Back in July 2010 a new carp fishing event rose from nowhere to pin itself firmly and squarely on the UK angling map – The Big Fish.
‘The Big Fish charity celebrity carp tournament and show’ burst onto the scene without prior warning, and before we knew it Suffolk water park, Ipswich was descended upon by some of the biggest names and brands in the industry for one of, if not the most, interesting events in the 2010 carping calendar.
Some 1500 people flocked down to Suffolk for a unique twist on the sometimes tired event format.
A big fish, winner-takes-all, 48-hour carp tournament was held on the SWP ‘Big Fish’ lake.
A 40 peg match was hosted on Match lakes 1 and 2…
A huge angling exhibition was spread around the stunning venue, attended by some of the biggest names in the industry: Nash, Korda, Bait-tech, Viper, TFG, Rigmarole and many more.
Punters were happy to get up close and personal with industry giants like John Wilson, Bob Nudd, Dave Lane & Paul Forward, Korda’s Adam Penning and Damian Clarke and several others.
With laser clay shooting courtesy of the ‘For Life Experience’ team, aerial falconry displays, live music, martial arts displays, rollercoaster simulators and a dedicated family area with a free crèche of all things, event organiser Dom Morgan certainly hit the ground running.
Dom said: “I think by now many people are aware that this whole event was born from the tragic death of my twelve-year-old daughter Jodi earlier in the year and everything’s sort of crept up me really.
“I knew I wanted to set up a little fundraiser for ‘The SCT’, an amazing charity that helped out my family following Jodi’s death.
“I’m a pretty ‘go do it’ guy so I figured that the best way to put on an event was to ask questions prior to picking up the phone or dropping the first email.
“What makes a good show? What do we, the everyman (or lady) want to achieve from attending an angling event? What’s interesting, what’s not? I asked first myself, then my angling friends and then the wider community via Facebook etc.. and the event was shaped in accordance to the answers I received really.
“By now I had a list of celebrities I’d like to get involved so aimed for the top and started there. John (Wilson) was a hard man to track down but I finally got hold of him (that’s my secret) and then everyone else fell into place.
“Wendy (Lythgoe-Clarke) at Bait-Tech was a great help and worked on getting Damo and Adam involved and before I’d really broken sweat I had my line-up – minus a couple of names who’s prior commitments kept them away for year one; but they assure me of their participation for next year… which is great.
“So by July 31st and the gates opening it was all in place and by all accounts, minus a few teething problems, it was a great success,” he continued.
“We will have hopefully hit our £3000 fundraising target for TSCT and next year’s event planning is well under way. It was a overwhelming experience and to be utterly honest (as I’ve found recently that there’s nothing more liberating than opening your heart) I spent a good hour sitting on the carp park attendant’s bench guiding traffic with my head in my hands through sheer mental exhaustion and completely overwhelmed by the day.
“So if you saw some fat bald bloke wearing a high-vis jacket slumped on a chair with a tear stained face, yes… that was me. It all got too much and I needed some time out on the naughty step).
“I did, however, summon up the courage to return to my event and make the presentations on stage. I’d love to say I pulled it together for the finale but, alas, that would be a lie. I blubbered like a baby throughout the whole prize ceremony and I hope everyone forgave me for it and realises how much of a personal thing this pilot event was to me in regards to fundraising in my daughter’s name.”
So now onto ‘The Big Fish 2011’. The format will be the same – a 48-hour big fish tournament, with a large exhibition running alongside the event.
We can expect a plethora of celebrity anglers throughout the show, happy to impart their angling experience to those who want to listen, and as with this year’s event there will be many independent angling companies offering fantastic discounts on their latest gear, as well as offering punters the opportunity to road test their must have kit prior to purchase.
A prime example of this is ‘Spomb’, who will be offering loading and casting demonstrations, together with a nifty challenge or two.
Expect the bivvy parade, where you can climb in and suss them out! The amazing CJ’s falconry display will be back by popular demand with their awe-inspiring aerial falconry display too.
We’ve been informed that Nash will be laying on their casting challenges once again, and this year Dom has proudly announced that British Youth Carp Angling Champion Jake Taylor will be on hand to get the kids involved in the free youth carp tuition camp.
Add in the obligatory hog roast, bouncy castles for the kids, the mammoth prize raffle and the chance to meet a hoard of angling legends, ‘The big fish 2011’ is shaping up to be even more of a “don’t-dare-miss” event than this year’s show.
But most importantly don’t forget that this annual event is to raise funds for the amazing children’s charity ‘The Sick Children’s Trust’.
Further information will be coming over the next few months, where we will confirm the venue and August dates.
In the meantime check out www.thebigfish.tv for regular event updates or follow the event on Facebook group ‘the big fish 2011’.