European Boat and Line Class Championships
Dalvik, Iceland. 8th to 15th May 2010
On Sunday 9th May the opening ceremony for the Championships took place with a walk of participating nations along the main road of Dalvik before the flag raising ceremony and official opening by EFSA Chairman Horst Schneider. There was then a reception at the Cultural Hall of Dalvik, where the speeches were made, helped along with a welcoming drink to help keep people’s attention (of note, the hall was funded by an Icelandic bank, so that is where your money went).
Back tracking to Saturday, after the AGM competitors and companions were divided in to 4 groups to be given a tour of Dalvik, stopping along the way at four houses by invitation of the owners to sample their fish soup. Each had a distinct theme and flavour that combined with the hospitality shown, made for a great evening and got the week off to wonderful start.
The Boat Championship got under way at 0700 on Monday with 11 boats leaving port with 134 hopeful anglers onboard. Some boats were divided with a “boat” on port side and another “boat” on the other, anglers on these were only competing with anglers on their side. This gave a total of 18 “boats” so 18 boat winners per day. Fishing was varied with some boats finding the numbers of fish to fill the given boxes while others only managing a few fish. Principle fish caught were cod, haddock, coalfish, redfish, catfish, whiting and dab. Others to feature were plaice, tusk, scorpion fish and 1ling. At the end of the day it was a pleasure to get ashore and warm up away from the biting wind. When the points for the day were fed in top man of the 18 boat winners with 100% was our own Mark Smith on count back with 225 points. Other English boat winners were Richard Russell and Barry Senior.
Day 2 and despite a sub zero start and cold wind the day improved with sun shining and wind dropping away. I should mention that it is bit of a no win situation because of the almost non existent tide and all fishing is done on the drift. If there is no wind then the boats do not drift very far! Again some anglers came in with tales of non-stop fishing action whilst other boats were won with a couple of dozen fish.
At the end of the day, from 18 boat winners yesterday, today ended with only 3 double boat winners, but on a high percentage were 2 other of the English entry, and with 2 days to go it was still all to play for. Worthy of note, Mark Smith was one of the double boat winners so was currently still at the top of the results.
Day 3 and despite a gloomy forecast it turned out to be the warmest day so far. By now most boats had their favourite marks, saying that most of the boats were more used to taking people whale watching and several of those from the next fiord, so knowledge of fishing marks was limited. Again boat strategy was different, one local boat concentrated on cod and so most on board got their 25 while others headed for the light house at the north of the fiord, where depending on depth there was a steady catch of the main species. At the end of the day there was just one of the Irish entries on the 300% max, so with Ray Barron’s only one boat win so far, but high percentages on the other days it put him in the top 3 placings with a couple of the other English entries on high percentages. So, with one day of the Boat comp to go there were hopes of several of the English entries finishing high up.
Day 4 and just when we thought we had had the worst of the weather the day was fished with a stiff breeze, which despite the 3 degrees at 0700 hours gave a sub zero wind chill. Again, the different boat strategy. While some headed for a bit of shelter others pushed on to the north of the fjord. Back on shore some were talking of their fantastic days fishing action and filling 2 of the fish boxes supplied to hold individual catches, other boat wins managing a 1/3 of a box. One person on 300% from yesterday did not maintain his winning ways. So with no one on a perfect score those that kept a high percentage each day came in to play. Top 3 for the Boat Championship were Scott Gibson of Scotland taking gold with 396.5%, Ray Barron of England taking silver on 395.95 % a Heiko Dreier of Ireland taking bronze with 392.41%.
Also worthy of mention in the seniors section in first place for second year running was Jim Whippy, only just overtaking and so putting into second place Dave Clark. Jim at the presentation took exception when on the plaque was “Senior winner, over 65”! No need to state it he said.
The Line Class Championship was held on the Friday with all competitors using the same 12lb test Ande line. I know I have said it before but luck of the draw decided the positioning. The better boats found the coalfish to boost the winning points in the range of 400, compared with several of the boats being won with 100 points. After count back the Irish took gold with 423 points and bronze with 377 points, with Ken Smith of England taking silver with a score of 417 with 69 fish.
On arrival ashore there was a beer and nibbles to finish off the weeks fishing and a 5-man per section team tug-of-war challenge. England were prepared and stepped up to the mark, to be challenged by an Icelandic team, the English team under the professional guidance of Nigel Hearn soon won the bout. Possibly the rain had an effect, or was it the formidable display of the English but no other section came forward to challenge, so to add to fishing successes of the week the English section took the prize of a local cook book as tug-of-war champions! We may have to consider issuing a challenge at Weymouth next year?
Saturday and the presentation was held prior to the Gala dinner. Of note at the presentation outside of the top 3, Colin Searles was 6th , Mark Smith 9 th and Jim Whippy just outside the medal list in 16th place. Colin Searles picked up the Best Plaice and Best fish with a plaice of 2.23kg, which also happens to beat the existing Iceland record! Ken Smith besides his Line success got the award for most fish with 151. The England A team of Richard Russell, Colin Searles, Mike Smith, Ray Barron and Gary Gailbraith were top International team. Ireland B was 2nd with Ireland A 3rd.
Regrettably England B only managed 7 th out of total of 16.
At the end of the presentation there was the official handover of the EFSA flag to the next section to host the Boat and Line Championships. On behalf of the English section this was accepted by Kim Bowden, secretary. Well, I had to get my name in here somehow!
Whilst giving mentions it would be remiss of me not to mention Ray Barron, who, as our Chairman Neil Bryant was unable to make the Championships due to a shoulder injury, took charge of the daily team meetings where the individual’s day scores were recorded and information on the boats and what was working to catch the various species was shared for the good of all England participants and teams.
The Gala dinner followed the presentation, with local fare. Whilst a bit strange to our palette, there were some very tasty dishes and plenty of it. Due to the Icelandic way of home spun entertainment the time between courses was extended by inviting sections to perform on the stage, whilst entertaining, despite an 8 o’clock start, sweet and coffee was not forthcoming till after midnight !
Your secretary did take the opportunity to pass out the remainder of the 2011 Boat and Line brochures that we had shipped over and there seemed a lot of interest so remember to get your entries in early. Brochures available or look on line at our website.
On summing up the Championship was a great success, helped along by the friendship of the host nation and the people of Dalvik. There is some fantastic fishing to be had here and even the best of the boats only touched on it. They hold a 2-day cod competition out of the Fjord where the winning weight last year each day was in the order of 800kg (that’s 1 person) not a competition for the feint of heart or weak of arm!
For a complete list of results visit the EFSA Iceland website at www.efsa.is
English Individual Placings
2nd Ray Barron 395.95%
6th Colin Searles 380.95%
9th Mark Smith 379.70%
16th Jim Whippy 372.95%
25th Gary Gailbraith 359.60%
27th Barrie Senior 356.95%
28th Richard Russell 354.91%
47th Dave Clark 334.62%
58th Pete Bailey 325.97%
59th Kim Bowden 325.55%
60th Vernon Allen 323.85%
61st Ken Smith 320.72%
63rd Neil Cottington 320.28%
66th Nigel Hearn 319.16%
72nd Mike Smith 311.13%
75th Billy Cann 307.34%
120th David Styles 229.47% did not fish day 4
Report by Kim Bowden