EFSA European Shore Angling Championships 2012 – Akureyri Iceland
On the 23rd September 2012 9 English Anglers and 1 English supporter boarded a plane to Iceland. Departing from London Heathrow bound for Reykjavik, Iceland. The baggage all booked in and £46 handed over for the “Sports Baggage” ensuring that each angler could transport rod tubes and boxes!! The flight and subsequent teeny-weeny airways connecting flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri went without any real dramas. We were advised to look out for a big orange truck when we arrived at Akureyri airport and we wondered what exactly this would mean! Well here it is: Click to view
The HQ hotel was located a few miles outside of Akureyri at Svalbarosstrond. It was a complex of blocks providing over 50 rooms with the meals and bar in the main building. It was basic but warm and dry with friendly hosts. Meal choice was limited to a fixed buffet style menu but was adequate for most tastes with breakfast being the most popular meal as most people seemed to refuel and ensure a snack made up for later in the day!!
The first day for us was Monday and Helgi along with his fellow EFSA Iceland hosts were kind enough to arrange bait and a lift to a fishing mark a few miles away for our anglers to sample the fishing in Iceland. We spent 4 hours pulling in good-sized dabs and codling with an odd larger fish. The fishing for some was amazing and in a few hours some 20 – 30 good-sized fish landed. Most of us seemed to be using a variation of a 2-hook paternoster with size 2/0 hooks on heavy mono snoods of 40 – 50LB, which did not deter the fish! Having tried out and got used to lashing on frozen “blueys” for bait it was soon time to return to the hotel and clean up for the evening registration and drawing of zones.
The organizing committee welcomed all the anglers to the registration night on Monday 24th where the Chairman Skarphedinn Asbjornsson, thanked all along with Phil Lustig (EFSA Shore Festival Officer) for making the long journey to Iceland. The Mayor of Akureyri gave an interesting history and insight to the background of the town. The welcome speeches delivered it was time to get on with the draw. As usual this process seemed to go on forever but we came out at the other end with our goody bags and match cards in hand.
Tuesday Day 1 anglers boarded a bus for Akureyri. The bus was loaded in reasonable order mainly thanks to Mathew Lustig (EFSA Wales) who made sure that tackle was loaded in zone order!! Anglers were dropped off on the outskirts of the town on a long section of beach alongside the road entering the town. The organizing committee had already got the pegs and fish boxes complete with large bag of frozen “blueys” in place. The match started at 3pm with a finish in darkness at 8pm. Having sampled what the fishing could be like all of the English anglers were relishing the challenge. Big bags of cod and flatfish were expected and talk of filling the fish boxes was the norm amongst the huddles of anglers awaiting the start of the match! Well of course things never quite go the way you think and when we all got back to the bus at the end of the match and compared notes catches were well down on the expectation. It became clear that some pegs produced very good bags where others really struggled. Zones A and B had the best of the fishing which got progressively worse towards zone E. Charlie Neale of Gibraltar took the lead after the first day with his 32 fish haul in Zone A. Best English result was Dave Clark who was the winner of Zone B. New EFSA England member David Evans had a great start with 3rd in Zone B. As a team we were lying at a disappointing 9th place, which was a disastrous start and was an enormous mountain to climb!
The next day was a rest day so what does most of the English party do – go fishing of course. Bitterly cold Northerly wind blowing up the Fjord did not make for comfortable fishing but an afternoon spent on the dock side in Akureyri was very productive with Paull Curtice, Reg Clough, Dave Lovelock all catching consistently throughout with Cod, Dabs and Coalfish making up the bags. Dabs were an average 1.5 LBs with Cod and Coalfish landed to 10 LB. Joined by Scottish and Welsh anglers we enjoyed some fantastic fishing which helped get over the poor results of the day before!!!
Thursday and match day 2 was some distance up the Fjord. The venue was a pebble beach backed by a protective dyke of rocks. We were advised by our hosts that a bank of tackle grabbing kelp lay in wait a short distance out so some anglers decided to fish up high on the rocks. Fishing the last of the ebb and then up towards the top of the tide produced a lot of fish in the first hour and then again towards the end of the match with quiet period mid match. At the end it was clear that English Anglers had done better with Reg Clough winning his zone, Paull Curtice and Dave Lovelock managing 4th in each of their zones. Back at the HQ Hotel that evening talk was of large fish lost in the kelp and again the peggy nature of the beach with some spots producing 20 plus fish with pegs either side with a handful of fish. Quality Coalfish, Cod and Dabs again made up the bags with some Wolf Fish and Starry Rays making the occasional appearance.
Friday and match day 3 was to be fished around the dock area of Akureyri. As many anglers had fished in the area of the docks set aside for practice with good results this was likely to be a good day. The only problem being the weather, which had definitely taken a turn for the worse. Strong Northerly wind with some rain made conditions uncomfortable for anglers in exposed areas. The match got under way and again quality fish were being landed within minutes of the start. Cod and dabs again made up the bags with coalfish, scorpion fish, rays, wolf fish, whiting and haddock all being caught across all zones. At the end the best English result was Reg Clough with a second in Zone D with Barrie Senior managing 4th in zone E.
Saturday presentation day. The English contingent had packed up the fishing gear early leaving the day for some sight seeing. Back came the “Big Orange Truck” courtesy of Extreme Iceland and our party got aboard bound for the Icelandic countryside. The country despite being volcanic has plenty of floras and fauna with snow capped hills and the much beautiful water falls cutting through the hills. We were taken to the largest waterfall in the area “Godafoss” Waterfall of the Gods.
This trip was followed by a shopping trip in Akureyri, which was an expensive experience to buy mementos and gifts for those unfortunate non-anglers back home!!
In the evening the big event. The presentation and prize giving ceremony was held in HQ Hotel with our hosts providing a generous prize table and a delicious buffet style meal washed down with beer.
The competition attracted 66 competitors with 9 International teams, and Executive team completion with 33 two man teams, 17 four man teams, 22 three man teams making sure that the Iceland organizing committee had plenty of paperwork and headaches to resolve!
The competition results:
Gold Pin winner – Derek Gregory (Wales)
Silver Pin winner – Paul Tyndall (Eire)
Bronze Pin winner – Charlie Dario Neale (Gibraltar)
Gold – Gibraltar
Silver – Wales A
Bronze – Ireland B
2 man winners – Charles Carreras (Gibraltar)
– Phil Lustig (Wales)
3 man winners – John Kane (Eire)
– Hans Juergen Glaesar (Germany)
– Jerry Knight (England)
4 man winners – Charles Lara (Gibraltar)
– Phil Lustig (Wales)
– Scott Brunton (Wales)
– John Kane (Eire)
1st – Scott Brunton (Wales)
2nd – Daniel Tucker (Wales)
1st – Derek Gregory (Wales)
2nd – Reg Clough (England)
1st – Sigurlaug Hanna Leifsdottir (Iceland)
2nd – Tina Lustig (Wales)
Our best performance was 12th place overall for Reg Clough. New member David Evans also had a great competition coming in at 19th place.
So came the end of the week in Iceland. A great experience with excellent hosts who tried their utmost to ensure that everyone was looked after. There were glitches with computers, weather forecasts and beaches not living up to expectations but all in all the competition was well run and an enjoyable experience for all who attended. It was unfortunate that Icelandic Airways did not fly our fishing gear back with us and worse didn’t bother telling us so we had to find out when we got back to Heathrow along with competitors from Ireland, Wales, Gibraltar who were left filling in lost luggage forms!! That aside we would not have wanted to miss out on the fishing in Iceland experience.