And the winner is..............

Wow. Thanks so much to all of you who entered this competition to win that stunning Major Craft lure rod. Judging by the response I should try and do a few more of these competitions, but for now let me say that I have really enjoyed reading your entries and it's given me such a kick to see how you guys put into words your love for this thing we call lure fishing. I wonder how many of you were in the same boat as me only a few years ago when a spinning rod and a few spinners were a mere add-on to the "real" stuff ? Look at some of us now !!

There have been a few entries that I earmarked as being potential winners from the moment I read them, but for some reason there was one entry that just struck an extra chord with me - not because it was the most creatively written or perhaps the most evocative of those early mornings out on the shoreline, but simply because it got to me and managed to explain exactly why lure fishing so turns this particular angler on so much. Here's the winning entry :

"I've never caught a bass, I can't write about the thrill of hooking and landing one, so that can't be the reason I go day after day in an attempt to do just that! But then fishing wouldn't be called fishing if we caught every time would it? Is it the love of the outdoors? The smell of the sea air? The anticipation that with the next cast I could hook a monster? I work that lure with every ounce of my being and never the enthusiasm dwindles, but why is that? I don't know, I just know I love it."

My congratulations go to Clayton Andrews from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, and I hope this new rod helps you to land your first bass and also smash silly numbers of those massive wrasse they get over there. It was your line "I work that lure with every ounce of my being and never the enthusiasm dwindles" that got to me the most out of any entry I read. I don't know you, but from your entry I can almost picture you out on that stunning Channel Island trying your heart out, and I so hope you get a huge amount of pleasure from fishing with this awesome new Major Craft rod. Please keep us posted here as to how you get on with it. Well done to all of you who entered and my thanks again. Clayton, I will pass your details on to those good people at Nice Fish and you will get the rod in due course.

I am going through my usual wake up at silly o'clock time that seems to happen every time I am due to head over to Ireland. I'm 40 next year and I am a father of two with a mortgage, an estate car and an obsession with extreme metal that never lets up, yet the excitement at heading over there just seems to grow and grow. I know exactly how fortunate it is that my job at times can sometimes (and somehow) take me around the world and put me in front of some of the finest fishing anybody could ever hope to see, but still nothing else quite excites me as much as knowing I am about to head over to Ireland. Is that right ? I have personally "introduced" a fair number of anglers to Ireland over the years and it fascinates me how some have got it from the off, yet a few never really clicked. I suppose that at heart one either gets a kick from getting to fish foreign waters or one doesn't. It matters not a jot what does it for you in fishing, but as much as experiencing some of the really out there stuff can almost give me heart palpitations, I guess that my love for Ireland and its fishing stirs something within me that I am at a loss to explain. I wish all my Irish friends some awesome bass fishing as from tomorrow (16th June, first day after the close season). Have a good weekend everybody - may the weather finally start to actually behave a bit, and may the England rugby team find some creativity in the midfield and bash the South Africans on Saturday afternoon. I am a little worried that the score line last weekend flattered us somewhat in that at times it looked like boys playing men.........

To quote a line from the competition winner's entry : "But then fishing wouldn't be called fishing if we caught every time would it?" I went out for a couple of hours the other evening and we had not even a sniff of a bass in some pretty tidy conditions. Frustrating it might have been, but for about ten minutes or so the light went loopy for me and my camera gear and I came away with some photos that had me shaking with excitement. Sure, I would have loved to see a few fish, but weighed against that is the simple fact that fishing causes us to be out and about in places and at times that other people simply would not be there. Never for one second will that fact cease to make me feel good about being an angler.