English boat championship, Plymouth 13/14th July 2013
It was 6 in the evening when we arrived in Plymouth (after a 7 hour drive from Kent) and well what a pleasant change to arrive at the chosen venue in shorts and tee shirts, not only that the forecast for the weekends weather was for no wind and sunshine, the local news channel had however commented that it would be a terrible weekend for the surfers!! What a shame …………not.
The weather forecast was spot on, no wind, no waves, no clouds and plenty of sunshine. Many of the anglers were already in shorts and tee shirts at 7 o’clock in the morning, looks like the hats, water and sun protection lotions would be as essential as the bait.
After a briefing the squid, mackerel and ragworm baits were shared out and the boats were loaded. After a short stop to stock up on fresh mackerel most of the boats headed straight to the Eddystone reef although one remained behind on the mackerel mark to commence the day with 10 mackerel for each angler followed by several whiting each, he then caught up with the other boats to drift the sands and reef around the Eddystone lighthouse.
The drifts were quite slow due to the lack of wind and tide, this gave plenty of time to chase the whiting, red gurnard, dogfish and ling that feed on the sandy areas, then onto the ridge that borders the rising reef area where the cuckoo wrasse, whiting, Pollock & pout could be targeted.
Although the cuckoo wrasse were limited to 2 each it seemed impossible to keep away from them, I managed to catch them on every rig that I sent to the bottom, even on a conger trace and a 4/0 hook targeting ling.
On Crusader day 1 both Ray Barron and Pete Bailey finished on 83 points each. The Eddystone reef it was meant to be small eels there was about 14 caught all about 35 to 40 pound, when the skipper Richard said it used to be mainly smaller congers, Kim commented yes that was a few years ago, they have put on weight since then!
The sea was flat calm and a couple of sun fish were sighted along with a giant bait ball that had been chased up to the surface by some unknown predator.
There was a slight mistake in the rules as foul hooked fish could be counted, this had to stand for day one as the message did not filter through until Saturday evening, by which time any foul hooked fish had already been recorded and results calculated.
Day one results
1st Dave Clark 86points
2nd Ray Barron and Pete Bailey 83 points
3rd Mike Patten 76 points
4th Paul Hart and Mike Smith 70 points
5th Rod Adamson and Vernon Allen 63 points
6th Martin Bobbett 56 points
7th Jon Law 46 points
8th Andy Smith 44 points
With 11 boat winners from day one (not bad seeing that there were only 8 boats) there was a fair chance that several competitors would secure a second boat win, this could mean a count back on points to confirm an overall winner.
Day two followed the same format with the exception of a clarification on the rules, no foul hooked fish would count as this is the EFSA rule.
The weather was just as good as Saturday, some anglers looked rather red from yesterdays over exposure to the sun, wonder how many of you realise that there has been a 60% increase in skin cancer to white males in this country over the last 12 years?
The calm sea allows spotting basking sharks a lot easier, I did manage to get a couple of shots of one that got within range of our boat, not a fantastic picture but still exciting to view one of these superb giants of the sea.
During the days challenge some anglers were struggling to find the Pollock, not everyone is entirely honest when it comes to providing the information to their fellow competitors (well it is a competition after all) it seemed that they were between 5 and 32 turns up, the best comment came from Tony Hudson when he hooked into yet another fine Pollock, “this one was 32 turns up and it took it on the drop” we all knew what he meant but funny all the same.
Cliff Newbold and Rod Adamson had a close challenge right up to the last cast, cliff was in the lead by 7 points when Rod saw the tell tell bite from a dogfish, his experience showed as he patiently waited for another one to take the other bait, sure enough the second one took, once in the net Rod asked how long remained, to which the skipper replied “that’s it lines up” those two fish took Rod to his second day win.
Martin Bobbett had a close competition with Mark Shortt from Ireland, Mark dropped a conger around 20 minutes from the final whistle and ended up runner up by 7 points, the eel would have secured Marks boat win. Martin returned to port with a second boat win to his credit. Once onshore the results started to filter in, nail biting times when you know you’re in with a chance of a pin!
It became apparent that Rod and Martin were the only two double boat winners, with Rod securing gold for the second time at this venue, even stranger Martin took silver in this event for the second time, the only difference in the top four from 2008 was Paul Hart who took bronze this time (Gary Galbraith took bronze in 2008) and Ray Barron took fourth spot both times.
Martin Beer of the Eddystone eel company had kindly donated a pack of 170mm weighted eels for each competitor and a trophy for the best fish caught over the 2 days using one of these lures. Several fish were captured on these lures, some nice whiting and a couple of good Pollock. The Trophy was secured by Roger Whiting with a fine Pollock.
The committee would also like to thank Tom Worthy for supplying the bait for both days’ and as always Andy Selby for the effort that Charlie and he put in to organise these fantastic events, next year back to Torquay? (Andy’s 1stpin was secured there I believe)
1st Rod Adamson 100(63), 100(84) 200 (147)
2nd Martin Bobbett 100(56), 100(65) 200 (121)
3rd Paul Hart 100(70), 96(48) 196 (118)
For the other results please see separate sheets.
Report by Martin Bobbett