EFSA - European Federation of Sea Anglers
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EFSA - European Federation Of Sea Anglers

EFSA European Boat & Line Class Championships, 19th- 23rd September 2011, Weymouth, England.

There were a total of 153 competitors from 16 Sections, some of whom had returned to Weymouth after competing in 2007 and previous years plus others who had yet to sample the delights of fishing in this venue. Weymouth is a popular venue not only for national & international angling but also for the pleasure anglers.

There were a total of 15 boats booked for the weeks fishing plus one spare that would double as the press boat, this proved invaluable in providing a viewing platform for guests and the all important photos of the angling..

With around 250 people taking part in the parade, headed by a trio of African drummers, it was quite some spectacle. The wind assisted in showing off the national flags and at least the rain was only in isolated showers. The traffic was halted by the local police as the parade started from the Jubilee clock tower and headed to the Pavilion where we were to be greeted by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Margaret Leicester. The wine, refreshments and nibbles went down well as people took their seats, EFSA England Chairman, Neil Bryant, introduced the dignitaries. EFSA Chairman / President, Horst Schneider, announced that the outgoing General Secretary, Hamish Holmes, had retired after many years service to EFSA, his successor, Marcus Wuest, will we trust prove to be a worthy replacement. The two lasting moments that will remain with many were the emotions displayed by Horst & Hamish whilst the specially commissioned oil painting was being presented, and Neil’s face when he was asked to wave the flag to mark the opening of the Championships.
Retirement of Hamish Holmes
Hamish receiving his Retirement oil painting From Horst

European Boat Championship.

With a 15mile limit from Town Bridge the Shambles, Adamant & Kidney Banks, Stennis Ledges and numerous Wrecks could all be explored.
  Arriving early at the quayside to sort the bait for each boat had its rewards,       the quayside was quiet and the sunrise quite superb although neither lasted long as the competitors started to arrive at 6.45am keen to get to sea or be 1st in the queue for the bacon rolls, coffee and tea. The tea and coffee went down especially well with those that had been in the Ammo freezer van. Bait sorted it was time to summon the boat captains and stewards to check the bait packs for their boats.

Day one
After a quick captain/steward briefing from Neil & Andy the boats started to load and head off to find shelter from the wind. Some headed for the shelter of Portland to seek the Wrasse, Pollack & Garfish others headed into the bay to search out the Dogfish, Pout, Gurnard, Scad, Bream, etc. Young Ryan Casey made an impressive start on “Al’s-Spirit” when he took a Bream/Gurnard double shot. On “Atlanta” Malcolm Ruff stated that he required a Bull Huss for his club yearly specimen hunt, sometimes our best laid plans do not always work, not that the Bull Huss were not playing as Patricia Shortt fished next to Malcolm and managed to catch 3 of them, 3-0 to Pat. Pat also managed to land a Conger without her butt pad that she decided she would not need!

Day two
Another windy day (worse than Monday) again saw the boats heading for the shelter of Portland; this is what makes this such an important venue for this kind of competition.

Christina Schulte caught a 4 ½ lb plaice only problem being she had hooked it in the tail! Pat Shortt had her 1st ever Black Bream, a fine specimen of around 1 ½ lb.

Day three
Less wind today so the boats headed further afield, this was quite good for the anglers who are more used to targeting larger fish, it also helped with the planned evening meal for Thursday night as several fine bream were returned to the quayside.

Day four
Much improved weather today so the boats headed off to marks much further afield than the 1st  two days, Helgi Bergson caught a notable 112cm Bull Huss on “Meridian Express” (around 14lb) whist Paul Robinson had a 10lb Bull Huss + 8lb Conger double shot. There were also reports of a Porbeagle Shark stealing a Gurnard and swimming alongside one of the boats, not that these are uncommon to this area of coast as they have been sighted a lot this year.

Ray Barron was the only angler to win his boat on all 4 days and regain his title of European Champion for the 3rd time, with Heiko Dreier & Colin Searles close behind. Ray and Heiko are now level on three European gold pins each, quite some feat when you look at the quality of the anglers in our Championships.

Of the numerous species available 17 species made it onto the score sheet, not including mini species, Cod, Dogfish, Conger, Garfish, Bull Huss, Cuckoo/Ballan Wrasse, Bream, Rays, Mackerel, Pouting , Gurnard , Pollack, Plaice, Bass, Scad & Smoothound. Unfortunately the much talked about Tuna did not make an appearance. One notable fish was a fabulous Plaice of 6lb 9ozs for the Russian angler Mikhail Dyshlyuk.

Line Class Championship.

The 8kg Ande line is quite superb so long as the rest of the tackle is well balanced and the drag set to allow the fish to take line. The points system encourages anglers to go for the bigger fish, Congers being the most valuable. A very sportsman like gesture on “Topcat” from Dave Francis and Frank Spruyt as they both cut their line to allow Robin Amor to land his Conger. On “Rocket” Simon Norman had a 81cm Blonde Ray, this was larger than the best Ray in the main event. A considerable number of Conger were caught with England’s Tony Hudson and lady angler Liv Ogland from Norway both landing specimens estimated by their skippers at 58lb. Liv caught her large eel aboard ‘Supernova’ and spent nearly half an hour after the finish time to land it. The Congers were all brought to the side of the boat and released after the skippers had issued an estimated weight. Simon Norman did well to get a 26lb Blonde Ray to the surface on the 16lb line, Ted Entwistle landed a 20lb Ling and Neil Bryant took a 14lb Pollack on Conger bait, Kim Bowden captured a Bass of 66cm, the only one caught during the whole 5 days.

Top rod on the day was Section England angler Gareth Croft, who became our new Line Class Champion with an impressive 1325cm of Conger plus 1 Tope, quite a clear lead over the Silver and Bronze pin winners, Scott Gibson & Joop Schik/Andre Machiels.

For a full set of the overall and day’s results:

We would like to extend a massive thank you to all our sponsors as without their support this event would not have happened; Fladen, ANDE, Ammo baits, Dragon baits, Snowbee UK ltd, Weymouth Angling centre, The Roman group, Sakuma, Sidewinder lures, Plastimo, Tronix, Grauvell, Redgill, Penn, Mercedes Benz and of course, The Venue, for their superb effort with the function rooms, early breakfast, 3 course meals, packed lunches and general hospitality. ANDE in particular have been supporting EFSA for many years and it is great testament to them that the line of choice of so many discerning anglers for record breaking attempts is always ANDE.

The Presentation & Gala Dinner.
The presentation went superbly and watching people’s faces as they saw themselves projected on the wall behind the stage was priceless, a bit like when you see the reaction of individuals when the camera catches them at sporting events or concerts and projects their face to the whole crowd. It just shows that it is worth the effort of taking photographs at these events.

With so many prizes and prize winners it was hard to keep up with it all, I am sure that everyone got the picture that they wanted as there was many a picture taken. Congratulations to all who fished well enough to make it to the rostrum.

The 3 course meal was exceptional and the idea of mixing the nationalities went well with most tables enjoying having some new faces joining them. The live band was a nice touch, not quite sure if they took time getting warmed up or the audience were slow getting up after all that food, either way they were very entertaining. Some of the organisers remained at the bar until 4am, a well deserved relaxation period as they have worked extremely hard to ensure that this event went as well as it did.

Now we look ahead to 2012, a very special year for EFSA, this being our 50th anniversary where we return to where it all started in 1962, Tananger Norway. This really should be the birthday party to celebrate all birthdays!

European Federation of Sea Anglers - EFSA - Resources