Monday, September 10, 2012

46th Cobh International Deep Sea Angling Festival - the results.....

Well it’s all over for another year and what a great success the 46th Cobh International Deep Sea Angling Festival has been! Despite numbers being down this year, it was a great week. The weather was extraordinary with blue skies, flat calm seas, gentle breezes, and hot sun greeting the anglers every day. Indeed, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that you were fishing in the tropics. By Friday all the participating anglers were sporting a fine suntan more reminiscent of a Spanish holiday rather than a fishing trip off the South coast of Ireland!!! That kind of weather hasn’t happened for over 8 years and was quite a welcome change from the wind and rain that can so often face the anglers at this time of year.
The weather certainly put everyone in great form but it was the fishing that put everyone on a high. For the week as a whole the fishing could only have been classified as exceptionally good. Although, there was a bit of slack fishing for some on the last few days the results from Monday and Tuesday, in particular, were fantastic. Add in the usual craic and banter, and the merriment that was had back on dry land in the various pubs/restaurants that had sponsored the day’s fishing, and you’d have to say it was a phenomenal week!!!

The weather allowed all boats to fish outside the harbour on everyday of the competition. Although, fishing in the harbour is quite good the chance to get out to the offshore reefs is always welcomed. It is out here that the anglers are always in with a chance to catch something a bit more spectacular and so it proved to be the case this year as near specimen cod, conger, garfish, and lsd’s were landed. The numbers of fish landed were also quite spectacular with over 2,000 fish recorded amongst the 43 anglers participating.
Once again this Festival wouldn’t be the success it is without the hard work of certain individuals from Cobh SAC and for that many thanks are due to Mary Geary and Ruud Boelhower in particular. Without them the Festival would not go as smoothly or seamlessly as it does. Others who helped and deserve a lot of credit are Tracy Fortune and Ger O’Flynn for their work on keeping the scores, inputting all scorecards and compiling the results on a daily basis. Many thanks also to Truus Boelhower who put on a magnificent spread for the official opening of the Festival on the Sunday night. Truus’ chicken liver pate is something to behold and I would advise anyone to sign up for next year’s Festival just to get a taste of this alone! Truus also provided many other tasty tidbits including the smoked salmon, smoked trout and smoked mackerel, all ably and competently smoked by Ruud himself. Many thanks also to those who helped on the pier each morning and included Frank Burke, Frank Cronin, Richie Fortune, Donal Geary, and George Stockley. Thanks also to the stewards, Jimmy O’ Mahony, Ben Richardson, Richie Fortune, Cian Ryan, and Aidan Kneeshaw, to name but a few. Also, many thanks are due to the skippers, all members of the Cork Harbour Angling Hub, who worked tirelessly to put the anglers on the fish all week. These included Joe Lynch of the Wreckhunter, Donal Geary of the John Boy, John Geary of the Lee Star, John Barry of the Cuan Bawn, and Ger Keohane of the Naomh Cartha. Final thanks is due to the Port of Cork who facilitated Cobh SAC in many ways by allowing full use of the facilities on Kennedy Pier, Cobh and to Eoin O’ Sullivan, of Marine Transport for the use of the offices on the pier.

What a great event this Festival is, though! It is quite unique in that it is not run like most competitions where points are based on the species of fish caught. Points are instead awarded by weight. In that difference it is a throwback to the competitions of old, before conservation measures were brought in. In those days, bags of fish were brought back to the pier to be weighed and, though it made for spectacular viewing, it was terrible, in hindsight, to think that most of the fish were then dumped back over the side. Now the fish are weighed onboard each boat by the stewards and, immediately returned alive and kicking (unless of course they are to be kept for the table by the angler). The weight to the nearest kilo is calculated and 10 points are awarded per kilo; a further 5 points are awarded per fish. At the end of the week the angler that has landed the heaviest bag of fish is the winner, regardless of species caught. This can make for interesting tactics with anglers having to decide to either target conger or pollack for the week. Having said that there are some great prizes for other categories such as heaviest cod, heaviest ling, etc…

Although, the Festival is competitive there is still great fun and onboard the boats there is always some great slagging and banter. The craic continues well after the fishing ends. Each day one of the local hostelries sponsors the day’s fishing. All contestants normally flock back to this establishment to discuss the day’s fishing and, of course, tales of the one that got away. Normally, there is a bit of food and music and the combination of all these factors makes it hard to get away. Many an angler starts with the good intention of heading off after and hour or two, just to get that time to replenish stock and retie traces. However, it never works out that way; the craic and banter is just too good!!! Sore heads and seedy bodies are normally the result the following day. It is this fun side of the week’s long event, as well as the fishing, that draws people back year after year. As a result, many of the foreign anglers have been returning to fish the Festival, year after year. In fact, for some of the Dutch anglers this is there 37th year here. This year anglers travelled from the Uk, Wales, Switzerland, and Holland.

