Expelling a fit of pique from his system Lee Swords writes a broadside blog aimed fairly and squarely at the inconsistencies of the Drennan Cup Awards bemoaning his failure to gain the weekly gong for a tremendous Trent catch that simply defies belief and just had to be the deserving winner no matter what.
A one session catch that "pissed all over everything else reported that week..." it was simply astonishing, "including five double figure barbel to 13lb plus and two double figure bream as well as a host of chub to 6lb 9oz…"
I agree. There's three PB's there for me! One, two or three for very many anglers, in fact.
I'd have been livid myself — if I was a badge collector!
Swords blames his failure on a North/South divide. What he says is that the milk of endeavour that makes the big cheese of the Drennan Cup is split — the South being the creamy curds and the North the runny whey — with Drennan choosing one above the other astutely (it's the company who makes the cheese after all!) but unfairly. I thought that a good point.
So, interest pricked I looked into the truth of the matter...
It took one brief scan through at the Drennan Awards web page to scotch that theory to my own satisfaction. I don't honestly think it has a thing to do with it because I couldn't find the evidence for it, but do believe it has a lot to do with the fact that this cup is run by a commercial concern heavily interested and invested in just the one thing, and that is profit, of which the evidence was hard to escape from.
Almost every single winner used Drennan equipment in their catch and almost every entry laboured the fact they had.
So it seems that if an angler hasn't used Drennan gear to make his catch then it's simply not of interest to them and it won't be included in the running unless there's absolutely no second choice. But of course, lack of an alternative requires either zero competition that week or the winning catch to be a British record when the captor's prospects of winning a bloody cap and badge into the bargain are beside the point.
But almost without exception there's always going to be a worthy alternative, especially when caught on 'a Drennan Distance Specialist Tench & Bream 12ft 2lb rod and 12lb Syncro XT mono,' or 'a size 8 Super Specialist barbless hook.' Don't you think?
I use Drennan gear. Everyone does. It's an inescapable fact that you will because they make a lot of truly great stuff that finds its rightful place in our tackle bags against a lot of excellent competition trying just as hard to oust their gear from it. That's business, and it's good business for Drennan to run the awards so we buy from them instead. It is generous of them to mention other companies though — XT mono is by ESP...
Maybe Swords doesn't use their stuff, but he probably does. He is an outspoken character though, and that does no one any favours in the business of selling unless they're outspoken for the team but not an outsider with a free voice who might speak out of turn and against their interest. Swords might do that. In fact he already has. That tirade of his won't have gone unnoticed at Drennan and he'll no doubt be seen as a loose cannon forever more.
Good God we need loose cannons though, don't we?
Angling has become such an anodyne yes-man business with writers so desperate to please their sponsoring companies I can hardly read about their adventures between ever proliferating product placement paragraphs. Some features in our magazines are so laden down with company brand and product names they're half a sentence short of being full-blown advertorial content.
I doubt they pay the piper though...
If I ran a very successful magazine (the very idea!) I'd have companies buy-by-word every single mention of any and all brand names and products. I'd also have them pay all the trip expenses for creating the feature itself if ads must be liberally sprinkled throughout the copy.
Actually, no. I'm a hard-nosed businessman too in my dreams. I'd run placement-free features out the magazine's purse designed to sell the issue to a public wanting quality content, sell other companies spread space as advertorial for which they pay not only the magazine but all the expenses incurred in the creation of their content, pocket their cash for my services and have done with it.
Thin on content advertorial might be — but I bet it'd be a thick issue every month!
Lee, if you must have your Drennan Award then become a yes-man and earn it the only way. Stay as you are, though, and retain your independent voice, then I'll happily get behind you and support the cause of making the Drennan Awards fair and equitable to all regardless of location or company loyalty or replacing it altogether with an alternative not ruled by commercial expediency by going on strike and expelling every single item in my tackle bag made by Drennan.
Except for their exceptional 'Glow Tip Antennae' that is!
That has to stay.
But, I don't think a Drennan badge would sit well with you anyhow.
It wouldn't sit well with me either. It'd look ridiculous on my hat where the only badge sartorially correct is feather, fly or dangling spinner, so neither use nor ornament I'd patch the threadbare arse of my pants with it.
And that might make even Pete Drennan laugh, but not his advertising drones so concerned as they are with best possible positioning for product placement.