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National Sea League Final 2017

Report by Tony Thomas

The SAMF National Sea League Final 2017 sponsored by TronixPro was held at Eastbourne over the weekend of 18th/19th November, fishing the beaches of Normans and Pevensey Bays. Headquarters for the event was Pevensey Bay Holiday Park which backed directly onto Zone C of the event.

Another excellent turnout of 33 teams from around the UK participated in this event which is the highest number for some years. The Final was again sponsored by TronixPro with all 165 team members receiving a TronixPro National Sea League Final 2017 commemorative cap along with TronixPro tackle prizes for the top ten individuals of the event.

The league would again like to thank George Cunningham CEO of TronixFishing for his continued generous support of this well-established event and to Mike Thrussell Jnr the Marketing Manager of TronixFishing for organising the prizes.

This year saw an increase in the number of competitive teams participating, some new and some past winning teams who were out to regain their mojos albeit with mixed results. As in the past two years, the weather again played its role with favourable conditions on small tides and clearing water making a couple of zones very peggy. With such an environment it was consistency over the two days that enabled the new team of ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE from the East Anglia League to take the victory. A total score of 63 penalty points easily enabled the team to secure victory, winning for them £2200, first place trophies and the John Amery National Sea League Shield. Regaining their mojo were past winners, Worthing based PRIME ANGLING from the Hastings League were runners-up with 74 penalty points winning £1100 and second place trophies. Final podium place went to another Hastings League team HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE, with 92 penalty points winning for them £600 and third place trophies.

Weather conditions before the weekend were light offshore winds which took the colour out of the water and dramatically affected the numbers of whiting feeding, in particular as the tide ebbed and the water sheared out even more. The forecast of a stiff south westerly for day two to stir things up never materialised and both days ended up every similar wind-wise. Pegging for the event was in Normans and Pevensey Bays. Zone A was the eastward zone situated around Billy’s Tower in Normans Bay, Zone B was either side of the beach car park in Pevensey Bay and Zone C west in front of the Flats along to Grey Tower. Zone D was at White Horses with Zone E at Langley Point. Both days were fished 10:00-15:00 up and over high water with HW Day 1 at 10:56 a.m. and Day 2 HW 11:19 a.m. on a relatively small tide.

DAY ONE

The day kicked off with bright sunshine and a light westerly but soon became overcast, and the wind switched to a stiff north westerly. In the latter stages, this brought in the drizzle from across the Downs resulting in a rather damp climax to the day. Whiting was the predominant species and in most zones were there in numbers from the start but as the tide ebbed and water sheared their numbers began dwindling. In contrast, there were other species recorded throughout although not in similar numbers including bass, dabs, flounders, gurnards, the odd bream, codling, turbot and small smoothhound along with some quality plaice at a distance. There was also an undersize ray. In total 742 fish ( 596 whiting, 64 bass, 32 plaice, 13 flounders, 13 gurnards, 9 dabs, 1 bream, 1 codling and 1 smoothhound) were recorded weighing 179lb 15oz.

Zone A (Peg 1-35) was predominantly whiting with 171 fish (151 whiting, 10 bass, 5 gurnards, 3 flounder, 1 bream and 1 smoothhound) weighing around 37lb recorded. The zone was taken by Tony Thomas (NORTH NORFOLK LADS) (Peg 33) with 3lb 7oz from 16 fish, and runner-up was Ed Driver (RITE GEAR) (Peg 34) with 2lb 7oz from 7 fish which included the smoothhound. There were no blanks in Zone A.

Zone B (Peg 36-70) followed a similar pattern with 186 fish (159 whiting, 14 bass, 8 flounders, 3 plaice, 1 dab and 1 gurnard) being recorded weighing around 38lb. The zone was won by Chris Read (GARRY EVANS MATCH TEAM) (Peg 44) with 4lb 6oz from 7 fish which included a 44cm plaice worth 112 points (2lb 5oz). Runner-up was Brett Green (ZZIPLEX MATCH SQUAD) (Peg 65) with 3lb 3oz from 14 fish, and there was just 1 blank in the zone.

Zone C (Peg 71-105) continued the pattern of the previous zones with 165 fish (145 whiting, 9 bass, 5 plaice, 4 flounders, 1 dab and 1 gurnard) recorded weighing around 33lb. Zone winner was Simon Drayton (ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE) (Peg 104) with 3lb 2oz from 13 fish, and runner-up was Vince Brooks (HOOK LINE & SINKER) (Peg 76) with 3lb 6oz from 6 fish which included a 39cm plaice worth 68 points (1lb 7oz). There was one blank in this zone.

