Sometimes a really top class angler doesn’t make the England world championships team. For match winning consistency over 40 years, Long Eaton’s Alan Wright makes our top ten greatest anglers.
When I drew the peg, I thought it was Christmas and my birthday all in one.Alan Wright
Alan is one of a select trio who have twice won an individual divisional National championship. Besides Alan, there is Leigh’s Charlie Hibbs (1974 and 1984) and Cambridge’s Eddie Townsin (1976 and 1984). The only angler to win the single weight National twice was Leeds’ Jim Bazley in 1909 and 1927.
A canal man through and through
Originating from the home of canal fishing in the north west, Sandbach, Alan won the 1973 Division 1 National on the Witham in superb style with 41lbs 10 ½ ounces of Witham bream taken on double gozzer fished on a stick float just two rods out. A canal man through and through, Alan, fishing for Derby Railway Institute, shocked the 960-strong field putting the Witham ‘swing tippers’ firmly in their place. He won £1,300, which at the time was more than enough to buy a new car.
At the start of that successful 1973 season Alan won four matches in nine days, three of them on the Shropshire Union Canal, which included the giant Middlewich Open. Shortly after his National win, Alan moved to Long Eaton, but he loved fishing the northern canals and often travelled back to home territory.
Alan won the 1,200-peg Crewe and Nantwich Roundtable Charity Open in October 1975, once again on the Shropshire Union Canal at Nantwich, to gain a high place in the Angling Times top money winners leaderboard. He finished up with a sponsorship deal from the Damart Clothing Company.
Alan won scores of matches in the intervening years before completing his magnificent double. He won the individual title in the Embassy Division 2 National angling championship on the River Soar and Loughborough Canal on Saturday 19 July 2003, almost thirty years after his first win. Alan had fished 22 consecutive Nationals before taking a long-ish break, making his return after being asked by Long Eaton Victoria to fish for their team.
It was a fantastic performance from the 60-year-old retired railway engineer. Alan drew the pylons peg (M44) on the River Soar at Ratcliffe Deeps knowing he had a great chance. He fished brilliantly to take an 11 bream and two perch catch of 18.260 kg.
"When I drew the peg, I thought it was Christmas and my birthday all in one," said a delighted Alan who knows every peg on the venue. "I had won a match with roach from the same peg last year and, obviously, I knew it was a cracking draw."
Fishing chopped worm and casters and a ground bait feeder, Alan continually switched his baits, using double red maggot, a single red maggot and worm, and double caster to take his fish.
Alan didn't fancy a bet with the bookmaker so went home with around £1,250 from the NFA match pools. That was Alan’s only appearance in the National for Long Eaton Victoria.
Giving something back
Even in 2014, as match secretary of Long Eaton Federation, Alan was winning matches in the Long Eaton area on the River Trent, River Soar, and the Loughborough and Erewash canals.
Alan has also put something back into fishing by working closely with the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency to assess and restore angling on sections of the Erewash Canal.
Last date edited: 12 January 2021