Shark Angling Club of Great Britain to present a Once in a Lifetime Award
The clubs first President, Frank Albert Mitchell-Hedges is well known for many things. He was an adventurer, writer and traveler. He also found the famous crystal skull with the moving jaw and presented the club with the magnificent Mitchell Hedges Trophy. This trophy is awarded annually for the best shark of the season caught and released by a member of the club. He also gave the club the Sammy Porbeagle Trophy which is awarded annually to the angler for the best Porbeagle being caught and released.
What is not so well known is that 62 years ago Mitchell-Hedges presented one off challenge for the first blue shark of 250lbs or over.
The minutes of the committee meeting on the 15th October 1955 record that Mitchell-Hedges offered a new trophy and boatman award. The rules of the challenge were that a one-off trophy would be presented to the first SACGB member to catch a blue shark of 250lbs or more. The boatman concerned was to receive a Mitchell-Hedges cheque for £25. At the meeting, this offer was proposed by R Roberts and seconded by J Holmes. The proposition was carried. The £25 can be seen in the club accounts for a number of years. The trophy was then held in the custody of Pat Case until July 1959 when the minutes record that it was passed to Miss Le Guillon, Mitchell-Hedges adopted daughter, until such times as it could be awarded. The club have not heard of, or seen the trophy since.
In the 62 years since this challenge was accepted it has neither been claimed or awarded.
Bob Woodman, Chairman of the SACGB commented, “we were planning to re-issue the Mitchell Hedges 250lb Blue Shark challenge when news came in of John Dines big blue caught and released aboard Chippy’s boat in Penzance. We are really pleased that we find ourselves in the position where the award can finally be made after 62 years of waiting. We hope to present the awards at the SACGB Annual Trophy Presentation night in Looe on the 21st October this year”.
Bob continues, “within weeks of Johns shark we got news of another, bigger blue caught and released by Dean Flannery aboard Andrew Alsop’s boat out of Milford Haven. Unfortunately, this shark was foul hooked so no claim could be made. It did however confirm what shark anglers have been saying for some time now which is that bigger fish are out there in greater numbers.
With the 250lb blue award soon to be presented the SACGB have decided to launch a new challenge. We have followed the structure put in place by Mitchell-Hedges and today we are launching it. The first angler and skipper who catch and release a 350lb or more, blue shark, in accordance with SACGB and the British Measured and Released Record rules will each be awarded a commemorative trophy. With the growth in shark angling activity and the increased number of specimen sharks being caught and released we don’t believe this will take as long as the Mitchell-Hedges 250lb blue award for a claim to be made”.
All SACGB Trophy Presentation events are special as they reward the commitment and dedication of anglers and skippers to the sport. This year’s Trophy Presentation event will be a little more special as the Mitchell Hedges 250lb or above blue shark award is a Once in a lifetime award which will never be repeated.
The SACGB Trophy Presentation evenings are open to members, non-members and their guests. Details of the event and how to obtain tickets can be obtained by contacting the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to, SACGB, ℅ The Harbour Office, Buller Quay, East Looe, PL13 1DX