Swedish Cod Festival
19th to 21st January 2007
This year’s Festival was quite a way down in numbers with a lot of anglers staying away because of the predicted weather conditions – and they were right.
The trip did not start well when we were delayed at Gatwick for 5 hours as the walkway ramp broke down and could not be removed from the plane. Whilst waiting we noticed more and more domestic flights being cancelled because of the severe weather conditions. When we did eventually take off, the first 20minutes were like being in a tumble drier with the engines sounding like a Flymo (a high pitch screaming whine). Anyone seen the film Castaway? When the plane goes down the engines sounded like that. It was the first time flying I actually had sweaty palms and pants!
When we arrived we were met by Eric and the Swedish contingent and went straight to Café Ro to sign on and have a well-deserved beer or two after that horrendous flight.
As normal, we stayed in the palatial Marina Plaza and were warmly greeted by the staff (definitely the place to stay – good rates, great rooms, and really helpful staff.
The next morning we awoke to the storm that we left behind in the U. For those that know the area, the waves were breaking over the harbour wall and the straits were wild white water. The forecast was for the winds to drop from a Northerly 9 to force 5, so the start was put back 2 hours.
When we did eventually get out the conditions were still bad with waves breaking over the boats (and they are big boats). The drift was about 6 knots and chocolate coloured water – it was not pirking conditions (or any other type of fishing). The fist day saw 330 of the 379 anglers blanking with the majority of the fish coming in the last ¾ hour at slack water to the stern or bow of the boat. Neil Cottington did well to catch a 2 kilo fish and get himself on the leader board.
The next two days were much the same although the wind did drop to around a force 5 but the drift was too fast and water too dirty. At the end of the comp Neil had one fish and won a trophy for the top English Angler – his first trophy ever in 32 years of competitive fishing. Well done Neil. I blanked over the 3 days along with many others.
The fish were there. Three Belgians we know had been out on the Thursday and had 40 cod between them and on the last day one of the Irish team had an estimated (by the skipper) 35 kilo cod to the surface twice in a battle that lasted nearly an hour before his trace broke (bit through). This cod had taken 20 inches of trace line down above his lure. This fish was over 5ft long and the biggest the crew had ever seen – and they work commercially as well.
Although I did not catch I did enjoy the event and will be back next year. For those that are interested, the dates are January 18,19 and 20th .