The south coast’s biggest ever celebration of sea fishing has been announced. The first ever Bexhill Sea Angling Festival (September 15 to September 23) aims to provide something for all the family, as well as seasoned anglers.

It includes five major angling competitions (beach, boat, kayak, specimen hunt and a bass match), alongside offering free of charge coaching sessions with angling professionals and a huge exhibition and food area, where members of the public can purchase fresh seafood dishes and watch top chefs at work.

Organised by Bexhill anglers and Rother District Council, in partnership with the Angling Trust, the festival aims to promote angling as a past-time, highlight the excellent fishing around the Sussex coast and make the link between sustainable fishing and healthy eating.

The event came about following discussions with anglers and the council during a consultation on angling byelaws last year.

Locals have known about the excellent fishing to be found in the Bexhill area for many years. The festival hopes to the put the town on the map for anglers nationally, in the same year as Bexhill Sea Angling Club’s centenary.

However, the festival is expected to attract more than just competition fisherman vying for one of the big prizes from the estimated £5,000 fund.

The Bexhill Sea Angling Festival 2012 kicks off on Saturday, September 15, with a boat match. The kayak competition follows the next day. Throughout the festival week, a hunt for the biggest specimen of several species is being held.

The festival culminates on the weekend of September 22/23 with a combination of fishing matches and a celebration of angling and seafood being held on the exhibition area, next to the sea.

On September 22 (Saturday) a pegged beach match will take place which hopes to attract local experts and the cream of sea angling talent.

Nearby, the public will have the chance to sample sensational fish recipes and watch skilled chefs on the demonstration stand, all a stone’s throw from the iconic De La Warr Pavilion building.

The next day, (Sunday, September 23) Bexhill’s beaches will hold a tournament for the species the area is perhaps best known for – the bass. The challenge will be on to land the biggest bass and claim the coveted cup.

At the same time, the festival lawns will continue to host cooking demonstrations, stalls and games to give anglers and non-anglers alike additional entertainment close to the competition action.

And throughout the weekend, Angling Trust coaches will be on hand in the ‘coaching zone’ to assist newcomers to the sport with advice and demonstrations.

Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust, said: “As the national representative body for angling in England, the Angling Trust is extremely proud to be sponsoring the first Bexhill Sea Angling Festival.

“We are looking forward to helping to showcase all that is good about recreational sea angling and the many benefits it brings to Bexhill’s residents and local businesses. Bexhill has a long tradition of sea angling with the Bexhill Sea Angling Club celebrating its centenary this year. The Angling Trust hopes that the Bexhill Sea Angling Festival will be the start of another 100 years of sea angling in the town.”

Rother District Council member for tourism and leisure Cllr Martin Kenward said: “We are delighted to have worked with local anglers and the Angling Trust to make this festival a reality.

“We think this could become a major tourist attraction and give a real boost to the economy. The best of luck to all the anglers who will take part and, remember, there is a lot more going on besides the fishing matches.”

Event sponsors include: Tesco, 1066 Country Marketing, Hook Line and Sinker tackle shop, Novo Photography, Bexhill Sea Angling Club, Rush Witt and Wilson estate agents, the Bexhill Observer, Aquamarine Sports, Fladen, Leeda and Masterline.

For more information and for details on how to enter the competitions visit www.bexhillseaanglingfestival.co.uk

Major sponsorship opportunities for the festival are still available. To be part of the South’s biggest angling celebration contact Daniel Collins on 01424 787705 or email daniel.collins@rother.gov.uk

 

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