The 30th Tronixpro Irish Winter Shore Angling Festival took place on the beaches of Wexford, in the South East of Ireland from the 25th to the 27th of January. For the fifth consecutive year, the festivals main sponsors were Tronixpro. Competition HQ was The Upton Court Hotel in Kilmuckridge, Co. Wexford.
Competitors had begun arriving in Wexford from the weekend of the 20th, using the spare time to get some practice in on the venues beforehand. On Wednesday, most of the overseas competitors arrived and the banter and craic was well underway in anticipation of the festival check-in the next morning.
Anglers arrived from across Europe including England, Scotland, Wales, Lithuania and of course, Ireland.
With 105 anglers checked in, day one kicked off at Ballinoulart where the weather was kind, despite the forecast. Fishing was tough and as the day progressed, it was obvious some anglers would have nothing to weigh in. Fish came and went in flurries and prolonged periods went by without even an undersized fish being recorded. In the past, this venue has been prolific with upwards of 40 fish weighed in, not so today.
Zone Winners: Ben Arnold (22 fish), Alan Mulcahy (20 fish), Harry McKee (11 fish), Dave Hutchinson (11 fish). All receiving Tronixpro Oceanik FS Reels.
Longest Fishes: Round – Ben Arnold, 34cm Smoothound. Flat – Stewart Dewhurst & Brendan Wall with 30cm Flounders.
Best Lady: Jane Cantwell taking a zone in fourth place for sixteenth place overall.
Pairs: Simon Dawber & David Hutchinson.
Four Man Team: Seàn Carley, Joe Carley, Paul Whelan, Des Farrelly.
The four zones were split across two venues, with three zones at Clones Strand and one zone at Dodds Rocks.
Once again, the weather was kind with glorious sunshine greeting the anglers which heightened expectations for an improved catch rate over day one. The session started well with most competitors scoring on their first cast and quite a few powering ahead to seven and eight fish in the first hour. The fish then took a siesta in the middle of the session but came on the feed again towards the end.
Zone Winners: Tony Royall (24 fish), Simon Dawber (23 fish), Paul Whelan (18 fish), Ruairi Coleman (13 fish). All receiving Tronixpro Oceanik FS Reels.
Longest Fishes: Round – Lar Mooney, 39cm Whiting. Flat – Seàn Murray, 43cm Flounder.
Best Lady: Ann Whitty (12 fish).
Pairs after two sessions: Simon Dawber, David Hutchinson.
Four Man after two sessions: Harry McKee, Alan Mulcahy, Paul Coady, Cliff Gallogley.
Paul Whelan was now in top spot ahead of Ben Arnold and Simon Dawber.
Day three was fished on Ballinoulart Strand with zones split equally left and right of the main entrance.
The day was fine and bright for the most part with a sharp wind cutting up later in the day. Most anglers will remember the day for the numbers of undersized fish that turned up with many recording several trebles without a counting fish!
Zone Winners: Richard Yates (28 fish), Gordon Thornes (16 fish), Phil Simpson (14 fish), Leigh Rodgers (13 fish). All receiving Tronixpro Oceanik FS Reels.
Longest Fishes: Round – David Hutchinson, 44cm Coalfish. Flat – Daniel Crump, 36cm Flounder.
Best Lady: Ann Whitty (9 fish). Ann was also best lady overall receiving a Tronixpro Oceanik FS Reel.
Pairs after three sessions: Simon Dawber & David Hutchinson. Tronixpro Virtuoso XT Reels.
Four Man after three sessions: Ken Forsyth, Ian Knight, Paul Tyndall, Stephen Glynn. Tronixpro Beach Brolly each.
Individual after three sessions:
- Richard Yates 77 points (1660cm) Tronixpro Naga MX Rod.
- Paul Whelan 77 points (1006cm) Tronixpro Cobra Light 4.5m Rod
- Ben Arnold 76 points (1276cm) Tronipro Cobra Light 4.2m Rod
- Alan Mulcahy 74 points (1160cm) Tronixpro Envoy Beach 4-8oz Rod
- Ken Forsyth 72 points (926cm) Tronipro Envoy Beach 4-7oz Rod
Congratulations to Richard Yates on a great day three performance to take the title for 2018. Richard now has a full set of Waterford Glass, first, second and third place finishes.
Commiserations to Paul Whelan who almost made it two in a row. A big well done to Paul Arnold in third place who showed great maturity to take the honours on day one.
Best fishes of the festival (both receiving Tronixpro Oceanik FS reels):
Flat – Seàn Murray, 36cm Flounder
Round – David Hutchinson, 44cm Coalfish
Best fish of the event (receiving a Tronixpro Viper Rod): David Hutchinson
The presentation of prizes took place at The Upton Court Hotel after the excellent dinner prepared and served by the very able hotel staff. As usual, the bar was the venue for the evening's entertainment where everyone in attendance enjoyed the night.
The organisers wish to thank our main sponsors Tronixpro who have been instrumental in bringing the event up to its current prestigious status.
Our other sponsors were: Viking Tackle, Bray. Swords Angling Centre. Wexford County Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland and The Upton Court Hotel. All very deserving of our sincere thanks.
A special thank you to Deirdre O'Brien (Waterford Angling) who looks after the Waterford Glass for us.
We hope to see many returning anglers next year. The dates are 24th to 26th of January 2019.
The Organising Committee.