Olafsvik Iceland 2014 Species Championships (Cod)
With 15 out of the 18 English competitors, 2 partners and our adopted German (Marcus) travelling together the near 12 hour journey flew past, especially the last ½ hour of the coach journey when the tarmac road run out and we drove at around 40mph down a single track road made up of crushed volcano (I think Krisjan Einar was driving the coach for this part)
The scenery from Reykjavik to Olafsvik is quite superb with snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and a near lunar landscape, sometimes the view was masked by the low level clouds. There were plenty of photo opportunities throughout including the picturesque harbour.
With only one day for the English section to practice there would be a steep learning curve. Various pirks, shads, twin tails in a variety of colours were lowered into the depths, the cod and coalfish were quick to oblige with Jeff Morris landing several double shots including two at a time that would have earned him 40 points in the following 2 days, Dave Clark and his tackle were tested to the limit by two 30lb plus coalfish at the same time. Pete Bailey landed a superb 48lb specimen cod and several large fish were lost whilst trying to haul them in through up to 125m of water.
The top colour seemed to be pink with the red gill vibro shad’s top lure closely followed by anything orange and black, most pirks also managed to capture the odd cod or coalfish. The cod were so hungry that the skippers had to use gauntlet covered hands to retrieve the lures from the cod’s stomach.
The day started with a rainbow that spanned across Olafsvik by the end of it I think we had seen at least 3 out of the four seasons!
The fishing again proved to be outstanding with lots of large cod and coalfish for all boats plus a few ling, the odd tusk (brosme) and at least one angler fish came to the gaff.
Top English rod was Ken Smith in 4th, and then Alan Bird in 6th, Andy Smith 7th, Martin Bobbett 8th, Rod Adamson 13th and Paul Hart 15th EFSA England had 6 out of the 15 boat winners. The key for success was the larger fish; top scorer Ken’s 16 fish earned him 169 points whilst my own 45 fish scored 156 points, a big difference.
A big thanks to Pete Baily for the tip on adding a large leadhead/shad to the bottom of a bar pirk, this not only adds weight to the outfit but caught my best ever cod, unfortunately this was not weighed but estimated at between 17/18kg.
There was a little doubt whether we would load the boats at 6.30 as the wind had increased and changed direction, we did however commence roughly on time however the wind seemed to grow in strength as the boats drifted further offshore which in turn increased the speed of the drift just as the water depth increased, this made maintaining a suitable angle on the line progressively harder. Reeling in large fish from these depths took progressively longer as more line was played out. Unfortunately my 100lb hook length was outgunned by the large cod, a discussion with the local rod and professional angler, Helgi, confirmed that most of the long lines are made from 160kg mono with large gummimacs, even this equipment sometimes gets ripped apart by the large cod and coalfish so be warned if you decide to venture to this area to try your hand at the large fish that inhabit these shores, go equipped with some very heavy mono!
We had 3 double boat winners, Alan Bird added a further 223 points to his 1st days tally, Rod Adamson 263 to his 97 and Paul Hart added 96 to his 85, this put Alan in 1st position with Rod Taking 2nd and Paul in 6th.
The prediction that several anglers would achieve personal bests came true as many 15kg plus cod were caught with a few 13/14kg coalfish thrown in for good measure.
We fished 2 days in stiff breezy conditions and choppy seas, the following 3 days the wind eased and sea state flattened out which would have been a lot more enjoyable.
82 Anglers took part in the 2014 Species Championship (cod), 18 from England with representation from 12 Sections.
Total cod caught 1686, which equated to about 15 Tonne of cod.
5 out of the top 9 biggest cod were caught by England competitors.
Winner of Longest cod was Kim Bowden with one of 128cm that weighted 19.93kg
Though should be mentioned that Nigel Hearn had one of 122cm that weighted 21.43kg
There were 6 double boat winners on 200%
Gold pin Alan Bird England 200% 387 points
Silver pin Rod Adamson England 200% 360 points
Bronze pin Roy Shipway Ireland 200% 287 points
Rest of England
6th Paul Hart 200% 181 points
13th Ken Smith 170.59% 265 points
14th Kim Bowden 168.41% 321 points
18th Geoff Morris 164.46% 193 points
21st Neil Cottington 159.19% 210 points
24th Andy Smith 155.42% 204 points
25th Martin Bobbett 153.36% 299 points
26th Matt Osborne 151.88% 195 points
27th Pete Bailey 151.44% 233 points
28th Colin Searles 150.63% 163 points
29th Nigel Hearn 150.22% 317 points
33rd Barrie Senior 132.72% 360 points
40th Billy Cann 114.70% 161 points
45th Vernon Allen 108.48% 108 points
50th Richard Russell 99.58% 97 points
59th Dave Clark 74.82% 142 points
Gold medals to Ireland A
Silver medals to England A consisting of Paul Hart (captain), Kim Bowden,
Ken Smith, Colin Searles, Barrie Senior.
Bronze medals to England B consisting of Nigel Hearn, Neil Cottington,
Rod Adamson, Matt Osborne, Pete Bailey.
Report by Martin Bobbett
Report from the non-fishing companions
Whilst the men were fishing, what did their partners do? Well, there wasn’t really that much to do in the very quiet village of Olafsvik except explore. So after looking in the local shop, garage and information centre, and walking up to the beautiful waterfall, which was the backdrop for Olafsvik, around the harbour and onto the very windy beach we were just about done for our first morning. Luckily we had remembered our books, playing cards and of course some wine.
The locals had laid on a complimentary coach trip for day 2, which took us around the Snaefellsnes peninsular. What spectacular scenery and landscape we saw, however scary it was travelling down the tiny unmade roads to see it. We had a wonderful day, complimented by the Icelandic local – Old Helgi who became our tour guide for the day. He had much knowledge of the area and knew exactly where to take us and how to make us laugh. A couple of us then hired a car to complete our own exploring which the coach couldn’t manage, which was even scarier.
To sum up; the country was amazing to see, however this area is very remote, very wet (we were told that it rains there every day), and windy. We had some of the most delicious food ever, especially the soups, which seem to be a speciality. Everybody we met was very friendly, chatty and helpful.
Results EFSA European Species Championships Olafsvik