This year the Annual EFSA European Shore championships was hosted by EFSA Holland using beaches in the Zeeland area.
The Dutch organisers set out to provide anglers with a package that would be low budget but retain good quality accommodation and well-organized matches with excellent bait and on beaches that could provide a good opportunity of catching reasonable numbers of fish.
In all 11 anglers from the English Section set off on a very blustery weekend with cancelled ferry’s and torrential rain along with 75 other anglers travelling into Holland. These included EFSA members from Italy, Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Iceland and of course Holland.
On arrival accommodation consisted of very comfortable holiday chalet style houses that could accommodate up to 6 people in each. The organizing committee ensured that each was stocked with a welcome pack of essential and some not so essential but nice groceries! This included a pack of Amstel beer per competitor so this was a very nice surprise!
Competitors were welcomed officially the next evening in the campsites bar restaurant which was ideal for the purpose. Free beer and bites were on offer whilst the organizing committee welcomed us all to the competition and explained how the competition would be run. We did the necessary paperwork with zone selections and being a seasoned veteran of these competitions I believe that this time seemed to go that bit easier than normal. Perhaps it’s the Dutch more relaxed approach to bureaucracy – whatever it was we all enjoyed ourselves for the evening and looked forward to the competition starting the next day.
The competition was fished over five zones which is the normal format for the European Shore Championship, with a Dutch angler acting as a steward to ensure that pegs were drawn fairly prior to anglers moving onto the beach. The bait was issued and consisted of lugworm, rag worm, maddies and fresh razor fish. Again the quality of the bait was first class and offered an angler a range of options to tempt that fish!!
The first day proved to be a hard work for many anglers with fish hard to find on some pegs. The catch mainly consisting of whiting, flounders and dabs. The Italians flew out of the blocks and with their long continental style rods with low diameter lines enabling them to fish at extreme range. The Irish team members were also doing well and these teams led the field for the remainder of the competition. Our own section teams got off to a poor start and struggled to find the form to catch up.
On the second day we were fishing a new beach with new hopes for all. Again the fishing appeared to be patchy with some pegs delivering good catches with Dutch and Italian anglers appearing to do well. It was the Irish team anglers that seemed to be quietly progressing in building the points. For most of our section anglers the second day proved as difficult to find fish as the first with the additional wind and weed in some sections making life difficult. There were bass to be added to the species tally due to the rougher conditions bringing them into feed.
The heads of anglers might have gone down and the misery’s descended but the normal banter of our Celtic and Anglo friends and the good food and hospitality at the “on site restaurant and bar” ensured that never happened. Weary, battered but not defeated our section anglers rallied for the 3rd day.
The 3rd day the organising committee faced a dilemma that they needed to reuse the venue on day 1 due to the poor weather conditions, which had created a safety issue. So last minute changes and re-pegging with a shift up the beach to create new safe zones, adjustments to timings and we were fishing. This was by far the best nights fishing and things went much better for our section members. Everyone seemed to find some fish and a number of individuals managed good zone positions. Sadly it was to prove too little too late from a competitive point of view but was excellent for anglers who could enjoy catching a variety of fish in good conditions.
The last day was spent cleaning up and packing vehicles with any last minute shopping or just plain rest and recuperation for some of our older members (so that’s most of them!). We then donned our uniforms and made our way to the prize giving dinner and presentation.
Well considering how low the price was to enter this competition, the high quality of the accommodation, the excellent bait we probably thought this would be where the cuts would show. However this was not the case. Again members were issued with tokens for free beers and were treated to a fine meal.
The presentation ceremony was conducted with medals and some prizes awarded to anglers by local dignitaries and chairman of EFSA Holland.
The individual winners were:
Gold Pin winner Arjan Rijnberg (Netherlands)
Silver Pin Winner R. Miserendino (Italy)
Bronze Pin Winner Volker Claus (Nederlands)
Gold Medal Ireland A
Silver Medal Italy A
Bronze Medal Netherlands A
4 Man Open Team:
Gold Medal Paull Curtice; Dave Lovelock; Steve Lewis; Tommaso Reni
Silver Medal Brian Booker; Paul Hart; Bjorn Hansen; Alexander Dorow
Bronze Medal Frank Koop; Arjan Rijnberg; William Clark; Shay O’Neill
Gold Medal Dave Lovelock
Silver Medal Reg Clough
Bronze Medal Shay O’Neill
Gold Medal Daniel Tucker
Quite a few of our members made it into the prizes and enjoyed being gonged. It was a great occasion and the Irish team who we have seen come so close in the past (always the brides maid!) had fished an excellent competition and got their just reward. Much partying went on with our Dutch hosts way past the small hours.
On a personal note I have been to most of the European Shore Championships since 1992 and this competition was one of the best run if not the best ever. I think year on year sections have learnt lessons from other sections running the competition and shared them to good effect. What is particularly remarkable around this competition was the Dutch Organisers kept the cost to a minimum but still delivered a fantastic competition. Thanks to Miranda, Clarinda and their Frank’s for organising the competition and making us so welcome in their country.