Sunday 17th September was the date for the welcome and opening ceremony for the 2023 European Boat and Line Championship at the Commodore Hotel, Cobh, Ireland. There was an update on the Championship and a chance for any questions. Also, the opportunity to meet up with fellow anglers from the other nations taking part. There were 57 anglers entered into this year’s event.
Monday 18th September was the first day of the Line Class Championship where all anglers were to fish with the supplied 20 lb braided line and one hook. About 09:00 the 9 boats started to load. Due to the wind strength the day was restricted to the harbour. All boats started by fishing for Mackerel to add to the squid and frozen mackerel bait that was supplied. All boats found a few Mackerel which were shared among the anglers. About 10:00 the boats were anchored and it was lines down with hopes high of catching more and achieving a better score than the rest of the boats. It soon became clear that it was going to be down to the number of Dogfish caught, with the occasional Ray, Whiting, Scad and Gurnard to add to the score. One boat achieved about 300 Dogfish with the top score of the day coming from it. Results from the other boat were varied with some recording a fair number of fish while others not so many. As we always say it is largely down to the luck of the draw with the boats.
With 9 boat winners on 100% it was count back on the scores that decided who was in first place. It was Marcus Wuest representing Germany with 380 points who won the day. Second on the day was Petter Skudal of Norway with 263 points and Francis Couzinet third with 238 points.
And the above result stood as the result for the 2 days Line Class event as day 2 was cancelled due to gale force winds being forecast. A day off for all, a chance to relax and prepare for the 3 days of the Boat part of the Championship to follow. Though with the poor forecast for the following days most of that was also expected to be within the confines of Cobh harbour.
Day 3 and the 2 hook Boat part of the Championship got under way, again it was to be fished within the confines of Cobh harbour, but at least we knew what species to expect after Monday. It was a drift for some fresh Mackerel before the start of the event. However, unlike Monday when it had been easy to feather up some Mackerel they were hard to find the gale of the previous day had dispersed them.
As the event got underway it was Dogfish that featured mainly, with good number of Dab and Whiting lesser numbers of Rays, Mackerel, Bullhuss, Scad, Pollack and a couple of Bass. Despite the minimum size being dropped to 18cm due to being in harbour there were a lot of fish that did not make that size so scored nothing.
At the end of the day and the results calculated there were four anglers with a double boat win on 200% and several others on over 190% so still in with a chance should the top ones falter.
Day 4 and lighter winds so it was to be fished outside the harbour, but within a 3-mile range offshore due to the licence restrictions of some of the boats. As we were fishing outside the harbour and the minimum length of fish would be 25cm to score, so many of the fish caught did not score. There were some more species to be had, with one angler recording 9 species including Red, Tub and Grey Gurnards.
The final day and it was outside the harbour again though this time all boats headed East to get some shelter from the North wind. All boats struggled to find as many fish as the previous day, not sure of the reason whether the ground to the East did not hold as many fish or if it was the weather that played a part.
The presentation and Gala dinner were held at the Commodore Hotel. Warren Doyle read out the results with George McCollough and Marcus Wuest presenting the prizes.
First the Line Class awards were presented with the Gold pin going to Marcus Wuest, Petter Skudal the Silver and Francis Couzinet the bronze
The results for Friday were added to the previous 3 days to determine the final positions for the Championship. There were now just 3 anglers on the maximum score of 400% so it was the countback on points to determine the order. It was Petter Skudal of Norway who became the overall winner and received the Gold pin. Second and Silver pin winner was Francis Couzinet of France, with Shay McDonnell of Ireland 3rd and received the bronze pin.
It was Norway that was top National team. Top Senior was Shay McDonnell, with Jim Presley of England runner-up, Jim was the top English angler finishing 7th overall with 370%. Top lady was Torunn Handeland from Norway.
Andy Smith was in the winning 4 Man Executive Drawn Team.
Richard Russell won the prize for the Longest Pollack of Coalfish a 51cm Pollack.
The event was brought to a close with Kim Bowden receiving the handover of the EFSA Flag on behalf of EFSA England who are hosting the 2024 running of the European Boat and Line Championships.
7th Jim Pressley
22Nd Barrie Senior
24th Andy Smith
25th Richard Russell
26th Ken Smith
29th Paul Hart
40th Kim Bowden