English Boat Championship, Weymouth 21st – 22nd May 2011
The contest was fished using points per fish system, the harder to catch species such as Rays, Bull Huss and Conger accrued more points than fish such a mackerel, Wrasse and Pout. The first five of each species are awarded full points the next five are only worth one point each, once ten of a species has been captured no further points are awarded. This method prevents anglers targeting the most prevalent species such as the Pout and Wrasse. The only fish not returned to the Sea are those that are required for the plate.
The 73 competitors assembled at the quay side from around 7.15am. With competitors from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany and England, this looked like a mini European championship, it was also a good chance for the UK teams to practice for next month’s Home Nations also scheduled for Weymouth.
The 8 boats started loading the vast array of bags, boxes, trolleys, rods, bait and anglers at 7.45. Some anglers had already set up their chosen rods for the day, others waited for the game plan to be announced by the boat skippers.
The weather forecast looked like Saturday would be the best day of the weekend, Sunday looked likely to be a wet one with some wind thrown in for good measure.
East or West?
The boats left the harbour from 8am, Super Nova & Offshore Rebel headed west, Tiger Lily, Top Cat & Flamer went east, the other boats (Meercat, Amarisa & Meridian Express) settled for the middle ground.
The scenery along this part of the Jurassic coast is quite breath taking, although I’m not quite sure where the largest quantity of fossils was? Beach or boat!
The water looked quite dark, probably down to the May water that occurs this time of year, this reduced the number of bites, especially if using lures of any kind (a favored method for targeting the inshore Pollack) although with the quality of this field catching fish should not be an issue!
There was also a competition for the longest bream, although they are not around in great numbers there are still enough around to target them, most anglers appeared to favour a one up, one down rig as this set up should be capable of catching more species, including the Bream. The other widely used rig was a two down rig for the Dogfish, Rays, Bull Huss, etc. Most anglers had scaled down to size 1 – 4 hooks using small baits to target more species. The longest Bream of 42cm on day one fell to Welsh man Rod Adamson closely followed by Neil Bryant’s 41cm specimen. This proved hard to beat as Rod claimed the prize at the presentation.
Day 1 boat winners
Dave Mann (meridian express)
Myles Howell (tiger lily)
Cliff Newbold (offshore rebel)
Colin Searles (Amarisa)
Andy Selby (Meercat)
Ash Currier (top cat)
Rolf Marshalek (super nova)
Gary Galbraith and Pete Bailey (flamer)
There were two duels to be fought, one on Tiger Lily between day one boat winners Colin Searles and Cliff Newbold and one on Al’s Spirit between Myles Howell and Dave Mann, the remaining day one boat winners stilled faced stiff competition from the other anglers on their boats, there is no such thing as an easy win at this level.
The weather forecast looked like it was accurate with the wind already at force 5-6, this forced the boats into a close competition in more ways than one as you can see by the picture. Weymouth is a preferred location during such conditions as there is normally at least one option regardless of the direction of the wind. As the wind peaked around midday several skippers chose to relocate behind Portland especially as the swell started to resemble mini tsunamis.
Ash Currier and Gareth Croft had a close contest on Offshore Rebel, Ash lost a conger when his leader parted only for Gareth to land the same eel later in the day (with the trace still attached) Gareth won this time with a Dogfish/Gurnard double shot taken five minutes before lines up which secured his boat win.
There were also a few mini species caught, dragonets, tompot blennies and a long spined scorpion fish, none of which counted as mini species are excluded, the scorpion fish would have scored in the unclassified section if it had reached the 20cm size limit.
Only two anglers managed to win their boat on both days, Colin Searles and Gary Galbraith (both England team members) the overall result had to be decided by fish points with Colin the victor and worthy winner of the much converted gold pin, Gary received the silver and Dave Mann bronze.
For full results please refer to efsa-england.com
Day two boat winners
Colin Searles (Tiger lily)
Gary Galbraith (Meercat)
Gareth Croft (offshore rebel)
Ken Smith (flamer)
Mike Patten (top cat)
Kim Bowden (supa nova)
Chris Pucher (Al’s Spirit)
Mark Devignat (meridian express)
Top juniors, both of whom win 12 months subscription to Boat Fishing Monthly.