BRITAIN’S biggest and best celebrity fishing event is hoping to raise £1m for good causes. And YOU can be there to watch it live - or catch up later on ITV.
This year its official name is the Target Sports Stars Fishing Championship.
It was formerly the PDC Fishing Championships, due to its close association with the Professional Darts Corporation.
The event returns to Hampshire’s Gold Valley for the second year running, on Tuesday, August 6.
The location’s address, if you’re driving is: Gold Valley Lakes, Aldershot, GU11 2PT.
The day (including a break for lunch) runs from 11 am to 7pm. Everyone is welcome to go along and watch the action unfold.
General tickets to watch are free. To apply simply email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note that there is a car parking charge of £10 per car with proceeds going to charity.
The turnout of top names gets stronger and stronger each year, and more varied to cover even more sports.
All competitors are keen to show off their skills – or simply eager to get to grips with fishing.
Expert anglers, including many big names, are also on hand to help novices, making it a friendly day… for a great cause.
Aiming for a million for charity
Organiser Jess Harding has set himself a huge £1 million ‘lifetime’ charity target.
The former heavyweight boxer said: “Without doubt, this is the most enjoyable event we stage throughout the year.
“To see sportsmen and women compete in a competition that they are not associated with is fantastic.
“The fact that we will be raising considerable funds for charity makes the day even more special.
“So far, we have raised £21,000, and we are guaranteeing at least £15,000 for our charities.
“I have a long-term target of growing the event and raising £1 million in my lifetime, even if I have to live until 90 to do so, as I want to achieve something really worthwhile.
“Virtually all the money comes from our sponsors.
“General admission is free, apart from a £10 car park charge that goes to the charities, but there are also hospitality tickets on sale.”
Jess added: “It is well worth coming to watch the event, though it will also be broadcast on ITV4 over two evenings, on August 29 and 30, as well as being broadcast in 32 other countries.
“There will also be live coverage across all Target Sports social media platforms, including exclusive interviews with the competitors, special challenges and behind-the-scenes access.
“I would like to thank Target and all our associate sponsors for their help. Without them, the Championship would not be possible,” added Jess, the director of JBD Events.
The match brings together top stars from the world of sport to raise funds for charities, the main beneficiary being Parkinsons UK, although a donation is also being made to the Macmillan trust.
Other sports stars competing in the 2019 event include darts legends Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis, former footballer Jimmy Bullard, former World snooker champion Steve Davis OBE, former boxer George Groves and former England rugby union star Micky Skinner.
Video highlights of last year’s star-studded match at Gold Valley Lakes can be seen above.
The 2018 team event was won by Barry Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Sport, his son, boxing promoter and Matchroom Sport director, Eddie Hearn, plus darts star Darren Webster and Mail columnist Steve Collett (aided by photographer Ian Chapman).
Collett can’t win Sports Stars Fishing title this time
Steve Collett was also last year’s individual winner, with 28 kg.
He was aided by photographer Ian Chapman, as he had to leave early, for medical reasons.
Steve is delighted to be at the match again, although he won’t be able to defend his title.
A rule change for the Sports Stars Fishing Championship states that no ‘professional’ angler can win the title, but their catch will count in the team contest.
Be sure to read his unique column on the 2019 event, which will appear inside Angler’s Mail magazine.
The Team England lure fishing boss commented: “I’ve been going to the competition since it started, and I’ve won it several times, so they’ve gone and changed the rules, which means I won’t be able to make it a hat-trick of wins.
“Mind you, I wouldn’t argue with anyone there, because they usually have a few tasty boxers taking part!
“It is all great fun for a very worthy cause, and it’s wonderful to be around guys who are all great competitors,” smiled Steve.
David Seaman signs up to compete
Former Arsenal and England goalkeeper David Seaman will be fishing the event for the first time this year.
The life-long angler told us: “I don’t usually match fish, but I’m really looking forward to this event, as it should be great fun.
“Last time I fished Gold Valley was well over 20 years ago, with Andy Little, when it was still a syndicate water, holding carp to over 30 lb and some huge eels.
“I might just try something different and winkle a few of the carp out on floating crust,” David added.
Further info on the event can be found at the official website.