Dion: I’m innocent

MATCH angler Dion Macfayden is determined to clear his name after being barred from a competition.

The South Benfleet matchman was due to contest the Ford Sea Angling Club Open on Sunday.

But stewards refused to let the 45-year-old angler compete after finding two gutted flounders in his coolbox.

Macfayden said he caught the fish the previous day and stored them in the box prior to bringing them back to Essex for his son Marley’s grandad, Tony Johnson.

“I was flabbergasted and could not believe what had happened,” said Macfayden, who is one of the top sea anglers in the country.

“I want to clear my name and I’m in limbo because I feel that I cannot compete in any other matches at the moment with this hanging over me.”

And he added: “I’m prepared to take a lie-detector test to prove my innocence.”

Macfayden and his 12-year-old son Marley travelled down to Hampshire on Saturday and did some practice fishing ahead of the match.

They caught the two flounders, which they stored in the coolbox along with their bait.

The pair were setting up for the open match on Sunday morning when stewards asked to routinely inspect their tackle and coolboxes.

Macfayden was disqualified when they found the two flounders in his box, despite him explaining what had happened.

He believes the stewards should have taken the fish for further examination, allowed him to compete and then returned a verdict following an inquiry.

“If they had of done this they would have seen that the fish had been gutted and it was a weight match,” Macfayden added. “Any angler knows you cannot weigh-in gutted fish.

“Also when a match starts, if you catch a fish the steward or angler next to you has to watch you bring it out of the water and land the fish then they sign your card.” Macfayden, who has been a sea match angler for 24 years, admitted he should not have taken the fish onto the beach.

But he claimed there was nothing in the rules preventing him from doing so and said some anglers also use dead fish as bait.

Macfayden won the Ford Sea Angling Open in January 2011 and is currently waiting to hear if he won the 2011 Penn Sea League, having led the national competition in December.

>Marley finished third in the junior section in Sunday’s competition after landing a flounder and won a £100 rod.

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