Welsh fishers prevail in Rosslare Small Boats Festival with 34-species haul
Scottish boat Safelyduzit catches heaviest fish – a 5.8kg bull huss – off Wexford port
Rosslare Small Boats Festival winning Welsh team (from left): Arthur Beechey, Gareth Protheroe with Barry O’Connor and Josie Mahon (IFI), and John Belger (UK festival organiser)
Records tumbled at this year’s Rosslare Small Boats Festival as over 100 anglers from England, Wales, Scotland, Isle of Wight and Ireland descended on this popular port in Co Wexford to land 42 marine species, a new record for the festival.
Favourable weather conditions and calm seas enabled anglers to fish without restrictions which resulted in a huge catch including those rarely seen by the public, such as black bream, red mullet, spotted ray and gurnards.
In a close encounter for final placings, the Welsh boat Seawitch, crewed by Rob Shefford, Gareth Protheroe and Arthur Beechey, edged out their closest rivals with 34 species to take the prestigious title following five days of brilliant fishing.
Second place went to the boat Shy Torque (Gavin Parker, Daniel Parker and Kevin Martland) from Merseyside with 33 species followed by the Irish Shamrock (Martin Kennedy, Pat Condon, Dan Lynch and Joe McPeske) with 32 species.
Arthur Beechey, from the winning boat Seawitch, won best specimen with a red mullet of 0.48kg and the heaviest fish, a 5.8kg bull huss fell to the Scottish boat Safelyduzit whose crew received a cash prize and perpetual trophy, sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).
The Ken Evason Memorial trophy for the biggest cod of 2.18kg went to Uptide Girl and John Meaning aboard Joe 90 from Isle of Wight won the Conningbeg Trophy for longest bass of 56cm.
Following recent conservation initiatives introduced to the competition, many fish are now caught, photographed, measured and released. For those brought in, a fish tank displayed the different species caught during the competition.
The prizegiving ceremony took place at the Coast Hotel in Rosslare Strand, where prizes included fishing equipment, cash prizes and engraved trophies were presented to the winners.
Barry O’Connor, National Strategy for Angling Development Director, said: “I would like to congratulate all winners on their success at the festival, and to say a particular ‘thank you’ to John Belger and his committee in the UK and Ireland for organising this fantastic competition.”
The festival, sponsored by IFI, Garmin (Navionics), Daiwa and supported by Saltwater Boat Angling Magazine, is widely acknowledged as the largest sea angling boat competition in Europe, generating invaluable revenue to the local economy in the off-peak tourist season.
*In the final report of the season from Corrib, Tom “Doc” Sullivan reports of good sport in the Cornamona area. Darragh Musgrave from Cork caught two trout in tough conditions on wets on a yellow daddy on the point and a red-ribbed sooty dabbler, respectively. Trim anglers Tommy Keoghan and Dermot Leonard had good sport landing eight trout to 4.4lb in the Inchagoill and Dooras areas.
On Sunday last, Cornamona anglers hosted their end-of-season C&R pairs competition which was won by Gerry Dixon and Martin Kinneavy with four fish. The Egan Memorial Cup for best individual went to Gerry Dixon.
Ballinrobe duo Ronan Cusack and Gerard Moran enjoyed their last cast on Corrib on Sunday landing four trout, best 4lb, and Mallow angler, Billy Kavanagh had a nice fish of 3lbs for his day on Corrib. All fish sportingly released.
*Don’t forget to visit Ireland’s fly-fishing fair at the Galway Bay Hotel in Salthill on November 9th and 10th, 2019.
Visitors will have the opportunity to see some of the finest fly dressers practise their art and champion casters demonstrate and advise on fishing tactics. The tackle trade will also be represented with a huge range of trade stands to suit all facets of the sport.
Irish favourites, Sullivan and Prof Ken Whelan will host talks on angling-related topics and the Veniard youth fly tying competition will give young people a chance to show off their skills.