The competition has really started to hot up in the last month, and it was a month that saw a top four truly establish themselves in the annual table and start to move away from the rest of the pack.
Leading that charge in July was monthly winner Gareth Griffiths, with his months results also being good enough to take him atop of the table at the end of July, holding off Simon Lancastle, Rob Johansen and Rob Stammas. This means three of the top 4 have now also claimed a monthly win, whilst Rob Johansen as the odd one out has been arguably the most consistent, he is just yet to top a month.
Whilst specimens still reigned supreme, the summer months didn’t disappoint for the species count either, which proved pivotal to Gareth, claiming 15 species in total, which was the difference maker as he drew level with Rob Johansen on the specimen points.
Meanwhile, Richard Widdowson managed a massively impressive 19 species, just no specimens. It does represent the highest number of species in one month by any competitor so far though, which may be worth some bragging points even if there is no prize for this!
Gareth got himself off to a flyer at the start of the month with a trip to Scotland, where along with a decent species count, he managed the competitions first specimen Common Skate and one of only a few specimen Pollack registered to date.
At the other end of the kingdom, Rob Johansen was landing specimens of his own, pouting to start with, in order to ensure we were in for the most tightly contested month we’d had to date.
Gareth will have been disappointed on this occasion not to double up on either the Pollack or Skate which may have put him into an early unassailable lead.
The fine lines in this competition are starting to become apparent, and doubling up on any specimens present is starting to be the key to monthly wins. Each monthly winner so far has taken full points for two specimens in at least one species.
Rob Johansen had come close to doing this twice in early July, ticking off two pouting before soon adding a specimen conger only to lose a second at the net! Something which proved to be a costly 50 points lost.
Midway through the month Rob had edged in to the lead and Gareth was going to need something special to pull it back.
Special was what was needed and special is exactly what Gareth intended to deliver. Scheduling a solid 48 hours fishing on the tope in West Wales, where he’d have a great shout at a few other species on the lighter gear too.
What transpired was quite possibly the greatest shore fishing haul of tope ever seen in British waters. Gareth stopped measuring after 7 specimens, showing why we limited it to 2 a month, else he may well have won the annual league on tope alone in that session.
Switching his attention to species and turning out 5 more species for . further 50 points would prove absolutely crucial just a few days later.
Having seen his lead wiped out and now a daunting total to pursue, Rob Johansen made his plans and realised a second specimen conger may be the easiest decent points to get on the board.
Like lightning striking twice, Rob lost a specimen at the net again! Two opportunities that would have secured the monthly league lost! He did, however, get a specimen spotted ray to tie with Gareth on 4 specimens a piece for the month, also adding a few other species. In the end, he fell just 3 species short of a final dramatic overhaul, leaving Gareth topping both tables. Just reward for his sensational 48 hours on the tope. Truly stuff of angling dreams.
Well done on the win GG.