EFSA European Shore Championships 2014 – North Wales
This year the EFSA Euro Shore was held in the Pwllheli area of North Wales. The championship headquarters hotel was the Celtic Royal in Caernarfon, which once again provided a very comfortable base for EFSA members.
This year we had a good representation from our section, which included two new members, Alan Jones and Mark Cowell. Both very experienced shore anglers with Mark being a resident in Wales for many years added very good local intelligence. In all 10 members travelled to Wales and therefore all were included in our section teams. These were:
A Team: Paull Curtice B Team: Jerry Knight
Reg Clough Mark Cowell
Paul Hart Alan Jones
Dave Lovelock Dave Clarke
David Evans Tony Porritt
Everyone arrived without any drama and met up at the registration event and drawing of zones on the Wednesday evening. This was a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and introduce our new members to the EFSA group. The registration was straightforward and a buffet of sandwiches washed down with a few beers made for a great evening. Our own Chairman was showing some very tasty high tech fishing gear and with some good discounts so wallets were a bit lighter on the way back to our rooms later!!!
The EFSA Wales organisers had presumably selected this area again to enable them to take advantage of the peninsular in the event of poor weather and in true EFSA European Shore Championships tradition the weather had turned to wind and rain!! So with that in mind the first match was to be held in the North of the area at Llandudno. This is a beach on the front of the popular holiday resort with a very long promenade. The tide timings were not perfect as the competition timings were really aligned to the Pwllheli beaches so we were to fish the last of the ebb, low water and then the flood. As it happened the rain stopped on our arrival and we had a very comfortable 5 hours on the beach. Fish were present from the off which raised hopes of a good match.
The fish caught were mainly whiting with a few dogfish and flatfish present. With a measure and return system and anything over 20cm to count ensured that any pesky pin whiting would be welcomed!!! However some of our anglers struggled with finding fish and the conditions with the pebbles underfoot is unsettling and painful for the fallers!!! At the end of the match we had mixed fortunes with a zone win for Paull Curtice, zone 3rd for Paul Hart and a 4th place for Dave Lovelock being the best results. At breakfast next day we found that despite our mixed results the A team were lying in 3rd position overall which was promising.
The next day we went to Pwllheli South Beach, which was a totally different type of beach and our local expert Mark, warned us that we may have weed and gave a few tips on trying to target the expected dogfish packs. With a plan and high hopes we went onto the beach and the first hour of the flood tide the fishing for most along the beach was pretty hectic with double and treble shots of whiting again with the odd dogfish or dab showing. Then came the dreaded weed! This totally altered some of our member’s fortunes!!! When we came off the beach it was clear that apart from new members Mark Cowell who won his zone, Alan Price who got a 4th place and Dave Lovelock with a 5th place the rest of us were mid point places or worse. Unfortunately Jerry Knight who had a good amount of fish on his card then lost the card, which blew away down the beach!!!! This resulted in a disqualification. At breakfast the next day the results were posted and the impact upon the team event was severe. We had dropped to 7th place and were a long way back in points from the front 3. As individuals it was still possible to claw up to a top ten position if a good zone result on the last day.
Final days fishing was back to Phwhelli South Beach but further down to ensure that fresh beach was targeted. The weather proved to be worse than the previous days and on arrival it was clear that the venue was unfishable at the start time of 11:00am. Eventually the organising committee made the decision to delay the start of the match to 13:00 and fishing a shortened match ending at 16:00. This proved to be a good decision as the wind did drop and the ebb tide ensured a safer venue.
The fishing was in daylight and was as predicted far more challenging mainly due to the selection of fishing an ebb tide along with rough conditions. However there were fish caught with a number of flatfish and dogfish early on with whiting showing towards the end of the match. The result was that our members Mark Cowell had got another good result with 2nd in zone, Paull Curtice 3rd and Alan Jones had another credible 4th place.
When we returned a few beers and the usual post mortem we got changed and went into the restaurant for the gala dinner and prize giving. As usual the Welsh Section had managed to secure good sponsorship and with the executive teams and various pools the prize giving was quite an event.
The competition overall Gold Pin winner was Maurits Keur who managed 3 zone wins to have a perfect score. Remarkably he did exactly the same last year in Holland and this year won the National Dutch open. Fellow Dutchmen Volker Claus and Kees Van De Velde were in the silver and bronze pin positions. The International Team results were in Gold position Ireland A, Silver was Netherlands A and Netherlands B swept up the bronze medals. Top lady was Miranda Koop and top junior was Daniel Tucker.
Our members managed to get amongst the prizes within various drawn teams and Mark Cowell was our best-placed member amongst the individual prizes picking up 6th overall. Our section team result were the A Team in 5th with the B Team in 11th place.
The competition was well organised as usual but again the comments from some anglers were that with night time matches the social element was removed for many. It seems a shame that the competition could not have been held in daylight hours but the reason is to maximise the quality of the fishing as daylight can be difficult conditions and as the last day showed for some very disappointing.
The Welsh were great hosts and our thanks should go to them for all their hard work.
EFSA English Section results:
Individual overall positions:
6th – Mark Cowell
17th – Paull Curtice
20th – Alan Jones
24th – Dave Lovelock
33rd – Reg Clough
34th – David Evans
35th – Paul Hart
61st – Tony Porritt
63rd – Jerry Knight
65th – Dave Clarke
Old Farts competition:
2nd – Dave Lovelock
3rd – Reg Clough