Zone D (Peg 106-140) was probably the toughest zone with 8 anglers failing to record a fish. In total 115 fish (88 whiting, 17 bass, 7 flounders, 2 plaice and 1 codling) were recorded weighing around 26lb. This zone was taken by Rob Tuck (TEAM BREAKAWAY) (Peg 106) with 2lb 13oz from 15 fish and runner-up Colin Carey (PRIME ANGLING) (Peg 139) with 2lb 5oz from 5 fish which included 3 good plaice.

Zone E (Peg 141-175) was also a tough zone with 5 blanks, but it did produce the highest recorded zone weight of 46lb from just 105 fish (47 whiting, 28 plaice, 14 bass, 7 dabs, 6 gurnard and 2 flounders). Zone winner was Nathan Elliott (ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE) (Peg 156) with 6lb 4oz from 14 fish which included 6 good plaice. Runner-up was Colin Crosby (HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE) (Peg 154) with 5lb 9oz from 9 fish which included a 39cm plaice worth 68 points (1lb 7oz).

Winning team on the day was ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE with 22 points from STUART GUNS AND TACKLE with 33 points and PRIME ANGLING with 34 points. Top Individual on the day was Nathan Elliott (ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE) with 1 point (301 fish points) from Chris Read (GARRY EVANS MATCH TEAM) with 1 point (211 fish points) and Tony Thomas (NORTH NORFOLK LADS) with 1 point (165 fish points).

DAY TWO

Day two provided similar conditions with bright sunshine at the start and all day but with less westerly wind and no dampness. Sea conditions were identical to day one, and with an extra hour of the flood, fish numbers were close to double day one. Whiting again were the dominant species and the same pattern as day one was acted out with their numbers dwindling as the water sheared. Two new species were added to the day one list with sole and a coalfish being registered. In total 1,542 fish (1,364 whiting, 68 bass, 32 flounders, 27 plaice, 24 pout, 15 dabs, 8 gurnard, 3 sole and 1 coalfish) were recorded weighing around 372lb.

Zone A (Peg 1-35) was again mostly whiting with 485 fish (451 whiting, 19 pout, 12 bass, 2 flounders and 1 gurnard) recorded weighing 108lb. The zone was taken by Lee Adams (ITALCANNA) (Peg 5) with 7lb 3oz from 26 fish and runner-up was Rex PALMER (HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE) with 7lb 4oz from 27 fish. There was just one blank in this zone.

Zone B (Peg 36-70) was similar to Zone A but had the overall heaviest total zone weight as well as most fish. Altogether 512 fish (495 whiting, 7 flounders, 4 bass, 4 plaice, 1 dab, 1 gurnard and 1 pout) were recorded weighing around 115lb, and there were no blanks. The zone winner was Darren Brooks (HOOK LINE & SINKER) (Peg 60) with 7lb 15oz from 32 fish which included some quality whiting and a big plaice. Runner-up was Dave Shorthouse (NORTH NORFOLK LADS) (Peg 63) with 6lb 5oz from 25 fish.

Zone C (Peg 71-105) did not match its previous day’s comparative performance with just 280 fish (249 whiting, 10 bass, 9 flounders, 6 plaice, 2 dabs, 2 pout and 1 gurnard) recorded weighing around 71lb and there were no blanks. Zone winner was Ian Smart (TONY’S TACKLE TEAM SONIK) (Peg 81) with 5lb 6oz from 16 fish, and runner-up was Thomas Wells (CHRISTCHURCH ANGLING) (Peg 82) with 4lb 3oz from 17 fish.

Zone D (Peg 106-140) was again the worst zone with 5 anglers failing to score. The total number of fish was 100 (52 whiting, 24 bass, 13 flounders, 6 plaice, 3 dabs, 1 gurnard and 1 pout) weighing around 33lb. Winner of the zone was Richard Jacobs (AVENUE ANGLING NORWICH) (Peg 135) with 3lb 5oz from 7 fish and runner-up was Mark Rogers (MIGHTY BRIGHT) (Peg 129) with 2lb 13oz from 4 fish.

Zone E (Peg 141-175) was again poor with 4 anglers blanking. In total 165 fish (118 whiting, 18 bass, 11 plaice, 9 dabs, 4 gurnards, 2 sole, 1 flounder, 1 pout and 1 coalfish) were recorded weighing around 45lb. Zone winner was Darren Bond (PRIME ANGLING) (Peg 148) with 4lb 15oz from 15 fish which included a 35cm sole worth 52 points (1lb 1oz). Runner-up was Colin Crosby (HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE) (Peg 153)with 4lb 11oz from 18 fish.

