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Angling Trust Sea Angling Competitions - Wessex Region

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Beer & District Angling Association 50th Anniversary

 A look back at the Beer & District Sea Angling Association 50th Anniversary

Who says Beer and fishing don’t mix! Try telling that to the members of the Beer and District Sea Angling Association who this year celebrate 50 years of fishing from the quaint Devonshire cove.

The Club was formed in 1963 by local fishermen Fred Newton and Douglas Orley, and after a few difficult early years a headquarters was established at the Anchor Hotel on the seafront. The Club steadily increased its numbers and moved its HQ to the British Legion Room before taking up residence at its current Headquarters at the Beer Social Club. Membership has remained fairly constant at around 40 in number, and the club runs a regular program of both shore and boat fixtures, with boats being launched for each trip from the Beer shingle beach.

To make sure it is a year to remember the Beer Club have organised a number of milestone events to mark the occasion one of which started a year ago with a phone call from committee member Chris Sweetland to England selector and ex England Angler and Manager Ray Ashby to invite an Angling Trust Team England representative team of six to a challenge match against the might of the Beer Club boat anglers. A few phone calls later and the match was on.

The England Team consisted of Colin Searles and Cliff Newbold (World and Home Nation gold medalists), Ray Ashby (World silver medallist and Home Nations gold medallist), and Mike Patten, Ian Mclean, and Rob Shattock (Home Nations gold medalists) a formidable line up. The Beer line up was Chris and Rob Sweetland, Dave Graham, Les Bradbeer, Andy Osborne and Dave Hutchings, all seasoned Beer anglers with ‘home’ advantage.

And so on a fine August morning following introductions and a hearty breakfast in the Anchor Hotel, the two boat loads of six anglers slipped afloat to do battle over six hours of fishing to an agreed points (catch and release) format. Local boats for the day were ‘Sambe’ and ‘Barabara Jean’. Although conditions in shore were calm, once outside the shelter of the cove, the wind was blowing a fresh north westerly preventing the boats from going too far afield. However, the mackerel were there in numbers for bait plus enough to provide some invaluable ‘rubby dubby’.

Fishing during the first part of the day was steady with a string of gurnards, dogfish and scad coming aboard on ‘Barbara Jean’ and the same plus wrasse on ‘Sambe’. As the ‘Rubby Dubby’ got to work so , other species started to show with a number of huss and a good thornback on ‘Barbara Jean’ and conger on ‘Sambe’. As the tide eased and turned, so the pollack and bream also started to show in numbers with some good fish touching the 3 lb mark emphasising the potential of this venue as a good all round venue that provides genuine variety whilst only needing light gear. The Beer lads were well in the hunt against their more illustrious counterparts, up to the last hour of the match with Dave Graham on Barbara Jean, and Chris Sweetland on ‘Sambe’ only a few points off respective boat wins, and full credit to all of the Beer lads for a spirited challenge. However, the England boys had finally eased ahead to take the match when the final ‘lines up’ was called.

Back on shore a welcome ‘Beer’ awaited the teams at the Anchor Hotel, and Ray Ashby of Team England presented a glass trophy on behalf of the team and Angling Trust to celebrate the occasion . Commemorative medals were presented to all of the participating anglers and the two skippers, and as the sun went down over Beer cove, it was off to the Beer Social Club to raise a glass or two, and discuss the days antics and tales of Beer’s 50 years of fishing.

Report by Ray Ashby, Team England






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