been more than all those pegs last year put together. Initially we set our target at landing one fish to put ourselves in with a chance of winning the section – but they kept coming.

“However, Mick’s a very good angler and I always let him take the lead and the best spot. He fished to the right, and there was a weed bed some 120 yards away. He was spodding at long range and it worked.

“He caught eight of our nine fish – though my one was fifth largest overall. If we had put four rods in the water there it would have spooked the fish.”

He added: “We didn’t realise how big an event the World Carp Classic was until we fished it. When we went up to collect the cheque there was press everywhere.

“It was a brilliant event, thoroughly enjoyable and we’ll certainly be back to defend our title next year.”

Hinson, 42, from Heathfield in East Sussex, is a gardener by trade – and he bloomed in the environment, though he was very modest about the success.

“You have to take the luck when it comes,” he smiled.

“Nobody wanted peg 11 – we would have put it back if we’d had the chance. Yet as it turned out it was a good swim. Other swims had weed in front, but it was closer, more at 40/50 yards. Ours was about 120 yards out and that’s why we got the takes I think.

“Even if we’d caught nothing at all I’d still be back in 2005 because it was such an enjoyable event. The attitude of all the people and the atmosphere of the whole thing were just brilliant. It was really great to fish with Poles, Russians and Croats. It was a proper international event.”

Kirrage and Hinson’s reputation as match anglers continues to grow. In their last four matches they’ve emerged victorious twice and finished third on a further occasion.

But Hinson insists there’s no special secret.

“We’re a good partnership. I suppose you could say he’s the organiser and I do the fishing,” smiled Hinson.

“He calls me captain – and I’m also manager and sponsor,” laughed Kirrage.

Hinson added: “We used mainly hemp sweetcorn and pellet, with some popped-up maize and fusion bottom baits. There was also icing sugar and sea salt in the mix. That’s what the fish want for the forthcoming winter – well that’s what we reckon anyway…”

The pegging equivalent of pass the parcel – and a bag of 187.78lbs – ensured there were English winners for the second successive year, as Kirrage and Hinson made their way back to East Sussex £10,000 richer and armfuls of sponsored goodies including the limited edition Reuben Heaton ‘Golden Scales’.

But there was continental success in the ladies’ event where Czech Jitka Zednickova took the prize with a 22.23lbs fish.

And the prize for the biggest fish also went abroad – well almost. Welsh duo Brian Warwick and Michael Perry walked away with £1,000 after their 26.1lb effort came second to Kirrage and Hinson’s prize specimen, which counted only towards the overall prize.

A total of nine different countries provided prize winners, out of the 12 nations represented.

The 2004 Rod Hutchinson World Carp Classic was sold out months before the event – and left potential competitors and sponsors anticipating keenly the 2005 competition.

Event founder Ross Honey explained: “The competition was bigger and better than ever before. In fact we were oversubscribed by something in the region of 40 per cent – both in terms of people wishing to participate and by companies looking to take on a sponsorship.

“Our prize table was scheduled to be worth £25,000 but the generosity of this year’s sponsors ensured a value greater than that, which in turn meant more anglers went away with a prize.”

The success of the six-year-old event has led to officials at Lac Amance agreeing to give up one of their peak fishing times for the 2005 competition.

Honey explained: “Next year’s Rod Hutchinson World Carp Classic will take place at the beginning of September – a prime time for carp fishing. It is an indication of the high esteem in which the competition is held, that the hosts are prepared to forego one of their most profitable periods in order to welcome the competition again.

“And to show our commitment to both the competitors and officials at Lac Amance we will continue to increase our restocking programme of the lake in time for next year’s event.”




Winners: Mick Hinson & Tony Kirrage (England), 85.35kg .

Biggest fish: Brian Warwick & Michael Perry (Wales), 11.85kg.

Section winners

Section 1: 1, Julian Hall & Mark Paduch (Wales); 2, M Hornung & W Naugk (Germany); 3, Patrick Sleenhof & Ramon v.d Zeeuw (Netherlands).

Section 2: 1, Marcus Silcox & Martin Cronin (Wales); 2, Valeriy Ushachev & Viktor Kan (Russia); 3, R Muller & A Zaugg (Switzerland).

Section 3: 1, Rob Tough & Paul Rayment (England); 2, Leigh Gearing & Barry Mann (England); 3, Kunic Hrvoje & Dario Pavlovic (Croatia).

Section 4: 1, Antonin Zednicek & Jitka Zednickova (Czech Republic);

2, Ian Russell & Phil Da Silva (England); 3, Richard Taylor & Jon Curtis (England).

Section 5: 1, Chris Rose & Ian Dunmore (England); 2, WGB Stienezen & J Verjeijen (Netherlands); 3, Marek Posor & Miroslaw Hankus (Poland).

Section 6: 1, Robert Ceaus & S Hermann (Germany); 2, Jan Belha & Stefan Ladislav (Czech Republic); 3, Adam Privett & Jaco De Gier (England/Netherlands).

Section 7: 1, Andrzej Trenda & Andrzej Walczak (Poland); 2, Tim Denyer & Graham Slaughter (England); 3, Ben O’Connor & Barry O’Connor (England).

Section 8: 1, A Hogorvorst & H Poley (Netherlands); 2, R Klemmens & E Klammer (Germany); 3, Richard Spracklen & J Wenglorz (England).

Section 9: 1, M Dittgen & B Schurmann (Germany); 2, Jay Fisher & Michael Fisher (England); 3, H Buszell & Mr Bembom (Germany).

Section 10: 1, Lee Thorn & Terry Harbert (England); 2, Sam Anderson & Dave Setchfield (England); 3, M Toet & C Bont (Netherlands).


Winning team: Birch Syndicate Carp Team (Wales), 20.85kg.


Best lady angler: Jitka Zednickova (Czech Republic), 10.12kg.


Distance casting: Rob Tough (England)


Spod & marker: Rob Tough (England)


Boilie throwing: Robert Ceaus (Germany)