…..and so, to the fishing! On Monday the designated area was to be the Power Head/Pollack Rock area. Anticipation was high, for with the good weather and good tides it was hoped that the fishing would be good. The fishing didn’t disappoint! In fact, for some of the boats the fishing was superb! Each boat averaged over 50 congers, with the average caught per angler about 6. The average scores coming in were between 400 and 500 points. Compared to normal Festival’s this is very high scoring. Everyone knew it was a good day and were hopeful that their good score would put them in a good position on the scoreboard. However, nothing prepared the anglers for the news on returning to the pier. The Wreckhunter had an exceptional day with two of the anglers onboard scoring over 900 points. This is almost unheard of in the annals of the competition. Dutch angler, Gerard Gersjes topped the leader board with 980 points, followed closely in second place by Welsh angler, Paul Evans, with 925 points. Local angler, John Warner, who was also on the Wreckhunter, came in third with 730 points. Many were blown away with this scoring. There have been Festivals in the past that have been won with that score over the entire week. Was the race for the top already won? With such a lead could the leader be even caught at this stage?

Heaviest fish fell to Tina Kneeshaw with an 11kg conger. Tina was fishing onboard the Cuan Bawn and skipper, John Barry, had put them on one of his oldest tried and tested conger marks. What an ugly and saucy beast it was too! Tina, a seasoned angler, had to jump on top of her tackle box to escape its wrath!!!

On Tuesday many anglers hoped just for a good’s days fishing resigned to the fact that the pole position might just be out of reach but the results that day were to prove that you can take nothing for granted in this game. As the anglers gathered on the pier on a magnificent Tuesday morning the fishing grounds were announced as the Smith’s reef, grounds to the west, including the Daunt Rock area. The weather on Tuesday was phenomenal; the winds had swung around to the northwest quadrant and were quite slack; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperatures soon started to rocket. Sun cream was the order of the day and, fair play to the skippers, they had an ample supply and prevented many an angler from roasting and shrivelling under the midday heat…..and boy, was it hot! By early afternoon the heat was more reminiscent of a day at the beach under the Spanish sun!  

The fishing on Tuesday matched the weather….spectacular!!! Again, it was the Wreckhunter that led the way. Skipper Joe Lynch was anxious to keep his anglers on the fish all day and to his credit that’s just what he managed to do. Joe put his crew on Lenny’s Rock first, and then the Smith’s, followed lastly by the general Daunt Rock area. Cobh SAC Treasurer, Pat O’Shea, was bagging a steady amount pollack all day. In the afternoon, things really heated up. Both Pat and fellow Cobh SAC angler, Martin Perryman were in the two aft positions and in the last hour and a half of the competition bagged over 70 pollack between them, with many touching the 3kg mark. By the end of the day Pat had landed nearly 60 fish to win the day with a spectacular tally of 1,220 points! To put this in context, remember that last year’s Festival was won with a final score over the 4 days of 1,270 points. Over the history of the event it’s thought to be the highest day’s score ever. Martin Perryman was to come in second place with a score of 865 points and Paul Evans of Wales in third with 685 points. That scoring certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons as the leader board changed dramatically. Pat O’ Shea was now in first place with 1,710 points with Paul Evans of Wales in second with 1,610 points. The race was now on!!!
Tina Kneeshaw once more landed the heaviest fish. Tina was fishing onboard the Naomh Cartha, skippered by Ger Keohane and landed a fine 16kg conger. What was most amazing was that only 10 minutes prior to catching this she had also landed 14kg conger. Needless, to say after landing two leviathans over such a short period Tina took a much needed rest and relaxed for an extended fag break!

With the weather remaining so fine and settled it was decided to fish the Ling Rocks on Thursday. It’s not always possible to fish the Lings and it is a long steam from Kennedy Pier of almost 16 miles but when the opportunity comes you got to take it. The Lings can always throw up some truly spectacular fish with specimen pollack, cod, ling, and conger a distinct possibility and so this trip was greatly anticipated by everyone. Unfortunately, the fishing wasn’t as good as hoped but it was still quite good compared to normal standards. Given the spectacular fishing on Tuesday, everyone’s expectations had risen a considerable degree. Winner on Thursday was Steve Willams of Wales with 635 points, followed closely by Pat O’ Shea with 620 points. Local angler, John Warner, came in third with 465 points. In the overall standings Pat O’Shea was able to increase his lead over second placed Paul Evans. Going into the final day Pat had a score of 2,330 points with Paul on 1,905 points.

Ling featured a lot in the catches on Thursday, as did garfish and cod. Heaviest fish of the day was a 13.5kg conger, which was caught by Cork city angler, Dave Drohan. However, the luckiest catch of the day was onboard the Naomh Cartha. Gerard Gersjes was fishing on one of the aft positions and momentarily rested his rod on the gunwhales. Disaster struck… a flash Gerard’s rod was pulled over the side and was gone! The lesson here is to never leave your rod unattended. Fair play to skipper, Ger Keohane, though, who tried for an age to retrieve the rod with a set of feathers, but to no avail? Poor Gerard was inconsolable. Ger set him up with a spare rod but Gerard just did not have the enthusiasm left to carry on fishing. At the depth we were fishing, at over 100ft, the likelihood of retrieving the rod and reel were slim. Having said that the luck was with Gerard for thirty minutes later Sandra O’Shea, fishing in one of the bow positions, announced that she was into something heavy, but a dead weight. Could it be Gerard’s rod and reel? We daren’t get our hopes up…..but sure enough it was!!! Gerard was elated and kissed Sandra….and kissed Ger Keohane!!! Ger was not impressed!!!

