By Warren Doyle
The 33rd Irish Winter Shore Angling Festival sponsored by Tronixpro & Inland Fisheries Ireland returned to County Wexford beaches after 2 years & got underway with the commencement of the check-in on Wednesday 26th of January at 5pm. The original entry had been 139 but was badly affected by the pandemic with many overseas anglers unable to attend. The headquarters for the event was The Upton Court Hotel in Kilmuckridge.
The 88 competitors were divided into 4 zones & were ready to start fishing at 12 noon on the day 1 venue, Morriscastle Beach. The weather was exceptionally mild for the time of year, bright warm sunshine was enjoyed by all. The minimum fish size was 18cm.
Zone winners were Dave Hutchinson (19 fish), Paul Whelan (11 fish), Ben Arnold (28 Fish) & Joe Byrne (23 fish). Leading the 2 person team were Dave Hutchinson & Simon Dawber. 4 person team leaders were the Welsh team of Shane Russell, Chris Isaac, Alan Price & Jimmy Price. Best lady was Jane Cantwell runner up in zone C. Super pool leader was Ben Arnold with 648 points. Best round fish was a 37cm whiting for Paull Curtice & best flat fish was a 32cm flounder for Roy Arnold. 781 fish were recorded for day 1.
Day 2 had zones A, B, C on Clone Strand & zone D at Dodd’s Rocks. The weather was a marked contrast to day 1, overcast with a strong, cold northwest wind.
Zone winners were Joe Wales (14 fish), David O’Sullivan (21 fish), Paul Whelan (12 fish) & Paul Tyndall (20 fish). Leading the 2 person team were Shane Russell & Chris Isaac while the 4 person team was again led by the Welsh team of Shane Russell, Chris Isaac, Alan Price & Jimmy Price. Best lady once again was Jane Cantwell with another zone runner up spot. Paul Tyndall took the super pool top place on 541 points. Best round fish was a 37cm whiting for Chris Isaac. Best flat fish were two 34cm flounders for Dave Wright & Warren Doyle. Leaders after day 2 were Paul Whelan, Jane Cantwell followed by Ben Arnold. 633 fish were recorded on day 2.
Day 3 was fished on the pristine Curracloe Strand, famous for many reasons including the beach scene in the film Saving Private Ryan. The weather was kind, slightly overcast with variable gusty winds. The tide caught many anglers out & they were forced to move their shelters on a couple of occasions.
Zone winners were Mike Fox(18 fish), Darren Stevens (15 fish), Ben Arnold (18 fish) & Paul Whelan (27 fish). The super pool was won by Paul Whelan on 714 points. Best round fish was a 27cm whiting for Kevin Daly, best flat fish was a 33cm flounder for Dave Shorthouse. 913 fish were recorded on day 3.
The anglers, friends & guests attended the gala dinner & prize awards ceremony in The Upton Court Ballroom on Saturday evening. A superb meal was ably & professionally served & enjoyed by all. It was followed by the presentation of prizes.
Final standings after 3 sessions.
Individual: 1st Paul Whelan. 2nd Ben Arnold. 3rd Joe Wales.
Best Lady: Jane Cantwell (5th ).
2 Person Team: 1st Joe Byrne, John Marshall (149 points).
2nd Shane Russell, Chris Isaac (146 points).
3rd Alan Price, Jimmy Price (144 points).
4 Person Team: 1st Shane Russell, Chris Isaac, Alan Price, Jimmy Price. (290 points) 2nd Seán Ivory, Chris O’Sullivan. Alby Allen, Brendan Wall (275 points) 3rd Joe Byrne, John Marshall, Joe Carley, Seán Carley (271 points) Best Round Fish: 37cm Whiting. Paull Curtice & Chris Isaac.
Best Flat Fish: 34cm Flounder. Dave Wright & Warren Doyle. Number of fish recorded: 2,333 Species captured: Flounder, dab, scorpion, whiting, coalfish, bass, rockling.