AN ANNUAL angling challenge has raised nearly £5,000 for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, bringing the grand total over four years to nearly £15,000.

The gruelling angling event involved organiser Jerry Gleeson fishing 17 rivers in the UK and Europe, in 14 days, travelling this country by public transport. He got help along the way from pals.

The barbel ace, who works as a head chef, told Angler’s Mail: “The whole thing is exhausting and I’ve come back aching in parts I never even knew I had.

“I travel as light as possible with no bedchair or bite alarms, just an ordinary light-weight seat and rod rests.

“I started on my local River Goyt then worked my way down south, joined by a mate on the River Lea in Hertfordshire, then a few other friends for the European leg.

“We fished the Meuse and Semois in France courtesy of an excellent tackle shop called Ardennes Peche, then went on into Belgium, Germany and finished in Holland.

“The best barbel I had came out from the middle River Trent at 14 lb 2 oz, but I also had a very good specimen of 12 lb 2 oz from the Dove which was even more pleasing as there are few big ‘uns’ left in there.”

Other species, including chub like this held by Jerry Gleeson, also figured.

Jerry told Angler’s Mail: “I managed to tempt 15 different species, most of them very small, but had a 7 lb bream on the Trent and a 4 lb 8 oz chub in France.

“The only river I blanked on was the Colne where I had been joined by a friend and decided not to fish because I was so tired.

“The charity is very dear to my heart as I had two brothers and several close friends in the army, and is run totally by volunteers so there are limited costs and more goes to help the veterans and their families.

“I won’t be doing the same thing again as its just too exhausting and need to do something different.

“Next year the plan is to focus on barbel fishing on a number of French rivers,” added the 43-year-old from Stockport, Lancashire.

Anyone wishing to donate can visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jerry-gleeson4

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