The 23rd EFSA Ireland Winter Shore Angling Festival took place on the east facing beaches of north County Wexford from Thursday 27th – Saturday 29th January 2011. Fifty match men from the United Kingdom and Ireland competed for a prize fund of €8340.00 over three days of intense competition. Bright, bitterly cold conditions, the result of a north east airstream, made fish hard to come by on the chosen venues of Morriscastle, Clones, and Ballinaulart. However the competitors employed scratching techniques coupled with years of experience to winkle out match winning bags of predominantly flounder with a few dabs, codling, and school bass thrown in for good measure.
Against tough seasoned opposition Ireland’s Dave Roe on the back of three section wins took first place with England International Chris Clarke a close second and Courtown SAC’s Joe Byrne a well merited third. Dave and Joe also claimed the two man team prize while Courtown SAC had cause for further celebration with club members Ben Colliton and Clive Ivory winning the longest round and flatfish pools respectively. Make no mistake this competition attracts serious sea match talent, the cream from these islands, winning in this company is a major feather in the cap.
Sea match fishing drives modern tackle technology and fishing techniques. A walk along the pegs is an education in how to tie rigs, types of bait to use, and fishing methods, the top anglers leave nothing to chance. On this occasion three hook traces utilizing long snoods, size 2 hooks baited with gutted aged black lugworm tipped with maddies (small harbour ragworm) fished at short range proved to be the winning combination.
Sea angling will slow down over the coming months as we enter the spawning season, however spring is on the way and before too long County Wexford will be hosting another major event, this time the EFSA European Shore Championships 2011. Scheduled to run from the 27th – 30th April the event promises interesting fishing with bass, smooth hounds, and dogfish added to the mix of species currently on offer. Bring it on…..
For further reading click on: EFSA Ireland Winter Beach Fishing Festival 2012.