Angling Trust National Boat Competition
The Angling Trust has reported the results of the 2012 National Boat Competition, fished off Minehead – and with 20 species recorded and two anglers finishing with perfect scores it was a terrific event - despite atrocious weather on day one.
The Trust report:
Minehead hosted this year’s annual Angling Trust Boat Angling competition maintaining its well earned reputation as a strong alternative venue to the south coast options and one reflected in positive comments by all the attending anglers.
Minehead is sheltered from most winds, with the fishing only problematic with a strong north-westerly. The advance forecast for the weekend caused the organisers a considerable degree of concern and, with some anglers driving hundreds of miles to compete, it was disconcerting to find the weather prediction on Friday evening was for 18-20mph winds from the dreaded direction! Saturday morning greeted the competitors with torrential rain and strong winds and the competitors had to endure several hail storms and almost continuous rain throughout the day.
The good news was that plethora of dogfish that sometimes occupy the Bristol Channel were noticeably absent, allowing other species to be targeted. This also added value to using varying rigs according to the species sought at the particular time of tide and location. The scoring system provided for one hundred points for the first five fish of any species and two points per fish after that, thus encouraging anglers to cover as many species as possible.
The predictable aspect of fishing in the Bristol Channel at this time of year is that you simply never know what will turn up. For some, the first five casts provided different species on each drop. On an initial mark where the targets were dogfish, pout and poor cod, catching gurnard, tope, smoothhound, bass and huss demonstrated the variety available and demanded a thoughtful approach to tactics to deal with the options.
Day one winners were Ray Barron, Steve Batchelor, Kev Preston and Rob Shattock who all achieved 100% scores.
Day two brought a change in the weather with glorious autumn sunshine and no wind. The lessons of the previous day were applied by the anglers and there was a general uplift in the fishing. Again, after the usual stint in Porlock Bay the boats dispersed to various points west in search of fish. However, it was clear from the previous day’s fishing that there was no need for the boats to travel too far, as the fishing to the west towards Foreland Point was not prolific.
The angling was of a consistently high standard with everyone keeping an eye open to ensure that when a fellow competitor caught well, the bait and rig was noted and the latter copied if possible from the vast array carried by almost all within their tackle boxes.
Day two winners were Rod Adamson, Kevin Sampson, Steve Batchelor and Kev Preston who again all achieved 100% scores.
Over the two days, sadly, there was not a single ray or cod caught and the only triggers encountered (and hooked) managed to escape before the net. However, despite the excess of freshwater in the channel, some 20 species were recorded.
The presentation took place at the Ship Aground on the Sunday evening with the £600 proceeds from the raffle donated to the local RNLI station.
One of the key traditions of the competition over the years has been recognition for the angler who finished last, ‘The Iron Man’. Some anglers come to win, others attend just because they want to fish, enjoy the event and all that goes with it. This year the ‘Iron Man’ prize went to Dave Pope, a veteran supporter of the Severn Division and a regular at the event for several years.
Every angler received a prize from the event but the main awards were won as follows:
The pairs event was won by Kevin Preston and Jonathan Law with Dave Mann and Cliff Newbold in second place, the winning margin was less than 1%.
The winning four man team was Kevin Preston, Johnathan Law, Dave Mann and Gareth Croft.
The most species was won by Kevin Preston with 13.
Top skipper was Steve Webber on Osprey.
However, at the top of the table were the three anglers who had performed best over the two days. In third place was England International Rob Shattock but two anglers had won their boat on each day, thus recording 200%. The rules indicate that if this happens the champion is decided by the angler who caught the most fish over the two days. Count back showed that Steve Batchelor had caught 79 fish but way ahead was Wales International Kevin Preston on 113.
Congratulations to Kevin Preston on his great achievement, a very worthy winner.
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