The Big Lerf Winter League 22/23 Rules

After the huge success of our inaugural Winter League, we are doing it again but this time even bigger! We have more sponsors, bigger prizes and more winning places. 

In case you don’t already know what the Winter League is, it is a UK and Ireland based lure fishing species hunt. All lures are welcome, big and small, but you will definitely need to scale down to target the mini species to be in with a chance of winning. 

Perch are a common catch during the winter and will be essential to build up a great total.
Perch are a common catch during the winter and will be essential to build up a great total.

Last year we had 78 species caught on lures from salt and freshwater, which over the coldest four months of the year is remarkable. Can we beat that this year? And can Lucas Theocharides’ winning total of 39 saltwater species be bettered? Or Andrew Wolfenden’s freshwater total of 19 species? Perhaps one of our junior anglers can find more than Tom Baron’s 18 species from salt and fresh? Only time will tell!

Mackerel are a surprisingly common catch along the south coast in winter.

To sign up all you have to do is message The Big Lerf on Facebook or Instagram or comment on the Facebook group.
We are determined to keep this competition open to all, but we cannot deny it is very time consuming for us to run over the winter months. So we have decided that the competition is still free entry, but if you could spare five pounds to ‘buy us a ko-fi’ on our website, that would be hugely appreciated and would go a long way to covering our time spent logging each catch, completing spreadsheets and sourcing prizes. You can find that website here –

If you cannot afford that, we completely understand but are still happy to have you on board!

Our northern anglers have a great chance of catching some jumbo plaice.

On Wednesday 30th November, we will announce your individual numbers. You can then print off the Winter League Logo and write your number on it. The League runs from 1st December 2022-31st March 2023.

So what are you fishing for? After you all worked so hard last year, we have gone bigger and reached out to our friends at Majorcraft UK, HTO, Ecogear UK, Streetfishing London, Todber Manor, Nineseven Tungsten, C.A.N Fishing Lures & Jonny Lerfer and they have blown us away with their support! We are incredibly grateful and we are sure our entrants are too. So without further ado, here are the categories and the prizes:

The classic LRF winter species.

Most Species Saltwater UK & Ireland

1st – Majorcraft Aji-Do rod – provided by Majorcraft UK & a lure/tackle bundle from Ecogear UK

2nd – HTO Nebula Light Gamer 1-7g rod – Provided by HTO

3rd – Jackall Egg Toughy Rod – provided by Todber Manor and a £25 voucher for NineSeven Tungsten

4th – £25 voucher for NineSeven Tungsten

5th – C.A.N Fishing Lures bundle 

Most Species Freshwater UK & Ireland

1st – Majorcraft Crostage Aji 0.6-10g rod – provided by Majorcraft UK) & a lure/tackle bundle from Street Fishing London 

2nd – HTO Nebula Light Gamer 1-7g rod – provided by HTO

3rd – A Shimano Sahara 1000 FL provided by Jonny Lerfer and a £25 voucher for NineSeven Tungsten

4th – £25 voucher for NineSeven Tungsten 

5th – C.A.N. Fishing Lures bundle 

Most Species Junior Salt & Fresh Combined UK & Ireland

1st Majorcraft Solpara Aji 0.6-10g rod – provided by Majorcraft UK

2nd – HTO Aikido 1-5g rod – provided by HTO

3rd – Tanagomax has provided a selection of micro fishing tackle including Tanago hooks and two sizes of viewing tank 

LRF King Of The North – HTO Aikido 1-5g rod and HTO Aikido 1000 reel – provided by HTO
The first angler who catches these species – 
Dab, coalfish, cod, short spined sea scorpion, butterfish, eelpout, lumpsucker and three spined stickleback. 

In the event that no one manages to catch all of these by March, the winner will be the angler who has ticked off the most. The Big Lerf Team may give this to the angler who catches the most of these species but doesn’t finish in the top 3. That will be at our discretion depending on how well everyone does. 

Will a late tub gurnard make an appearance?

Rules – 

All angling must be shore only in any fresh or saltwater location in England, Scotland, Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

For your entry to count it must have a clear photo with your number card next to it. All catches must be either uploaded to The Big Lerf Facebook Group or directly messaged to The Big Lerf Instagram account. We cannot accept catches that are posted in stories or disappearing messages as these can be easily missed. 

This competition is catch and release only. 

Lure and selected artificial baits only. All metal, hard plastic, soft plastic and hybrid lures count and you can use scented artificial baits such as Marukyu Isome, Berkley Gulp, Ecogear Aqua, Fladen Vermz and similar. We have made the decision this year that fake sweetcorn, bread etc does not count as a lure in this competition, it is quite easy to replicate these food items with the artificial baits such as Isome though and that is allowed. No live/real bait can be used and gluten or gelatin baits do not count either. 

All rigs must be single lure only, so no sets of sabikis or feathers, or two hook Dropshot rigs. You can have multiple hooks on hard plastic lures or metal jigs, and stinger rigs are also allowed.

As trout are out of season for most of the Winter League’s duration, no trout, salmon or char species will count. 

Mirror, leather and common carp all count as one species as they are varieties of king carp, crucian and grass carp are separate species so will count.

Ornamental and hybrid species/breeds such as orfe, koi carp, goldfish (including brown goldfish) and F1 carp do not count either. Colour morphs such as golden tench, golden rudd etc do not count as separate species. Invasive or naturalised species such as bitterling, topmouth gudgeon, prussian carp, pumpkinseed, wels catfish and similar all count, although please check your venue rules in regards to returning these species. 

Certain saltwater species can only be accepted in a viewing tank or with all fins in view, these include, but are not limited to, sprat and common goby.
This year, we have decided not to include the following protected saltwater species:

Giant goby, couches goby, allis shad, twaite shad and european smelt.
To make it fair we also will not include any of these species caught in the Republic Of Ireland, despite some of them not being protected there. 

The decisions have been made to try and keep the rules simple and fair for all anglers. 

At all times it is up to The Big Lerf admin team whether an entry meets the rules and we reserve the right to deny any catches where we suspect the angler may have used bait or the photo is not detailed enough to ID the species. We recommend taking many photos of your catch from different angles and if you catch an unusual species on a lure, try and take a photo of the lure in its mouth or at least in shot. It helps us judge whether the catch is genuine. 

Most importantly have fun and we hope you catch plenty of fish!

Summer is over! Lets get the coats on and get fishing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s