Kevin Ashurst honed his angling skills travelling with his father Benny around the flashes and canals of Lancashire. On the Trent, in the 1960s and 1970s, he was almost invincible.
"It was nowt but a little sweep." Kevin Ashurst
Kevin never kept a record of his match wins or top placings. Let’s just scratch the surface and mention a few of his great successes.
In 1965, he set the Trent six hour match record with 41-11-0 in the Nottingham AA annual open at Shelford. Not a big weight by today’s commercial standards, but a phenomenal weight at that time. Just for the record, Leicester’s Ivan marks filled second spot with 39-14-8. Kevin also held the four hour Trent match record with 28 lbs.
In the 1968, NFA Knockout Competition Final at Coombe Abbey, Kevin thrashed the opposition and netted £2,000 in prize money to boot. He won the Gladding Masters on the Warwickshire Avon against the top anglers in the country, and was quoted as saying ‘It was nowt but a little sweep’.
How about the Benson and Hedges Classic in Ireland, where he now lives for six months of the year, with a stunning 331lbs of roach taken over three days. Kevin fished for Leicester AS in the Angling Times Winter Leagues, winning the 1964 Final on the River Suck with 56lbs. In the National Championships he has fished for Warrington, Stoke City, the mighty Birmingham AA - where he accumulated a vast array of team and individual medals - and finally Stockport.
Like his father, Kevin dearly wanted to win the National Championship. He had two section wins with an individual fourth place on the Trent in 1969 where he was also a member of the winning Stoke team. In the same match his father Benny was eighth. Kevin went on to secure a further individual fourth and a ninth place in the National Championships.
Nominated by Stoke, ‘Big Kev’ fished for England in the 1970 Holland World Championships under the guidance of Bernard Donovan. It’s no wonder that from 1972, when Stan Smith handpicked his team to compete in the World Championships, Kevin became an automatic choice. He made 23 appearances for England and can be credited with bringing ‘world match tactics’ back to the UK, educating the English anglers to abandon their rods and reels in favour of the pole. He showed the way by winning the four hundred pegger Liverpool Echo competition, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal - thought to be the first match on that canal to be won with the pole.
The highlight for Kevin was his 1982 World Angling Championship triumph on the Newry Canal, becoming the first British angler to win the World Title on the pole. He went on to win individual silver medals in 1987, 1990 and 1991 plus numerous gold and silver team medals including England’s first ever 1985 team gold in Florence.
Kevin wrote ‘World Class match fishing’ and the ‘The Encyclopaedia of Pole Fishing’ in conjunction with the Angling News Services duo of Colin Dyson and Colin Graham.
Last date edited: 29 March 2018