THE WINNER of our super joining prize of two Baitrunner reels from Shimano, worth almost £ 320 was Lancashire’s Willie-John Russell.

On hearing about his win Willie-John said, “I still cannot believe it. I’ve been wandering round like a dog with two d…d…d…days off. I don’t know what I’d be like if I ever got a full six up on the Lottery.”

Willie-John and his Severn bream

Willie-John, 44, from Burscough, Lancs, works for a large commercial vehicle dealership as a motor vehicle technician and is married to Bea, “a wonderfully understanding lady who never stops me going fishing – no warrants, excuses or bribery required in this household to spend a day by the water.”

He started fishing when he was about eleven years old. “Like so many others, my first adventures where along the canal (the Leeds/Liverpool in my case) with an older cousin and what adventures they were. We never caught much, not by design anyway, but we had our share of jack pike and perch and, as you know, once you’ve encountered creatures from that ‘other world’ there’s no going back. These days I enjoy fishing for most species, whether on the waggler, stick or legering, be it on stillwaters or river. Favourite baits have to be hemp and caster, maggot, meat, worm and sweetcorn.

“Amongst my most memorable catches are my first ‘bin-lid’ bream, on my first cast, on my first visit to the River Severn at Atcham. My first Severn barbel (so what if it was only 4lb(ish), that fish fought like a politician on pentothal) and catching my first winter grayling from the River Ribble.

“One species I’ve never fished for is carp, big carp that is; that aspect of our sport just seems too expensive for me. Mind you, anything to do with barbel seems to be going the same way. But now I’ve won these reels I might just buy myself a ‘stalking’ rod and give it a shot. My first priority, however, is to catch my first River Ribble barbel, that’s my game plan for the coming river season.

“I’d just like to say too, without any bias whatsoever, that I think the FISHINGmagic site is THE best website on the www. Some of the articles and the craic on some of the forum threads has, at times, had me crying with laughter – Lord help the landlord of the pub where this lot meet for a pint!

Many thanks once again for the reels.

Sincerest regards.

Willie-John Russell.