A 300lb nurse shark!
I've had a few 250lb catches in matches
Daiwa Tournaments
Daiwa TDX 3012
Daiwa Airity
The waggled for roach on rivers
Voorne Canal, Holland

Guru Match Academy 2018 - Partridge Lakes!



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Billy is an angler who has been about for a long time, and has experience in fishing all kinds of venues. Whether its scratching around for a few tiny fish in a team match, to catching big weights of carp on commercials, he’s done it all! Better still, his personal best fish is a 300lb nurse shark caught from the Florida Keys. Who better to tell his story than the man himself!

“Like most anglers, I can clearly remember winning my first ever match. It was on the River Nene at Irthlingborough when I was just 15 years old. I caught 12lb 14oz of roach on the waggler, which was one of my favourite methods. In fact, that’s the first method that I learned to fish properly, on the River Thames at Richmond. I used to go there at the crack of dawn in the summer, and fish until I ran out of bait or when it went dark!

“After fishing some local matches with clubs, I soon discovered the thriving match circuit north on my home on the Fens. After fishing open matches up there on the drains and rivers, I was noticed by the Essex team and was asked to join. At the time, Dennis Salmon was running the team and the squad was travelling all over the world fishing matches. Until Daiwa Dorking won the World Club Championship last summer, Essex was the only other English team to win it back in 1982 on the River Arno in Italy.

“Pete Clapperton was soon to take over the Essex squad, and made it a ‘super team’. He took-on some unbelievably good anglers including Bob Nudd, Kim Milson, Pete Vasey, Wayne Swinscoe, and Derek Young. All these anglers were mad keen on team fishing. That’s all we had to focus on then, and that’s where all the big prizes were.

“In the mid 1990s, fishing underwent an evolution and bigger events started to appear. We fished and won the Winter League Final on the River Trent in Nottingham, breaking the points record. I remember fishing a National on the Gloucester Canal too, when I saw one of the craziest things happen during practice. Kim Milson caught two barbel on the bomb and maggot fishing light for roach – nobody could believe it!

“Another match that I remember our Essex squad winning was the Super League Final in Ireland that was fished over three days. On each day, you had to fish with a different method – there was a pole, waggler and feeder match. Word on the bank was that Team Tubertini were unbeatable, but we managed to beat them!

“As bigger individual events appeared with more and more commercial fisheries coming on to the match fishing scene, team fishing took a back seat for a lot of the Essex squad. Unfortunately, after a steady decline, the Essex team collapsed. It was a sad time, but meant that I had to change what I did in my fishing. I started fishing bigger individual matches and found a love for the River Yare which had a good match circuit. I managed to win the King Of The Yare event two consecutive years running, and also won the River Yare Championship.

“The River Yare was a really interesting venue that taught me a lot about how conditions effected what you caught. A change in the tide or water levels could totally transform your swim. I always remember that if the tide was rising, and you fed too many particles, you’d get loads of small eels in your swim, which deterred the roach and bream. Instead, it was best to wait until the river started to drop and run-off to start putting in particles.

“Shortly after the fold of Essex County, I began to fish more and more commercials too, which was another big learning curve for me. I started fishing at Taylor’s Common Fishery a lot, and after months of going there I started to get some consistent results. I learned about carp fishing and the art of playing fish to land them quickly, gaining confident in using heavier tackle and learning new feeding tactics when fishing heavily stocked venues. After a while however, I did get bored of fishing just one venue, and realised this one weekend when I caught 250lb on two consecutive days at a weekend.

“I needed something different to get stuck into, and started fishing Monk Lakes in Kent. This was different again, and in the winter matches here had some great silverfish sport on offer. I now travel to various commercial fisheries in Essex and Kent. I really enjoyed fishing in Holland too, especially on the Spring festivals held on the Voorne Canal. I travel out there with my old friend Sam Wildsmith, and love catching the big bream in there. I’ve been lucky enough to win two of the festivals on there too!

“My proudest angling moment is probably watching my son, Will, fish for England in the Intermediate World Championship in 2004, which was in Croatia. I’ll never forget the team fishing days though – they were good times!

“If there was one thing I’d like to do, it would be fish for the Barnsley Blacks! Despite living miles away, I’ve always followed this fishing team and believe they have the very best anglers with an unbelievable mix of youth and experience. I love fishing myself, but also enjoy watching the few big team events that are on. I travel out to watch the World Championship to watch England perform; I love supporting the sport of fishing and watching good anglers.

“I got involved with Guru through Adam Rooney, who I’ve known since he was a schoolboy. I can remember having him sat behind me at Hayford Fishery when he used to work there – I was fishing the Super League Final there! It’s great to be part of a brand that makes high quality tackle throughout their range, putting time and effort into making the tackle right.”