Winning team on the day was PRIME ANGLING with 40 points from ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE with 41 points and DEAL 1919 with 46 points. Top Individual on the day was Darren Brooks (HOOK LINE & SINKER) with 1 point (380 fish points) from Lee Adams (ITALCANNA) with 1 point (346 fish points) and Ian Smart (TONY’S TACKLE TEAM SONIK) with 1 point (258 fish points).

OVERALL

With a day win and day second ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE the team of George Smith (captain), Richard Burt, Simon Drayton, Nathan Elliott and Jody Lemm took the title with a margin of 11 points on 63 points. A win on day two by PRIME ANGLING enabled them to finish runners-up on 74 points. With consistent 4th places on both days enabled HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE to take the third place spot with 94 points.

This year team payout was down to 10th place, and the top ten teams who received prizes were:

1st ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE………………………..63 Pts

2nd PRIME ANGLING…..……………………………….…..74 Pts

3rd HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE.…………………..92 Pts

4th NORTH NORFOLK LADS.……………………………..110 Pts

5th CHRISTCHURCH ANGLING.………………………111 Pts

6th STUART GUNS AND TACKLE…………………….120 Pts

7th HOOK LINE & SINKER ………………………………122 Pts

8th ZZIPLEX MATCH SQUAD.………………………….123 Pts

9th TEAM BREAKAWAY…………….……………………..129 Pts

This year the top 10 individuals over the two days were also rewarded with TronixPro Tackle, and the top four received cash prices. The best individual over the two days was Nathan Elliott (ASSO ANYFISH ANYWHERE) on just 4 points with runner-up Colin Crosby (HASTINGS ANGLING CENTRE) also on 4 points with Darren Bond (PRIME ANGLING) third again also on 4 points with the winners having superior fish points.

The top 10 Individuals were:

1st NATHAN ELLIOTT………………………………………4 Pts….(515 total fish points)

2nd COLIN CROSBY ………………………………….….4 Pts….(493)

3rd DARREN BOND…………………………………………4 Pts….(385)

4th SIMON DRAYTON……………………………………..4 Pts….(336)

5th STEVE MARTIN………………………………………….7 Pts….(373)

6th ROB TUCK…………………………………………………7 Pts….(214)

7th LUKE MOORING…………………………………………8 Pts….(404)

8th MARK HINXMAN…………………………………………8 Pts….(303)

9th THOMAS WELLS…………………………………………8 Pts….(280)

10th RICHARD BURT……………………………………….9 Pts….(381)

In addition to the above prizes, there was also a cash prize donated by SAMF to the top SAMF Member of the event and that went to NATHAN ELLIOTT.

This event was also a SAMF Qualifier for the 2018 Master to be held in North Norfolk on the weekend of 28th/29th April 2018. Altogether 21 participated, and 14 qualified for the 2018 Masters and they will be notified accordingly.

The event was also registered with Sea Angler for Penn Points on both days so the top three anglers on each day and other Zone winners will receive the appropriate Penn Points.

This year the Optional Pools went down to 5th Place in each of the 10 Zones, and the Super Pool payout went down to 10th Place on each day. This meant that altogether the 91 “Envelopes” were distributed to 41 separate Team Members and 10 Teams sharing a prize table of over £10k along with the TronixPro prizes.

A full set of results is available on the Holt SAC website.

The organising team would like to thank Pevensey Bay Holiday Park, in particular, Mike Reeson and his team for looking after us and for the use of their excellent facilities. George Cunningham and Marketing man Mike Thrussell Jnr for the TronixPro sponsorship and TronixPro representative Joe Arch for presenting the prizes. Glyn & Kevin Morgan and the Anglers Den team for the excellent pegging on both days. SAMF for its renewed support of the event, Sea Angler magazine for registering the event for Penn Points and finally thanks to Holt SAC members for their assistance with running of the event. Also, thanks must go to all league organisers and all team members without whom the event would not happen.

For some, this was a tough two days, and the benign conditions did not help to bring the serious number of fish inshore as happened two years ago. This meant that there were stretches that were rather barren and some teams suffered from this. This was further exaggerated by having large zones of 35 where a poor performance by one team member could pull the rest of the team down. Anyway, this just added to the drama of the competition which I believe once again was a great success.

Next year it is back to NORTH NORFOLK provisionally on weekend 24th/25th November with the HQ at KELLING HEATH HOLIDAY PARK where we have secured 15% discount on the accommodation. We expect the current format for sponsorship and support to continue and we just may reach that magic 40 teams participate. Look forward to seeing everyone again in Norfolk in 2018.

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