2017 Home International Shore Angling Championship
After many months of planning the day had arrived when I took the 5 hour drive to North Wales to meet up with the Angling Trust England Ladies Shore Angling Team. The team is made up of Rebecca Adams and Nicki Frewin from Somerset, Adele Smith and Kimberley Lawn from Norfolk and Heather Lindfield from the Wirral they are all experenced anglers at national and international level. The team who are sponsored by hook manufacture Cox&Rawle, who are based in Somerset, were to fish 2 beaches; firstly Pwllheli on the Wednesday and Abererch on the Thursday. Each angler receives 1/2lb Ragworm and a pack of frozen mackerel for the 4 hour match. We had arrived a few days early to get some practice on these beaches to see if the team could discover what would be working ,unfortunately we didnt learn very much as the fishing was that poor. The beach in the matches were pegged into Zones with each of the competing nations having one angler in each zone. The matches were fished as catch and release with a minimum length and minimum hook sizes. Winner of the zone is awarded 4 points down to 1point for 4th and nothing for a blank. Both the match venues were flat and sandy with small Wrasse and perhaps Garfish being the target (Mackerel were banned ). The weather was great for sunbathing but not so good for the fishing. In fact all of the teams that fished struggled because of the conditions although all the teams really worked hard to find fish. At the first match Beccie won her Zone, but with two blanks in the team it really left a mountain to climb as they finished joint 3rd with Scotland. The second day on Abererch beach was an improvement with Kimberley winning her zone but with another blank and a 3rd place the team finished in Bronze position. The team really worked hard and were well prepared with many types of rigs available and always had help and feed back from the Men and Youth squads as part of the Team England ethic. On match days one of the jobs of the manager is to walk the beach to encourage their team and let them know what is working not only from their own team but from the other anglers as well. All the talk on match days was of rigs, pop ups and beads which colour is best and at what range. The team were allowed to use maximum of 3 hooks and most teams used this either clipped down or flappers with different lengths of snood with or without beads and pop ups. Most of the Teams fished anywhere between 2 meters and 80 meters. Perhaps as the fishing was so poor and each fish would be vital it might have been worth going to a single hook rig and a bigger bait at range just to get the bait out of the splash zone of the other teams in fact one of the Irish team on the practice day had a nice Bull Huss on mackerel. Still hindsight is a wonderful thing !! However it was not to be gold this time for the team their next campaign is in November when they visit the World Championship in South Africa where the fishing will be totally different with Guitar Fish being the target . Having watched all the England teams I was struck by how in match fishing at this level the changing of rigs is so important to see what was working best. Different snood lengths some with beads others with Pop ups just to find out what is working is something I will try in my pleasure fishing.