This year the section shore championship was to be held on the Dover Southern Breakwater by kind permission of the Dover Sea Angling Association. Unfortunately the DSAA was given a problem in that the boat operators ceased to provide a service to transport anglers to the breakwater. This is likely to be resolved in the autumn but not in time for our Shore Championship competition! So the reserve venue was used – Samphire Hoe located just outside of Dover.
Samphire Hoe was constructed from the extracted earth and stone excavated in the construction of the Channel Tunnel. It is a fantastic promenade that is ideal for the running of shore angling competitions and for pleasure anglers to purchase day tickets to fish. It is essentially a rock mark but as our anglers proved is fishable and offers a variety of species to anglers who are prepared to overcome the difficulties they are presented!!
The HQ for the competition was the Grand Burstin Hotel who obliged with offering preferential rates to our members with £30 per person buying you a bed, breakfast and evening meal. Basic fare but plenty of it and a bar open when you needed it for essential socialising.
The entry to this year’s competition was disappointing but we were determined to press ahead and give it a go with the hope that this might encourage others to enter in the future. Anglers made their way to the HQ Hotel on the Friday 6th July to book in and discuss the rules and administrative arrangements. On the Saturday the bait was collected for all competitors from Roy at Channel Angling and the draw and bait issue was completed on the venue. Alan Yates and John Wells had already been busy with pegging the venue and so with the draw done anglers eagerly proceeded to their peg. For those that had not been to Samphire Hoe before they would be faced with a high promenade with rocks at the base and no idea what was beyond! Only tales from fellow anglers and advice from Alan and John to guide them they casted their first bait at 10:30!
I was on Peg 1 which didn’t give a good view of what was occurring but John Wells on peg 2 had 3 fish on his card in a very short time whilst I had nothing!! This made me think “here we go we are going to be stuffed” by the local experts! So I kept going and kept my eye on John and his methods. Early on in the match it was quiet on the higher numbers but I managed to catch John up and I heard of one or two fish being landed. The weather forecast earlier in the week was for heavy showers and these thankfully didn’t materialise. Instead we had bright sunshine all day and on top of all the fish we caught, also caught the sun! At the end of the day I was lying in 4th place with my 5 sizeable fish but Reg Clough was leading and surprisingly our boat angling experts Jerry Knight and Dave Clark were in 2nd and 3rd place. The differences in the top 5 or 6 places were small but as the match was being run on a measure and return there were advantages in catching Pollack when fish numbers were down.
Day 2 and all to fish for as Alan and John put the pegs down at the opposite end of the “Hoe” from the day before. Again the local experts went off with a bang and had a few fish recorded before some of us even got a bite!! Reg Clough caught steadily throughout the day and landed a huge rockling of approx 2 ½ pounds. It was 46 cms long so nearly half a metre!! This helped keep Reg ahead for day so that he finished the competition with a perfect 2 wins to secure first place overall. The changes in fortune elsewhere amongst participants resulted in a change in the top with the results as follows:
1st Gold Pin winner - Reg Clough
2nd Silver Pin Winner - Paull Curtice
3rd Bronze Pin Winner - Jerry Knight
A blind pairs competition was run with Dave Clarke and Reg Clough being triumphant.
A cash pools competition was run for longest flat and round fish. As no flatfish were landed the pools went to second longest round. Winners of the pools on day 1 were Jerry Knight and Brian Booker with Reg Clough and Alan Yates collecting the winnings from day 2.
Prizes were also awarded to the first 3 places overall consisting of a Ian Golds beach shelter, Travel rod and a large tackle box.
Apart from the drenching in the afternoon of day 2, the competition went well and with good humour throughout. The social side of the competition was maintained in the true traditions of EFSA in the bar and on the fishing venue.
Thankyou’s need to be made to Andy for sorting out the prizes, Gary for supplying the pins in the nick of time, Alan and John for pegging, John Wells for the Manx Sand Eels and all the anglers for making the effort and giving it a go.
Report by Paull Curtis