The evening of Wednesday 21st November saw 72 competitors from 7 countries across Europe arrive in Caernarfon at the Celtic Royal Hotel for registration for the European Federation of Sea Anglers European Shore Championships, organised by the Welsh Section, to be fished on the beaches around Pwllheli over the following 3 days.
Gwynedd County Council and their representatives had helped enormously in the staging of this event, both in preparation of the brochure, helping us to apply for and get a grant from Environment Development fun – Areas of outstanding natural beauty – and for making many arrangements on the ground, so it was fitting that entrants were welcomed by their Chairman.
The weather was balmy for the end of November with hardly a breath of wind and barely a ripple on the sea, not exactly conducive to bumper catches. It stayed like that for both Thursday’s and Friday’s sessions, fished from daylight into dark, but on Saturday the weather did it’s best to put everybody off by starting with gale force winds and lashing rain, though it did brighten up and ease off towards the end of the day’s session, fished entirely in the daylight, so that everything was done and dusted before the Gala Dinner, Presentation and Closing Ceremony that same evening.
The anglers were drawn into 5 zones at registration, in which the matches would be fished, there being one angler from each international 5 man team in each zone, in this strictly catch, measure and release event, with individuals fitted in around them. Individual pegs were drawn on the beach in the zones 1 hour prior to the start, which worked and went down very well with all the anglers as a fair way to do things. Where you finished in your zone would determine the points you were awarded with numbers of fish caught being used for count back purposes in the event of any ties, and as expected, catches weren’t that great.
On the first night 15 anglers blanked, with 26 landing 1 fish only, mainly dogfish, and the best bag was of 9 fish by Irish angler Ken Forsyth, who seemingly, couldn’t go wrong. Friday wasn’t much different with 13 blanking, 23 landing 1 fish only and the biggest bag was tied at 8 between Welshman Alan Cheswick & Dutchman Arthur Van Tienen.
If that wasn’t bad enough when the wind really blew on Saturday the weed became horrendous making fishing nigh on impossible, especially in the early part of the session. So, it was not a surprise when 34 failed to trouble the scorers and 17 landed only 1 with the biggest bag once again falling to an Irishman this time Steven Glynn with 7.
So, with the fishing over it was time to compute the results and to award the prizes followed by that all important presentation of those coveted pins. Winner of the Gold Pin and EFSA European Shore Champion for 2007 was Dutchman Frank Koop with a second, a third and a zone win over the 3 days, on count back from fellow Dutchman Philip Franke, who took the Silver Pin with 3 zone seconds.
Third and winner of the Bronze Pin, was former Champion (2002) and Welshman, Alan Cheswick with a zone 6th and 2 zone wins. The Senior event was won by the oldest angler in the event, Scotsman Joe Dent, the Ladies by Dutchwoman Clarinda Van Der Zande and the Life Members by Irishman Patrick Forrester.
In the International Team event, in which the worst score is discarded each day, the Dutch A team, which didn’t contain the new champion, of Frank & Clarinda Van Der Zande, Theo Rijnberg, Jan Gorissen & Sliver Pin Winner Philip Franke triumphed narrowly from the Welsh A team of Ken Gainfort, Alan Cheswick, Haydn Cole, Steve Tucker and Philip Lustig, with the Irish B team of Paeder & Peter Taite, Mick Devoy, Pat Grimes & Richie Gormley even closer in third. The 2 man event was won by Richie Gormley & Welshman Matt Lustig, the 3 man event by Frank Van Der Zande, Welshman Steve Lewis and German K. Friedman and the 4 man by Philip Franke, Ken Gainfort, Englishman Dave Lovelock & Scotsman Mike Bowden.
To round off the championships the Gala Dinner & Presentation went very well with thanks to the staff of the Celtic Royal Hotel for putting it on and managing to feed and cater to the needs of all the hungry anglers. Thanks are also due to them for the way they looked after everybody during the 4 night stay, a credit to the hospitality of the Welsh and especially those in North Wales.
The success of an event such as this depends on the hard work & goodwill of a lot of people so a lot of thanks are due to all of these as well as the Sponsors who included, a grant from The Environment Development fun – Areas of outstanding natural beauty –, Gwynedd County Council, Abu, Penn, Hiro, Sakuma, Ammo Baits, Dragon Baits & Dale Sailing of Neyland.
Main thanks for the organisation must go to Shore Festival Officer for both EFSA HQ and EFSA Wales Philip Lustig, who did a mountain of work running around and liaising with all sorts of people, both before and during the event, to make these championships the success they were. He was ably backed up by his family, behind the scenes leading up to the event, as all organisers have to be, or they start off on a sticky wicket.
Thanks are also due to Barry Davies, Alun Williams & others of Gwynedd Council for their groundwork in the north prior to the event, to Matt Lustig, Steve Rees & David Davies for pegging the beaches, Haydn Cole, Steve Tucker and Alan Cheswick for helping with bait distribution, John O’Connor for collating and computing the results, Ken Gainfort for making & organising the pegs, Tina Lustig & Diane Todd for sorting out the scorecards, and Andrew Skeels, Shane Tucker & Steve Lewis for helping with the rubbish & unused bait each day and the Pwllheli Harbourmaster and his staff for help with bait storage etc. Without the input and effort of all these people it would have been impossible to run the championships and we thank them all.