Angling Trust National Boat Competition
Minehead hosted this year’s annual Angling Trust Boat Angling competition on Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th October 2012, maintaining its well earned reputation as a strong alternative venue to the South coast options and one reflected in positive comments by all the attending anglers.
Minehead is sheltered from most winds, the fishing is only problematic with a strong North Westerly. The advance forecast for the weekend caused the organisers a considerable degree of concern and, with some anglers driving hundreds of miles to compete, it was disconcerting to find the weather prediction on Friday evening was for 18-20mph winds from the dreaded direction. However, Saturday morning greeted the competitors with torrential rain and strong winds, and the competitors had to endure several hail storms and almost continuous rain throughout the day.
The plethora of dogfish that sometimes occupy the channel were noticeably absent. This allowed other species to be targeted when in certain areas. This also added value to using varying rigs according to species sought at the particular time of tide and location. The scoring system provided for one hundred points for the first five fish of any species and only two points per fish after that, thus directing anglers to cover as many species as possible.
The predictable aspect of fishing in the Bristol Channel at this time of year is that you simply never know what will turn up. For some, the first five casts provided different species on each drop. On an initial mark where the targets were dogfish, pout and poor cod, catching gurnard, tope, smoothhound, bass and huss demonstrated the variety available. This also demands thoughtful angling and tactics to deal with the options.
Day One - boat winners were Ray Barron, Steve Batchelor, Kev Preston and Rob Shattock who all achieved 100% scores
Day two - provided glorious autumn sunshine and no wind. The lessons of the previous day were applied by the anglers and there was a general uplift in the fishing as demonstrated by the returned score sheets. Again, after the usual stint in Porlock Bay the boats dispersed to various points west in search of fish. However, it was clear from the previous days fishing that there was no need for the boats to travel too far as the fishing to the west towards Foreland Point was not prolific.
The angling was of a consistently high standard with everyone keeping an eye open to ensure that when a fellow competitor caught well, the bait and rig was noted and the latter copied if possible from the vast array carried by almost all within their tackle boxes.
Day two- boat winners were Rod Adamson, Kevin Sampson, Steve Batchelor and Kev Preston who again all achieved 100% scores.
Over the two days, sadly, there was not a single ray or cod caught and the only triggers encountered (and hooked) managed to escape before the net. However, despite the excess of freshwater in the channel, in all some 20 species were recorded by the anglers.
The presentation took place at the Ship Aground on the Sunday evening with all proceeds from the raffle to be donated to the local RNLI station which is located next door to the venue with £600 being raised from the event. This is clear testament to the respect by anglers for this organisation and one upon whom anglers ultimately depend when they get into difficulties.
One of the key traditions for the National Boat competition over the years has been the recognition for the angler who finishes last, ‘The Iron Man’. Some anglers come to try and win, others attend just because they want to fish and enjoy the event and all that goes with it. This year the prize went to Dave Pope. Dave is a veteran supporter of the Severn Division and has been a regular at the event for several years. Every angler received a prize from the event.
The pairs event was won by Kevin Preston and Jonathan Law with Dave Mann and Cliff Newbold in second place the winning margin was less than 1%.
The winning drawn four man team was Kevin Preston / Johnathan Law / Dave Mann / Gareth Croft
The most species was won by Kevin Preston (13).
Top skipper was Steve Webber on Osprey.
However, at the top of the table were the three anglers who had performed best over the two days. In third place was England International Rob Shattock.
Only two anglers had won their boat on each day thus recording 200%. The rules then indicate that if this happens the title of champion will be decided by identifying the angler who had caught the most fish over the two days. Count back showed that Steve Batchelor had caught 79 fish but way ahead was Wales International Kevin Preston on 113. Congratulations to Kevin Preston on his great achievement, a very worthy winner.
Full list of results below.
A big thank you and appreciation to Craig from the local tackle shop, West Coast and Watchet, who advised all of the anglers who had ordered fresh crab from him that they were not the best batch he had ever received, and therefore he did not hold the anglers to their orders and offered them the option of not collecting them.
The Angling Trust and organisers would like to offer their appreciation to Snowbee who once again supported this event and donated some excellent prizes from their superb range. A huge thanks also to George Cunningham at Tronix and ‘Stainless Steve’ for their quality items and generous support. This year also saw some local businesses very kindly support the event by donating prizes for the raffle the Quay Inn, the National Trust, and the Promenade Hotel.
Lastly, and by no means least, a big thank you to the skippers Mike Dyer (Atlantic Blue), Steve Pilbrow (Fulmar), Albert Hartigen (Orca) and lead skipper Steve Webber.
|Rob Shattock, Kevin Preston and Steve Batchelor presentations|
|Top Skipper Steve Webber, Osprey|