Report by Kevin Green
The 25th National Police Sea Angling Championships were hosted and organised by the Norfolk Constabulary over the 15th and 16th of November 2017. The venues chosen for the championships were Cley, Salthouse, Kelling and Weybourne on the North Norfolk Coast, with a section at each venue.
The accommodation was at the Kelling Heath Holiday Park for 145 anglers making up 37 teams. Competitors had travelled to the event from all over England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The scoring system followed other angling bodies, on a length to points conversion basis with everything over 18cm counting. Well-known match referee Tony Thomas would be on hand to formulate the results of the championships.
Day one was an evening match from 15:00 to 20:00 hours, fished over high water. The weather was windless, but there was still a reasonable swell following the rough weather earlier in the week. A mist was rolling along the coast followed by drizzle and thickening fog, which didn’t deter the seals, who were trawling the gutter in front of the anglers for food.
Bites were immediate with most of the activity centred on Kelling and Weybourne beaches. Catches on the first day consisted of whiting, dabs and flounders with many anglers catching more than forty fish, all recorded and returned. Results were formulated quickly with participants knowing their positions before they retired to bed. At the end of day one, the leading team was Dorset A, followed closely by Kent A in second and Cleveland A in third. With individual positions going to Ian Ainsley from Durham followed by Kevin Green from Norfolk in second and Simon Norman from the Metropolitan Police in third.
A freshening wind had blown away the mist and fog by the start of day two. The wind was offshore which had calmed the sea. The match began at 09:30 to catch the bottom of the tide. Once again there were plenty of seals present.
Small dabs were the order of the day, and while there were plenty of fish, quite a few didn’t make the 18cm minimum size limit.
As forecast, rain arrived at 13:00 along with an increase in the wind which uprooted several anglers shelters, thankfully, none were lost.
As the match drew to a close, dabs, whiting and flounders were caught by most, with one angler having a surprise double shot of a codling and a pout from Weybourne.
Anglers congregated at the Northrepps Cottage Hotel for the presentation meal, surrounded by an impressive display of prizes purchased from Tronixpro.
Tom Lessels from Police Scotland won with Simon Norman from the Metropolitan Police as runner-up and Simon Clark from Essex A third. Both Tom and Simon had tied on the same zone points, but Tom was declared the winner based on the amount of fish caught.
All participating anglers contributed to a voluntary prize fund and the impressive prize table added to the excitement at the presentation meal.
Altogether, 6,233 fish were caught and returned over the two-day competition, consisting mainly of small dabs, flounders and whiting. The heaviest fish was a 1lb 4oz flounder.