On Friday the sun didn’t come out until midday but still it was another fine day. The fishing grounds were announced as the Power Head area and the Pollack Rock, the same as day 1. Could Paul Evans of Wales catch Pat O’ Shea? 415 points separated the two of them but anything could happen in fishing and that difference could be recovered. The fishing was very good once more and the congers did show in numbers. This suited Cork Harbour’s own conger specialist and a previous winner of the Festival, Frank Cronin, who was to prevail and recorded a good score of 705 points. In second place was Johann Duijts of Holland with a score of 665 points. Third was Noel Carey with 435 points. Noel had a fine cod of 5.0kg and could be forgiven for hoping that he had his hands on the prize for the best cod of the week. However, later in the day on the same boat, the Cuan Bawn, Sjef Van Raamsdonk of Holland landed an even better cod of 8.5kg. What a beauty! Just marginally below specimen. What was even more remarkable was that Sjef had two fish on at the one time; this fine cod and a 15.5kg conger! This conger landed Sjef the prize for the heaviest fish of the day.

….and so as the fishing concluded the race for top honours had become apparent. Paul Evans had scored 250 points to bring his total to 2,155 points, but Pat O’ Shea had a relatively good day scoring 375 points bringing his overall total to 2,705 points and winning him the title for 2012. Along, with a plethora of prizes Pat also bags the winner’s cheque of €1,000. Well done Pat!!!

The scores for 2012 were record breaking with the top 12 anglers beating the top score from last year’s festival of 1,270 points. Indeed, the winning score of 2,705 points has probably been never achieved before. We are currently checking the club’s records to see if this was the case.
….and so a week of extraordinary fishing has come to and end and what a week!!! The final results were as follows:

1st Pat O’ Shea, Cobh SAC, 2,705 pts
2nd Paul Evans, Wales, 2,155 pts
3rd Martin Perryman, Cobh SAC, 1,905 pts
4th Steve Williams, Wales, 1,905 pts
5th Steve Tyler, Wales, 1,880 pts
6th Frank Cronin, Cobh SAC, 1,840 pts
7th John Warner, Aghada SAC, 1,750 pts
8th Gerard Gersjes, Holland, 1,645 pts
9th Milo Burke, Cobh SAC, 1,520 pts
10th Danny Kane, Cobh SAC, 1,455 pts
11th Johann Duijts, Holland, 1,330 pts
12th Martin Duijts, Holland, 1,315 pts
13th Tom Johnson, Ireland, 1,265 pts
14th Tina Kneeshaw, Crosshaven SAC, 1,265 pts
15th Ger Brady, Cobh SAC, 1,115 pts

Best Pollack, 4.0kg, Noel Carey, Irl
Best Ling, 5.0kg, Bob Crebor, Irl
Most No. of Conger, 31 conger, Gerard Gersjes, Holland
Best Edible Bag, 175kg, Pat O’ Shea, Irl
Most Species, 9 species, Danny Kane, Irl
Best Cod, 8.5kg, Sjef Van Raamsdonk, Holland
Heaviest Edible Fish, 8.5kg, Sjef Van Raamsdonk, Holland
Best No. of Fish, 132 fish, Pat O’ Shea, Irl
Best ‘Out of State’, Paul Evans, Wales, 2,155pts
Best Junior, Michael Lane, Irl, 810 pts
Best Lady, Tina Kneeshaw, Irl, 1,265 pts
Heaviest fish of the week, 16kg conger, Tina Kneeshaw, Irl
Best Skipper, Joe Lynch, Wreckhunter
Fun Team, Ireland B, Steve Williams, Milo Burke, Frank Cronin, Paul Tennant, 6,245 pts
Two Man Team, Ireland I, Pat O’ Shea, Martin Duijts, 4,020 pts.
In addition to Pat O’ Shea’s win this is his second year on the trot winning the Best Edible Bag Trophy and his third year on the trot winning the Best No. of Fish Trophy. Well done again Pat!!!

Plans are already afoot to organise next year’s event. It will be run from Monday 2nd September 2013 to Friday 6th September 2013. Here’s hoping that the weather and the fishing will be just as good. You can rest assured that the craic and banter will be!!!

There will be a cash element to the prizes once more with €1,000 for first place, €400 for 2nd place, and €200 for 3rd. The winning team of two will also receive a cheque for €400. If you would like to enter then contact Cobh SAC through Mary Geary on 00-353-21-4812167 or by email on Get your entries in as soon as possible; c’mon, you know its good for you!!!

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