9th to 13th September 2019
EFSA England was the host of the 2019 European Boat and Line Championships fishing from Weymouth where it has been hosted many times before. The difference with this Championship was it was to be the first Championship under the new format of a 2-day Line Class Championship for the Line Class awards. The Line Class points would then be added to the 3-day Boat Championship to give a score over the 5 days to decide the European Boat Champion.
Registration at the Crown Hotel began on the Saturday evening and a chance to catch up with old friends. Anglers were handed a commemorative rig wallet containing information on the week’s events, a commemorative pack of hooks from Cox & Rawle and end tackle from Bluezone.
All the Anglers in full uniform gathered at the seafront Clock Tower, this was the start of the march along the sea front to Weymouth Pavilion. The march was led by Poole Dolphin Marching Band followed by each of the 17 countries in order with their National flag held high by members of the Weymouth Angling Society junior section. The march ended at Weymouth Pavilion where we were greeted by the Mayor of Weymouth, Councillor Graham Winter and senior EFSA officials. In the Pavilion, following speeches by the Mayor and EFSA England Chairman Neil Bryant, Horst Schneider the EFSA HQ Chairman gave his welcome to all the anglers before officially declaring the Championships open.
All the 112 anglers assembled on the quay side ready to board the 12 boats, the weather was not as good as hoped but fishing was still possible. Today the target species were conger eel, tope and rays, plus any other fish over 5 pounds which would all score points. As was expected there were a lot of smaller conger which have been around in numbers not seen before on the south coast of England. Fishing was varied and depending on which boat you were on whether you targeted the conger eel, which most did, although a few thought rays were a better target. At the end of the day there were 13 boat winners on 100%
This was same format as day one with many hoping for a change in catches to improve their scores. Again, as is always the case in Championships, it depended not only on the boat you were on but also the position you drew on the boat that effected your chance of a good catch. At the end of another challenging day the 2-day Line Class Championship was concluded. These 2 days we were targeting the bigger fish and today the best conger eel of the Championship was caught by Joe Connolly from Scotland which was weighed at 28 pounds before being returned to the water. There were now just two anglers on the perfect score of 200%, Katharina Schleiff from Germany and Martin Hubert from Denmark. It was Martin that took first place after a points count back and became the gold pin winner. Katharina was second and won the silver pin. In third place taking the bronze pin was Steve Souter from Scotland on 193-33%.
It was the first day of species fishing with all fish over 20cm counting. Under the new format this was the 3rd day of the Boat Championship which included the Line Class results. So today the boats spread out a little more to try and find the variety of species to achieve a good score, though again the weather limited some to seek shelter close to port. Today there was only one person on the maximum score and that was Katharina Schleiff from Germany. There were several anglers at the top with two boat wins out of the 3 days so still anyone’s Championship.
The weather finally started to improve so it was possible to go a little further offshore and fish different ground. The fishing was still difficult, and the skippers had to work hard to find the different species with usually reliable marks not producing, most likely due to the water being so rough the previous few days. Today, it was still Katharina now on 400% in first place, with other top placing just 10 or 20 % behind, so not over yet.
The final day of the Championship and the weather was the best of the week, so nice to finish off with a more relaxed days fishing. Many knew the top honours were out of reach so pressure off, though the team events were still to be decided so all fished as hard as they could. Unfortunately for Katharina today did not go so well and she scored just 67% and was removed from her top spot but remained in the top three.
At the conclusion of the Championship it was Martin Hubert from Denmark in first place on 484.56% so taking another gold pin to go with the Line Class gold pin won earlier in the week. Second and the silver pin winner was Steve Souter from Scotland with 470.19%, Katharina Schleiff from Germany taking the bronze pin with 467.83%
The closing of the Championship took place at The Pavilion in Weymouth. First the meal was served which gave a chance to have a drink and a chat with the other anglers on their highs and lows of the week. There were many comments of appreciation to the organising committee on how well the week was organised and how well the anglers had been looked after, with many anglers who were having difficulties being lent equipment or given help and advice on the fishing.
After the meal the prizes for the different individual and team events were awarded. This took a while as there was a lot to award with many of the winners getting a specially commissioned hand-blown glass fish as a memento of the event. At the conclusion of the presentation it was time for a final few words from Horst Schneider to formally close the event with the last item being the handover of the EFSA flag from Neil Bryant the England Chairman to Martin Hubert receiving it on behalf of EFSA Denmark who are hosting the 2020 Championship at Elsinore.
This concluded the event for 2019 so the EFSA England organising committee were able to relax for the first time in a week! Full results and many photos of the week were handed out to all sections on a memory stick. Full results are available on the EFSA England and HQ websites
EFSA England would like to thank the following for their generous sponsorship: Ammo Baits; Bluezone Fishing Ltd.; Cox & Rawle; Devon Baits; Fishzone Ltd.; Fladen Fishing UK; Kiddy Wholesale Ltd.; Masterline UK; Swift Fishing; Weymouth Angling Centre
EFSA England would also like to thank the following for their assistance with the event and parade:
Bradsons Event Services; Crown Hotel; Dorset Council; Dorset Highways; Poole Dolphin Marching Band; Weymouth Pavilion; Weymouth Angling Society; Weymouth Harbour Master.
Kim Bowden & Barrie Senior