EUROPEAN SHORE CHAMPIONSHIPS PWLLHELI, WALES NOVEMBER 2014
This time, unlike 2010, it was the Dutch and not the Welsh anglers that swept virtually everything before them in European Federation of Sea Anglers 2014 European Shore Championships, organised by the Welsh Section, winning Individual Gold and Bronze as well as Team Silver and Bronze. Only German angler Volker Claus, winning the individual Silver and the Irish who won the International team competition, prevented the Netherlands from cleaning up completely. The event was a repeat of the very successful 2007 and 2010 championships, once again fished on the same beaches around Pwllheli over 3 days, with the weather conditions on all three days almost mirroring those experienced in 2010!
It all started on the evening of Wednesday 5th November when 68 competitors, 18 more than in 2010, from 8 countries across Europe returned to Caernarfon to the Celtic Royal Hotel to attend registration for the event. Once again Gwynedd County Council and their representatives had helped in the staging of the championships with preparation of the brochure and making many arrangements on the ground especially with regards to the storing of the frozen bait, so necessary for ensuring a successful event.
Just as in 2010, the first day and night’s weather was horrendous with South Westerly gales gusting to 60 mph and lashing rain. So, it was back to Llandudno’s northern foreshore, the only place it was possible to fish the opening Thursday 5 hour session, fished from daylight into dark, with at least the inclement weather at our backs. Thankfully, following that gruelling session, not fish wise, as there were plenty to catch; the weather moderated and behaved itself for the second day of the competition when we could fish the intended beach at Pwllheli. Friday was probably the best session, not only weather wise but also there were even more fish to catch than the previous evening and, as it turned out, many more than were caught the following and last day. Once again, as in 2010, on this second day, at the very same venue, one angler, the eventual winner Maurits Keur, managed to fill his 43 fish card, having to record the extra 4 fish on the back of it!
The final session, to be fished on the Saturday, again over 5 hours and entirely in the daylight, so that everything was done and dusted before the Gala Dinner, Presentation and Closing Ceremony that same evening, was again fished on the same stretch exactly as the previous evening so it was fair for all, none being able to snipe that someone only did well because they fished new ground during this last session. However, the weather had other ideas and Saturday dawned with rain and wind not unlike the first day. Luckily, we had local knowledge with us in the form of Mike Flynn, ex Welsh International Shore Team Manager and International Angler who hails from nearby Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, to give it its full title. He was of the opinion that things would abate and we would be able to get fishing, although not at the intended start time. In all fairness that is indeed what happened though over a shortened 3 hour session, necessary if the results were to be computed and printed in time for the presentation. In angling we can control all sorts of factors and conditions but one is not the weather, in any case, as the Norwegians would say, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!
At registration, on that first evening, the anglers were drawn 14 each into 5 zones, in which the matches would be fished, there being one angler from each international 5 man team in each zone, in this strictly catch, measure and release event, with individuals fitted in around them. Individual pegs were drawn on the beach in the zones 1 hour prior to the start, which worked and went down very well with all the anglers as a fair way to do things. Where you finished in your zone would determine the points you were awarded with numbers of fish caught being used for count back purposes in the event of any ties. Fish caught were mainly whiting with quite a few Lesser Spotted Dogfish, with some Dabs, Flounder and the odd Codling.
So, with the fishing over it was time to compute the results and to award the prizes followed by that all important presentation of those coveted pins. Winner of the Gold Pin and EFSA European Shore Champion for 2014, was Dutchman Maurits Keur, the only angler with 3 zone wins, for 42 points, over the 3 days, 3 clear points ahead of the aforementioned German angler, Volker Claus, who only took the Silver Pin on count back from the winner of the Bronze Pin, Dutch angler Kees Van Der Velde. Both had 39 points, Volker for 2 zone wins and a fourth and Kees with a zone first, second and third. Popular and veteran Irishman Shay O’Neill won the Senior event from Englishmen Dave Lovelock and Reg Clough with his fellow countryman Ian Knight winning the Life members section from Irish angler Steven Glynn and German angler Hans Jurgen Glaser. The Ladies event was again won by Dutchwoman Miranda Koop, repeating her success in 2010 and the winning Junior was Daniel Tucker all the way from Wales! In the 5 man International Team event, in which the worst score is discarded each day, Shay, Ian and Steven were joined by Paeder Taite and Paul Tyndall in the Irish A team to lift the International Gold, thus successfully defending their title won in Holland in 2013. Second was the Netherlands A team of Kees, Maurits, Miranda, her husband Frank and Frank Van Der Zande, with their B team of Eddy Op Den Brouw, Jan Van Pietersen, Philip Franke, Jan Hennekam and Remi Lindhout in third. The Welsh A team, winners in 2010 at the same venue came a creditable 4th by only 2 points, having led on the first day. This time the team consisted of, Philip Lustig, Haydn Cole, Derek Gregory, Ken Gainfort and John O’Connor, Ken and Haydn finishing 7th & 9th respectively in the individual standings. The 2 man event was won by Volker and Ken from Darrell Farragh, an Irishman fishing for Germany and Welsh B team member Steve Lewis who was 11th individually, with another Irishman, fishing for Ireland, Mick Quin and a past Welsh Shore Team Manager and Welsh International angler and , this time fishing for England, Englishman Mark Cowell. In the 3 man event Volker, Mark and Haydn were the winners from Maurits, Mike Flynn (individual 8th and Welsh B team member) and Englishman Paul Hart in second and Steven, Steve and Reg in third. The 4 man Executive event was won by Maurits, Haydn, Mark and Frank Van Der Zande from Dave, Jan and Englishmen David Evans and Paul Curtice in second, with Miranda, Shay, German Bjorn Hanssen and Italian Ignazio Loconte in third.
Finally, the 3 longest flatfish were all caught on the last day by Paeder (39cm), Eddy (34cm) and Italian Arturo Montagnese (33cm). On the first night the second and third longest round fish were caught, both Cod of 40cm by Scot Mike Bowden and German Karl Dettmar but the longest round fish, a Bass of 43cm was caught by Daniel on the last day.
To round off the championships the Gala Dinner & Presentation went very well with thanks to the staff of the Celtic Royal Hotel for putting it on and managing to feed and cater to the needs of all the hungry anglers. Thanks are also due to them for the way they looked after everybody during the 4 night stay at the Hotel, a credit to the hospitality of the Welsh and especially those in North Wales. Well done and thank you.
The success of an event such as this depends on the hard work & goodwill of a lot of people so a lot of thanks are due to all of these. Our main Sponsors were Daiwa, Ammo and Gwynedd County Council whom we thank very much indeed together with other sponsors including Asso Tackle and Bluezone fishing limited, who also had a display and discounted tackle for sale on the registration evening. Main thanks for the organisation must go to the Shore Festival Officer for both EFSA HQ and EFSA Wales Philip Lustig, who did a mountain of work running around and liaising with all sorts of people, both before and during the event, to make these championships the success they were. He was ably backed up by his family, behind the scenes leading up to the event, as all organisers have to be, or they start off on a sticky wicket. Thanks are also due to members of Gwynedd Council for their groundwork in the north prior to the event, to Matt Lustig, Steve Lewis & Shane Tucker for pegging the beaches and the rest of the Welsh anglers for also helping with bait distribution, John O’Connor for collating and computing the results, Shane & Ken Gainfort for making & organising the pegs and the Pwllheli Harbourmaster and his staff for help with bait storage etc. Without the input and effort of all these people it would have been impossible to run the championships and we thank them all.
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