Fishing half the time in breaking 20ft-30ft high Atlantic rollers, the England men’s team won the gold medal in the world shore fishing championships in Portugal last week (November 4-7). Portugal came second, France third and Spain fourth. The English ladies’ team came fourth behind the winners Italy, Portugal and Croatia.

The teams traveled 1,400 miles to and from the competition at Toria, 70 miles south of Lisbon, helped on their way by generous complimentary travel, with their vehicles, from Eurotunnel.

The competition was close. On one occasion a single gram in the weight of a weaver relegated the English team from third position to fifth. Other fish caught included turbot, a variety of bream, spotted bass garfish and mullet. Baits, supplied by the organisers, were sardines, farmed worm and harbour rag.

Very clear water at Toria where the competition was fished over four days at four different venues, meant conditions were vastly different from murky British coastal waters. Fish were feeding in the clear water by sight rather than instinct so competitors used very light tackle, size six hooks and eight pound line,  more akin to freshwater fishing. 

The England men’s team collected a total of 10 penalty points.  Bernard Westgarth of Darlington was third overall, Ian Goulds of Havant sixth, Chris Clark of Lymington seventh, Paul Stevens of Worthing eighth and Steve Allmark of Dover 17th.

England’s leading lady, Heather Lindfield of Greasby, Wirral was in eighth position overall, Sherryl Bellfield of Meanwood, Leeds 13th, Joyce Rogers of Deal 16th, Pauline Fry of Newcastle Upon Tyne 33rd and Adele Smith of Ipswich 43rd.

The teams’ captain, farmer Chris Clark, of Lymington, organised the teams’ participation, on behalf of the National Federation of Sea Anglers.