The inaugural Olde Bait Challenge took place on 17 June at Wessex Water’s Durleigh Reservoir, Somerset, raising a fabulous £1,971 for Fishing for Schools. Very many thanks to organiser and Fishing for Schools instructor Ray Jones!

F4S instructor Charlie Halliday gave us this report from the day:

“Ye Olde Bait Challenge attracted some big names in the competition angling scene, including England Carp fishing team captain Mark Bartlett and our own former Fish O Mania winner Steve Jackson, amongst others.

“The rules were Americana style, so they fished in pairs from the same drawn peg and entered a combined total weight. Silvers only, so no pellet and no boilies allowed – just traditional ground bait and hook baits. Old school! The main target species being the huge shoals of bream that Durleigh Reservoir has become so famous for.

“Huge congratulations to Chris Ware and Kev Crouch for gaining first place with 67lb of fish, but also to everyone who took part and managed to raise this vitally important funding for Fishing for Schools. Without these fund-raising events taking place, we really wouldn’t be able to be involved with so many schools in this region, so thank you!

“The event was a resounding success as the competitors requested a repeat event for 2019 and Ray is already looking at making it bigger and better next time. The pairing of anglers made it a great social event and an opportunity for old friends to catch up while raising money for a good cause.”

Special thanks also goes out to Steve Kedge of Somerset Angling and Ian Parsons of M5 Angling for sponsoring the event, and the fisheries ranger Paul Martin of the Wessex Water fisheries team for allowing the match to take place.

Fishing for Schools coaching staff Lee Hooper and Steve Jackson also deserve thanks for helping with the event organisation.


  1. Chris Ware and Kev Crouch 67lb
  2. Chris Parr and Gary Cross 57lbs
  3. Simon Pointer and James Cooper 44lb

Section winners:

Gary Ireland & Dave Brown 27lbs

Steve Jackson and Aide Bishop 27lbs