A Whitby angler was agonisingly beaten to the £1,000 jackpot on the final day of the spring angling festival – by a rookie.
Mick Littlewood took over as leader last Friday with a 13lb 10oz cod caught from Sea Otter II to take pole position with only two days remaining.
But just when he thought the top prize was his, Marek Pracowity bettered his catch yesterday (Sunday) – the last day of the three-week event which is run by Whitby Charter Skippers’ Association.
Pracowity, of Leicester – who was fishing with a party of Poles – later told organisers it was the first time he had ever tried any form of fishing.
Littlewood – who won £50 for the heaviest catch of the day – was standing nearby at the weigh-in watching the drama unfold.
Despite the disappointment of not winning the £1,000, he said he thought there was a chance his catch was going to be beaten.
“I was not that confident as the fish had not been as big for the time of year and there are normally quite a few bigger ones,” he told the Whitby Gazette.
“When it came up I thought ‘it’s a good fish’ but there were two days left to go.”
Littlewood may not have competed at all as he thought the festival had ended until discovering it had been extended to an extra week, for the first time.
He was quick to give credit to the skippers who take the parties of anglers out to sea, acknowleding the part they play in helping to find the right fish.
“A lot of it is down to the skippers as well,” he said.
“Paul from Sea Otter II is one of the best skippers we have ever been with and has won loads of prizes.”
Rich Ward, skipper of the winning boat, Shy Torque III, said: “Marek was on his maiden angling trip with his mates and dropped lucky on the fish on a wreck some 20 miles off shore.
“The fish took a baited lure which we supplied for him on the day.”
The team is booked with Rich again in the town’s summer angling competition, which runs from June 20 to July 12, where the anglers will be making a bid to win the biggest first prize of £5.000.
Marek’s efforts in the spring competition guaranteed him a “very nice” £1,000 jackpot plus £50 daily prize.
Thursday April 23
1 Chris Kirkbride, Bishop Auckland, 9lb 13oz, cod, Sea Otter 2
2 Paul Bettridge, Ripon, 7lb 10 oz cod, Sea Otter 2
3 Paul Barrett, Ripon, 6lb 7oz ling, Sea Otter 2
Friday April 24
1 Mick Littlewood, Whitby, 13lb 10oz cod, Sea Otter 2 (goes 1st overall in the festival)
2 Nigel Hall, East Cowton, 8lb 8 1/2oz cod, Shy Torque III
3 Robert Alderson, Blackburn, 8lb 6 1/2oz cod, Sea Otter 2
Saturday April 25
1 David Balmer, Wakefield, 5lb 9 1/2oz, cod, Trot On
2 Carl Farrar, Wakefield, 5lb 9oz cod, Trot On
3 Artur Kardarz, Barnoldswick near Skipton, 5lb 8oz cod, Shy Torque III
Sunday April 26
1 Marek Pracowity, Leicester, 14lb 12 1/2oz cod, Shy Torque III (festival winner)
2 Peter Niewiadcmski, Leicester, 10lb 21/2oz cod, Shy Torque III
3 Krzysztof Zajdzinski, New Houghton, 8lb 7oz ling, Sea Urchin II.