Tom Scholey Profile
Name: Tom Scholey
Occupation: Angling Journalist
Qualifications: BA English Studies With Professional Writing (Hons), Sheffield Hallam University
How did you start fishing?
I actually tried sea fishing before coarse fishing, when my Grandad took me out in a boat at the age of seven while on a family holiday in Whitby. I caught a cod, and fell in love with it, and so started pestering my mum and dad to take me when we got back home to Sheffield. Neither of them fished themselves, so it was a shared learning experience, but with a little help from some other anglers I eventually caught my first freshwater fish – a perch - from Barlow Fishery near Chesterfield.
After that, I would regularly pester my parents to take me pleasure fishing, and my dad even found a short lived love for the sport joining our local Cherry Tree Pub club. I used to love accompanying them on their coach trips to the Trent, and I would pleasure fish nearby!
My parents also had a holiday home near Torksey in Lincolnshire, and I used to love cycling and fishing the local River Till, Foss Dyke Canal, and Hutchinson’s Pond whenever I got the chance.
What is your biggest fish?
A carp nudging 20lb which I caught from the lovely Lake John Fishery near Waltham Abbey in Essex.
How did you get in to match fishing?
It wasn’t until I was 16 that the bug of match fishing really caught me, when I happened to meet a load of youngsters fishing a match while walking around my local Wiremill Dam. They turned out to be Mercury Match Group, run by a lovely chap called Roy Davies. I signed up there and then, and remember thinking that I would walk the match at Wiremill the following week, as it was my local venue. I think I came last!
Roy helped me a lot in those early years, and I made some great friends of my own age too that I still fish with today, including top Sheffield rod, Chris Greensides.
The next step for me was fishing against ‘the men’ and the next year, I joined my local Norton AC, run by a good friend of mine Mark Holmes. There were some great anglers in this club, and the Woodseats AC and Golden Lion AC which I subsequently joined. I had a great few years fishing with, and learning from them. Anglers like Dave Tomkinson, Mark Holmes, Paul Wilkinson, Terry Oldfield, John Chisholm, Steve Gasston, Paul Donnelly and Graham Wilkinson were so generous with information, and also lifts – they took me everywhere as I didn’t have a car until I finished university!
Perhaps the most valuable piece of advice that several of these more experienced anglers gave me was to push myself, and this is something I believe very strongly in to this day. When I was 21, I was lucky enough to win one of the club leagues outright, and if I remember rightly finished second in the other two – in one of them I framed in every match, but was still pipped for the overall by Steve Holberry!
I felt it was time to move on and try my hand on the open match circuit, which coincided with finishing university and finally getting a job and a car of my own. I was working for a paper called Northern Angling Today at the time, and was tasked with shooting a feature with a young ginger kid, who had just won his second junior world championship. We got on really well, and a couple of months later he mentioned that he was struggling to get lifts to matches. Having just invested in my first car, and wanting someone to travel with it made sense to take him with me.
And we have travelled all over, and fished pretty much everything that we can fish ever since!
What is your biggest weight of fish?
A 259lb net of carp from the Glebe Fishery in Leicestershire in the DHP Cup back in 2012. It was enough to win the match just pipping my colleague, Joe Carass. I did feel slightly sorry for him though, as he had over 40 carp and I had 23 – but they were large!
What is your favourite venue, and why?
The Stainforth & Keadby Canal at Thorne. It used to be my least favourite though! In my opinion, it is one of very few UK match venues where most of the time through the winter, you can be almost unfailingly consistent if you are good enough, as it is extremely fair. The standard of angler that fish the bigger open matches on there is awesome too. For me, I have found my progression there extremely satisfying. For the first couple of years, I couldn’t win a bean, then gradually I got better as I got to grips more and more with the fishing on offer, and this year I have best year to date, finishing in the top four in three of the six matches and winning my section in a further two. I still have some way to go to be as consistent as anglers like Matt though – his worsed result out of the eight matches he has fished is fourth, and he has been in the top two in seven of them!
What team do you fish for?
Sensas Starlets. A great team of anglers and a cracking bunch of lads too. Love being on the bank with them!
Can you name the best fishing trip you have ever been on?
For shear wonder and awe it was probably a childhood holiday to Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Broads. We had a chalet with a garden that backed on to the river, and I loved the fact that I could get up early and go fishing. The trip actually coincided with my tenth birthday, and my mum bought me a red Shakespeare Firebird rod and reel with a screw in quiver tip attachment. I foolishly left my feeder out while I went into eat my sandwiches though, and a boat dragged it into the river!
I wasn’t very happy and I can still remember my mum lowering herself into the river to try and find it for me. About five minutes later, there was a knock on the door though, and a chap fishing a few bungalows down had caught it! Talk about lucky!
In terms of match fishing, probably when Matt and I went to Maver Larford for a few days leading up to the 2009 Maver Pairs Final. We ate well, drank plenty, and come the day of the race I drew where I had practiced and won the 100 peg match with 212lb! Matt was third in his section, which left us second overall as a pair, and with a cheque for £3,000! More than either of us had ever seen before, let alone won!
Who are your angling hero’s?
Angling is full of lovely people, but there are probably three people who stand out in hero status for me. The first is Bob Nudd. The ultimate angling gentleman, a brilliant angler and an inspiration. The man just loves fishing and being on the bank. A true ambassador for the sport, and someone who has made a great living from it too.
Second up, Rob Perkins. Rob is a phenomenal angler, and really took me under his wing as an up and coming matchman. He has taught me the importance of thinking and fishing in my own way, and never following the crowd, and is also 100% genuine and open.
Finally Des Shipp. Des must easily be the best UK angler of the last fifteen years. Again, a very open, honest friendly man, who has always been too happy to help me, or anyone for that matter, when asked.
Do you have any other sports or hobbies outside angling?
I love cooking! Italian and Indian food is my speciality. Drinking good real ale is another firm favourite. I have a special thing for northern blondes in glasses! I can’t enough of them! I like to keep fit (ish) too by strolling to the pub every now and then.
What is your biggest angling achievement?
Winning the 2015 Drennan Knockout Cup. Since Dave Harrell came up with the concept a decade ago, I have regarded this as being among the most prestigious trophies on the calendar - as it is a true test of allround ability. I was over the moon just to make it to the final, and to win it was an awesome feeling.
Other angling achievements:
- Sensas Challenge, team third with Sensas Starlets, 2018.
- Angling Trust Winter League Final, team third with Sensas Starlets 2018, individual section winner.
- Parkdean Masters Finalist, 2017
- Pole Fishing Pairs Final Runner Up with Matt Godfrey, 2017
- Heronbrook Easter Festival Winner, 2017
- Don Slaymaker Memorial Anglo Dutch Classic Festival 2016, Fifth Overall.
- Preston Innovations Pole Fishing Pairs Round winners, Lindholme Lakes, 2016
- Drennan Knockout Cup Semi Final Individual Winner 2015
- Rive Drennan Cup seventh overall 2014
- Bait-Tech Canal Championship Team Winners 2014
- Commercial National Runners Up 2014
- Preston Innovations World Club Classic 2014 team bronze, individual fifth place.
- White Acres Garbolino Silverfish Festival 2014 10th overall
- Maver Match This Finalist 2013
- Preston Innovations Parkdean Pairs Champions 2013
- Little John Lakes Pairs Champions 2012
- Maver Pairs Finalist 2010
- Maver Pairs Runners Up 2009
- Maver Pairs Final Individual Winner, and pairs runner up 2009
- Angling Times Supercup Semi Final Individual winner 2005