Saturday 21st July and the 64 anglers from 13 Sections made their way to the boats ready for the 0730 departure. The target species for this Championship was conger eel. There were 2 options, as this was a Line Class as well as Species Championship. Using your own line meant entry to Species championship only, while using the 35 pound Ande braid supplied meant the possibility of 2 pins at this event. The majority of anglers elected to fish with the supplied braid. Anglers were given cuttle fish and several packs of mackerel as bait. It is usual when conger fishing to start the day by feathering for mackerel and have enough to last the day but the last couple of years mackerel have been scarce all along the South Coast. The boats did stop to feather for fresh mackerel but most anglers only had enough for a few each, so the supplied froze bait was needed as well.
The 8 boats headed well offshore to their chosen wrecks, where they hoped to find a good number of eels, as well as some a big ones. The Species pins would be awarded to the best catch of eels over the 2 days, the Line Class pins would go to the3 heaviest eels over the 2 days. Fortunes among the boats were varied, with the anglers on some seeing up to 6 or 7 eels, while on other boats just a few eels, with many anglers not managing to boat even one eel.
Back at port, and over a pint, the talk was of how great a day some had while others had a job to understand where they went wrong. Such is conger fishing! Sometimes you are close to the wreck but just not at the section were the eels are feeding or, as with many wrecks, they do not hold large number of eels.
When the scores were in it, was Pete Bailey with the best score on day 1 of 75 points. Many anglers were close behind with two on 65 points and two on 55 points. At the other end of the results table, ten failed to catch and another ten had one small eel for 5 points.
Day 2 and we all set off again with hopes of a better day. It was all still to play for with the chance of getting a big eel to win a line pin. The format was the same as previous day; so around Portland Bill to try for a few fresh mackerel then head out to anchor a wreck. Listening to the chat on the radio, it was evident that as on the previous day in was feast or famine, depending on the boat.It did not follow that boats that did well Saturday had a good day Sunday.
The presentation and gala dinner were held at The Crown Hotel on the Sunday evening.
Cliff Newbold had a great second day scoring 105 points, which was almost double the next mans score. This added to day 1 score of 35 gave him a winning score of 140 points to win the Species gold pin. Silver pin went to Ash Currier with 110 points and Pete Bailey took the bronze pin with 100 points.
The Line class pins were awarded to the heaviest eel s over the 2 days. Cliff Newbold- added to his Species gold pin, taking the Line Class gold pin with the heaviest eel of the Championship,which was a conger of 64 pound, caught using the 35 pound Ande braid supplied for the event. Cliff also had one of 53 pound, but each angler was only allowed to enter his best conger. Pete Neale took the silver pin with 51pound eel, and Ash Currier won the bronze pin with a 49.5 pound conger. Just out of the pins was Andy Selby with a 49 pound fish
There were a total of 366 Conger eels caught and released over the two days.