Last weekend saw the Catfish Study Group hold their 5th annual Open Show and Auction, writes Ian Fuller.
The event was held at the group's headquarters at St Elisabeth's Parish Hall, Aspull, Near Wigan in Lancashire.
The day kicked off when the doors opened at 9.00 am with the preparation of the show room, tables were laid out, staging assembled and section signs placed.
One or two exhibitors had arrived early, so there were plenty of hands on deck to get everything set up and ready.
We were expecting a good turn out and as the morning progressed it was becoming obvious that our expectations were well founded and by the time benching finished at 12.45 there were a total of 138 entries comprising of more than 100 species.
More than 100 species were exhibited.
The largest entry was a very well presented Hemibagrus (Mystus) wyckii measuring around 51cm/20", while at the other end of the size scale was a superb Corydoras pygmaeus at a mere 2.54cm/1". There were many magnificent specimens in between.
Judging started promptly at 1.00 pm and with so many top quality catfish on display it promised to give the judges a bit of a tough time sorting out the best four in each of the 27 classes.
These corys were bred by a CSG member.
Our sponsors had been exceptionally generous as always with their donations of products for show and raffle prize.
One sponsor had made changes to their donation and instead of just providing prizes for the winners they gave us "goodie bags", containing a range of their products.
The goodie bags were presented to every exhibitor ensuring that every one supporting the show went away with some reward for their effort. The many exhibitors that did take awards were well pleased with the prizes they had won and promises were made to return next year.
The entrants check their scores.
While the judges were doing their best to sort out the best catfish, in the main hall auctioneer Steve Spencer from Aqualife got to grips with the auction and started wading through the vast array of lots.
There were indeed plenty of bargains to be had, from second hand and new aquarium equipment, plants and a very good selection of top quality fish, many of which were young tank bred specimens produced by CSG members.
Many species were available in the auction.
By 4.00 pm the judges had finished and were just left with the task of appointing the best in show and after much deliberation the award was given to a magnificent specimen of a Synodontis decorus owned by CSG member Phil Aspinall.
With the auction all done and dusted it was time to make the presentations. No mean task at the end of a very busy day with 27 first, second, third and fourth place prizes to present, not to mention the fourteen special awards, some of which deserve a special mention.
Phil Aspinall's decorus took Best in Show.
Best in Show went to Phil Aspinall for his Synodontis decorus, which also took Best Synodontis; Best Corydoras went to Mr and Mrs S. Brown for a Corydoras pygmaeus; Best Breeder's award went to Adrian Taylor with his superb group of Scleromystax prionotos, which gained a total of 92 points.
It is also worth mentioning that such was the quality of the breeders classes that there were three other exhibits amongst the ten entries that achieved over 90 points.
The full details are published on the CSG web site at www.catfishstudygroup.org