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Generosity of Agencies, Businesses Saves Rosslare Small Boats Festival

24th September 2012
Generosity of Agencies, Businesses Saves Rosslare Small Boats Festival

#ANGLING - For the third time in four years an Irish boat has won the Rosslare Small Boats Festival, which took place from 8-15 September.

In what was an extremely tight competition, Screaming Reels from Rosies Sea Angling Club in Cork won the competition with 24 different species of fish, beating 28 other boats from the UK.

Sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), Fáilte Ireland and Sea Angler magazine, the event - now in its 27th year - attracted more than 85 anglers from the Isle of Wight, Southport, Liverpool, Wales and Ireland.  

This year’s event faced some challenges, most notably that prior to the competition going ahead the accommodation company Self Catering Ireland went bust in July, meaning the anglers had nowhere to stay. 

IFI and Fáilte Ireland came to the rescue by sponsoring the prizes to the tune of €3,000, with the original prize fund going to refinance accommodation for participants.

This generosity was replicated by local businesses who realised the importance and the value of this competition to Wexford, and many prizes were received. These included donations from Sea Angler magazine, Sefton Sea Anglers, Wirral Boat Angling Club in Liverpool, Kelly’s Resort Hotel and Spa, Redmond’s The Bay, Grangewood Holiday Homes, Grangecove Holiday Homes, Southside Angling, Kilmore Quay Harbour office and Widgeon’s Rest.

The weather conditions proved to be very challenging for the competition, with southwesterly winds making boat angling very difficult. 

However as the week wore on, conditions improved slightly and competitors managed to fish the normally four-day competition in three days by launching their boats once from Kilrane in Rosslare and twice from Kilmore Quay, and fishing restricted areas along the Wexford coast. 

A great variety of fish were recorded during the week with 30 different types of species including coalfish, dogfish, dab, flounder, pollack, bull huss and some unusual species such as sea scorpion, shanny and tadpole fish. 

There were also some fantastic specimen fish reeled in during the week including a triggerfish of 2.32kg caught by well known UK angler and writer Gordon Thornes from the boat Uptide Girl, which is very close to the Irish record of 2.54 kg. 

Two other specimens recorded include a fine ballan wrasse of 3.16kg caught by Neville Murphy from Cork and a smoothound of 3.78kg caught by Seirt Shults of Dundalk, both from the winning boat Screaming Reels. (All specimen fish are pending verification by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee.)

The competition was exciting from start to finish due to the close results each day, despite the changeable weather conditions. And the overall results demonstrated this, with first place going to Screaming Reels (Martyn Rayner, Seirt Shults, Neville Murphy) with 24 species for 23.12kg - followed closely in second place by Uptide Girl (Gordon Thornes, Mike Roberts and John Williams from Wallasey in the UK) with 22 species for 25.15kg. In third place was Nirvana (Richie Stead and Keith Pemberton from the Wirral Boat Angling Club in Liverpool) with 20 species for 13.78kg.

The heaviest round fish was a conger of 8.18kg caught by Leslie Trish of  Seeker V from Liverpool, who was also awarded a perpetual trophy sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland for the biggest fish caught. The heaviest flat fish was a plaice of 0.80kg caught by John Meaning from Joe 90 from the Isle of Wight. Fifteen-year-old Lewis Radcliffe from Wigan won best junior of the competition, fishing with his dad Simon and his grandfather on the boat Cod n Bas’ which came fifth with 19 species for a 13.04kg total.

Redmond's The Bay on Rosslare Strand hosted the prizegiving ceremony for the second year running. Prizes were presented by Suzanne Campion, director of business development at Inland Fisheries Ireland and Orla Woods, projects officer for destination development with Fáilte Ireland.

Campion commented that the festival "is very important not only to promote the great sea fishing we have on the east coast, and in particular the variety of species available, but also the investment it brings to the local businesses in the area each year."

She also thanked Phil Hallsworth, who has organised this festival for the last 12 years, for his "hard work, commitment and dedication" now that he is retiring from the event.

Next year’s Rosslare Small Boats Festival will take place on 14-21 September 2013, and IFI invites all small boat anglers to take part. Further information is available from Josie Mahon at 01 278 7022 or [email protected].

Published in Angling
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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