Just back from a hard week’s fishing in Ireland. The Irish Winter Beach Championships, fished in the Wexford region, was a grueller with easterly winds, clear water and extremely low temperatures keeping the fish away from the beaches at Morriscastle and Cloynes. The event winner was Dave Roe of Dublin who was a recent National champion and he scored three section wins to take the title by a clear margin. A shame for me, because I was on a hat trick having won the event for the last two years. Perhaps my luck ran out because I was drawn in middle zone B on all three days, which takes some doing. I did though end up seventh. Second place overall went to my team mate Chris Clark of Lymington who won the first two days, but suffered a wrong end of zone draw on the last day. In third spot was Joe Byrne of Courtown angling and he and Dave Roe obviously won the pairs and the team of four. The fishing in general was for flounders and they proved both small and elusive with plenty of undersized fish to frustrate competitors.
Back home, the easterly winds are having the same effect on the Kent coast with small fish, although the irony is there are lots of them which is a pain in a size limit match. A return to south west wind is badly needed to at least get the dogfish back inshore. On the plus side, the daylight is extending and the first thornback ray came off the Goodwin Sands to boat angler Mark Weller, who is a detective inspector with Folkestone police. It weighed in at 8lb and was nabbed aboard Dover charter boat, Reecer. Look out for the first rays from the shore in the coming weeks, the Kent shore hotspots are Sandwich Bay and the Eastchurch Gap on the Isle of Sheppey.
Match and Tackle News
The winter match season drags to its conclusion this month with most of the clubs looking forward to their spring events with a change of venues, tactics and species. Instead of the long range clip downs its flapper rigs cast in the gutter with mud ragworm, crab etc taking over from black lugworm and squid. Some clubs have adopted measure and return and that’s the case with the Gravesend Charity Spring open which is being fished in the Thames along the Gravesend foreshore on Sunday the 17th of April. Fishing is from 10.30am until 2.30pm and the draw for places is at 8.30am. Weigh in at the Ship and Lobster, Denton Wharf. Entry Fee is £10. More details from Graham East 01474 355440.
Other events coining up that are worth a look include the new Milton Open on the 5th March being fished at Avon beach through to Highcliffe Fishing is 7pm till 12.00am and the event carries a top prize of £250. Book in Sunken car park, Avon beach, Island View Road, Christchurch. Information from Los 07759829226 or Darren 07729800597.
I have just got my hands on a full set of the new TF Gear Force 8 Multiplier Reels – The 65CTMs are a work of art, open frame, full magnetic brakes which are really impressed with, a ratchet and a star drag that doesn’t jam up when you need it ion a hurry – cant wait to test them on the smoothhounds in a few months time!
I am fussy about the hooks I use and lots of the brands available are not as sharp as others – There is a great test for a chemically sharpened point and that to run in slowly over your thumbnail, the sharpest patterns will actually stick in your nail, the “blunties” will run over it – Try it and feel the difference.
Around the Scene
Where did you finish in the Penn League Rankings? Next months Sea Angler magazine contains the UK and Ireland rankings for match anglers, it’s a real eye opener to where all the competition fishing action is and reveals that some areas of the UK and Ireland are match fishing mad. So who are the top match fishing anglers in the National league? Well the leaders for the 2010 title include ex-World champion Joe Arch from Cardiff and new boy on the block, Daz Newland from the Isle of Wight.
Finally, I just had to laugh about the flak that messrs Gray and Keys received from their fellow journalists over the off side rule controversy. I cannot seriously accept that what they said was that bad, was it really a hanging offence? Maybe because I am of a generation, the one that thinks it invented such banter and an angler who can give it out as well as take it, I think the world has gone PC mad. I also think that football referees don’t understand the offside law either, and that Gray and Keys, like most men (and according to most women), keep their brains in their shorts!