Registration Evening, Thursday 26th march 2015
Most competitors turned up for the registration well-informed about the rules and restrictions, and even those from far away had done a fair amount of homework on the various marks and beaches, and with a fair idea of what to expect to catch. The organisers had a table for last-minute info on spots to fish, ease of access, baits, and tactical advice, if needed. We hope that those who travelled here from distance did not feel disadvantaged in competing with the locals.
TRADE STANDS: We had invited various trade stands to attend and Bill Morris set up in plenty of time, his full range of TRABUCCO (and related brands) Everything from clothing and hooks and swivels, to an impressive display of rods and reels. The following day, we had stands/tables from The Angling Trust who sent James Lewis, thank you, Fiona Tebbit from Marine Conservation Society (WWW.MCSUK.ORG), and George Cunningham from TRONIXPRO.
Bill and George not only generously donated prizes, but really got stuck in, and fished the match as well.
Day One, Friday 27th March 2015
The Match was scheduled 9am to 2pm, and with the shingle beaches offering best catches around high water, an 11.30 high tide seemed to be optimum, on a smallish tide. We had chosen the smaller tides due to safety concerns for our all-ages, all-ability competitors. What hadn’t been predictable months before, when the event was set up, were the other variables of wind, weather, and not forgetting, of course, FISH !!
All along the shingle from Sheringham to Cley, 27 expectant anglers of all ages and abilities, sat on their tackle-boxes at 5 mins to nine, their rigs flapping in a gentle W/NW breeze, the clear sky above yielding bright sun, but all eyes were on the sea. Good colour, nice lump with a bit of white top, and four to seven feet of surf smashing the shingle in front of them. That last five minutes dragged, as they looked and dreamed of what a sea like that could produce. Keen eyes stared at the horizon, beyond the wind turbines , toward the Norwegian coast, wondering who would get the fish today, the Brits or the Vikings?
Damn the Vikings!! The huge numbers of fish that had graced the same beaches in the previous few days, had all but disappeared. Every bait was tried, every rig was tested, every distance was attempted; rolling leads and grippers, flappers and pennels, 6/0 down to size 4, clipped-up, clipped down, loops and paternoster, peeler, lug, bluey, rag and squid …………….. you name it, we tried it
Despite it being hard work to find a decent (or winning!!) fish, nobody gave up, because the same sea that had promised great sport at the start, continued to bang and splash away in front of us, and although it didn’t actually produce the big numbers, it yielded a little of its treasures, and continued to promise more.
Does this sound like a disaster? It wasn’t. Without exception, the anglers that fished this event, have a very strong set of values with regard fish handling, and preservation of fish stock numbers. The number of fish brought back to the weigh-in is a fraction of the actual landed fish. Each angler had a decision to make with every fish they caught……. Catch and kill, or catch and release ……. This may be sizeable, but do I want to take it, or shall I let it live? This ethical dilemma is the cause of such varied and strongly held opinion in the Sea Angling world, and the organisers are thrilled that this event was conducted with integrity by all. So thank you.
Those fish which made it to the weigh-in, were gutted and cleaned ready for consumption (thanks Kimberley), and auctioned for charity. Nothing was wasted.
Day Two, Saturday 28th March 2015
Weather-wise, what a difference a day makes. Grey and darker clouds shielded the sun, the wind had picked up and swung round to come more off the land and was quite gusty. The stronger blow had flattened the sea out to a rippling calm that tamely lapped at the shingle. But the colour was good, and the threat of rain later might change everything.
Some fished the same spot as on the Friday, and many tried a different mark. The number of anglers had risen to 36 and each one had their own reasons why they thought today might produce the goods.
The new factor this day was the crabs. While never absent from the North Norfolk beaches, they had not been a major problem on day one ……….. but on day two ……….. they were hungry ………. And they were everywhere!!
Day one had produced several species, – Cod, Whiting, Dabs and Flounders, (being the species that came back to base for the weigh-in), but we also saw undersize-Bass, Rockling, and Bullhead(AKA Scorpion) caught and released. Day two added Coalfish to the retained list, plus Weaver to the returned list.
A big thank you to all the anglers who took part.
Thank you for the respect shown to the fish in the way they were handled ……….. and thank you also for the respect to the environment in the way we cleaned up litter from the areas around us, and left nothing but footprints behind us.
Results Day One
1st Russell Taylor
2nd Paul Ashworth
3rd John Harris
Results Day Two
1st John Brown
2nd Ian Lambert
3rd Paul Ashworth
1st Paul Ashworth £150 cash plus tackle prizes inc £280 retail TRABUCCO rod
2nd John Brown £75 cash plus tackle prizes £200 retail Vercelli Rod From Tronix Pro
3rd Russell Taylor £50 cash plus tackle £80 Grauvell Rod From Rite Gear
4th Ian Lambert
5th Leon Smith
6th Kimberly Lawn and Gary Rugless
8th Peter Read
Top Lady Angler went to Kimberley Lawn £80 Gruavell Rod from Rite Gear
Top Junior went to Jake Etheridge (both receiving rod and reel from Fladen Fishing)
Runner-up Junior went to Angel Barnard (Angel please get in touch because you have some serious prizes to collect, not just your box of chocolates!!!)
Many thanks to the landlord and staff of The Lobster Pub for the venue and for making us very welcome.
Special mention to Sheringham’s Mayor, Tricia Brooks, who didn’t just do the ‘show-us-your-glitter’ bit at the presentation, but actually walked a long way on the shingle talking with competitors. Impressive.
Prizes and Sponsorship
Prizes came from TRABUCCO rep, Bill Morris, and TRONIXPRO’s George Cunningham, ASSO SPORT FISHING’s Richard Yates, FLADEN FISHING, and RITE GEAR ANGLING’s Dene Conway. Cash and other prizes were donated by Norfolk Angling Club’s Chairman, and Secretary, and from the Sheringham Carnival Committee, and personally from committee members.
Well that was the First Norfolk Sea Angling Festival. We learnt a lot putting this together. The Second one will be bigger and better. Come back next year and bring some mates.
Next Year, dates will be Saturday 19th March and Sunday 20th March, 2016