3rd to 5th September 2010. Marina Albufeira, Portugal.
Well what can be said about Portugal? 30+ degrees, blue skies, sunshine with a few fish thrown in, certainly made a change from grey skies, rain and wind!
As I was the 1st of the 25 English anglers to arrive, I was tasked with sussing out the local Materials de pesca (tackle shop to most of us) how to buy a licence, is it cold at night, what tackle will be required, how much lead to bring, do we need waterproofs, etc, etc. EFSA must owe me a fortune for texts (only kidding).
So there I was, 1st day of our family holiday walking for 40 minutes in the blazing sun, to check out the local tackle dealer, only to find out that he had gone on holiday and closed the shop! Can’t understand why people take holidays. By the time I arrived back at the hotel it was lunch time, bet you can guess what was on the menu?
Thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce my son to boat fishing (might bring him and his sister to future events just to annoy Ray). What a fantastic entrance to the marina, any one with young kids would have thought Balamory! I’m sure my six year old daughter chose the colour scheme; it’s certainly a talking point amongst the locals. Whilst on the boat I gained a fair bit of information on how to catch bream, this was all relayed back to England.
The tackle shop eventually opened bank holiday Monday. A quick trip there turned into two hours discussing tactics, terminal tackle, line diameters, etc, all through a helpful translator who only popped in to buy a new rod for the beach! The owner was very helpful, he sold me the most expensive lines, hooks, beads … all used by Portugal and purchased by the Italians, I’m sure he has now booked another holiday just on the proceeds made on his entire stock of Gamakatsu hooks, purchased by one intrepid English angler.
The other English competitors, family & partners arrived in droves, I’m sure we could have fielded an A, B, C, D and possibly an E team. The 1st practice day was arranged for the Thursday prior to the competition, that 6 am morning call was quite a shock to the system after all that food, drink & late nights! Eleven bleary eyed anglers assembled at the quay side, most of whom had their passports with them, as advised by myself the day before (guess who forgot their own?). The bait was shared out and off we went to catch some bream. Chairman Neil was in top form, singing and reciting poetry throughout the day (what would we do without him) We also played musical chairs, every time Neil stopped singing we all moved round 4 places, this is quite a task and I’m sure great practice for the world team members on board, by the 3rd time we almost had it sussed (almost) Good luck in Montenegro lads.
We did catch bream amongst the pink thing, red things with spikes, bogeys, garfish, silver things & horse mackerel, most of which are apparently no good in the competition but very good for the skipper’s BBQ. The information gained from the day was relayed to the next 12 hopeful holiday makers who would have their practice the next day.
Throughout the day various flashes of silver could be seen under & behind the boat, Gary Galbraith exclaimed “what the f….lip was that” as a large shape turned under the boat. Only minutes later there was a shout of Shhhaaark!! As a large fin could be seen around 30-40yards behind the boat, turned out to be a Hammerhead picking up the various tit bits thrown overboard.
1st Match day
The alarm call was 5am for most competitors, I’m sure this was supposed to be a Holiday! The anglers arrived in mini buses, coaches, taxis, etc. Whilst we queued up for our breakfast the boat stewards introduced themselves & explained where to meet. Most people put their high visibility vests on; this enabled the stewards to find the anglers who would compete on their boat.
For those of you who did not compete, the Portuguese had adopted a two boats in one system, for all the boats that were large enough to take 10 anglers you only competed against the anglers on your side, the 5 man boats fished as normal. Not sure if this system is good, bad or ugly. The fishing was pretty much the same as the practice days, with many species being caught, those Dorado are like Mackerel on red bull!
The Portuguese stormed into an early lead, in all categories, they secured 7 out of the top ten positions with Victor Ferreira of Portugal B taking the top spot.
Top Englishman was Neil Bryant in 14th, followed by Martin Bobbett in 19th, Mike Smith & Paul Hart came in 23rd & 24th. Eleven English anglers finished in the top 50.
2nd Match Day
Another 5am alarm call! Same brief as Saturday, England fared slightly better than day one, with twelve anglers inside the top 50.
This time Jose Fabian of Portugal A took top spot, top Englishman was Martin Bobbett in 9th place, closely followed by his two man team partner Ash Currier in 10th, Gary Galbraith came in at 17th.
The Portuguese somehow managed to take top honours in the individual, 2 man, 3 man, 4 man, life member (strange how there A team had the same names as the top 4 man team) they could not secure the senior prize though, this went to our very own Jim Whippy.
Not sure if being a charter skipper and fishing on your own boat had anything to do with the result but, the top 3 places went to owner/anglers. Not to take anything away from the Portuguese as they managed to get 400% in both their A & B teams. Let’s see if they can repeat this in Weymouth next year.
As stated previously Portugal A came in 1st, Portugal B 2nd with England B taking the bronze medal, a big well done to Ash, Paul, Cliff, Kim & Martin.
English Section Positions
12th Martin Bobbett 200%
18th Paul Hart 179.79%
20th Neil Bryant 167.15%
24th Gary Galbraith 161.56%
30th Cliff Newbold 151.80%
31st Ash Currier 150.56%
32nd Ray Evans 150.21%
37th Rob Quinn 141.40%
41nd Mike Smith 134.43%
43rd Kim Bowden 129.73%
51st Peter Bailey 120.31%
54th Jim Pressley 114.79%
57th Jim Whippy 108.58%
58th Jerry Knight 108.56%
60th Dave Clark 105.18%
61st Richard Russell 103.90%
62nd Barry Senior 100.54%
64th Andrew Smith 97.98%
67th Ray Barron 93.80%
68th Arthur White 92.18%
69th Nigel Hearn 91.45%
73rd Matt Osborne 83.73%
83rd Helen Verral 65.50%
88th David Styles 60.43%
90th Billy Cann 55.79%
This report would not be complete without a mention of the prize giving entertainment, the Brazilian dancers could not match up to the entertainment provided by Ray, Nigel, Matt and especially Pete Bailey, apologies if I missed anyone from this list but I had tears of laughter in my eyes at the time, please keep an eye out for the photo’s that I’m sure will surface on the new EFSA England web site.