Competition Progression Within the SFSA

by Billy Buckley

Competitive angling is one branch of sea angling which as a federation we try to encourage. Healthy competition is good for the growth and development of the sport providing opportunities for anglers to improve their skills and for the development of tackle and techniques which can help improve angling for all.

SFSA logoWithin the Scottish Federation of Sea Anglers we have varying levels of competition covering Juniors, Youths, Seniors and Ladies. The level of competition ranges from club angling all the way to the pinnacle of representing your country on the world stage and covers both boat and shore.

Types of competition represented within the SFSA structure

  • Club angling
  • Interclub Championships (Regional and National)
  • Regional Open Competitions
  • National Open Competitions
  • International Open Competitions
  • SFSA Open Competitions
  • Individual Members League
  • Home Nations Championships (Junior, Youth, Senior, Ladies)
  • World Championships (Junior, Youth, Senior, Ladies)

Club & Interclub

The SFSA has a total of 27 member clubs spread over 7 region; clubs are of various sizes and consist of anglers with varying levels of experience and ability. These clubs have their own internal Shore or Boat championships with some clubs having both. Within these club structures members have the opportunity to develop and learn from fellow club members. Some clubs have members who have been through ADBOS level 1 and level 2 coaching courses which provides the club with the opportunity to develop the anglers within their club.

Level 1 & 2 coaches are available on request to provide and develop coaching and coaching sessions for clubs and their members.

Clubs have the opportunity to put forward teams to compete in regional knock-out competitions which compose of teams of 5 anglers competing against each other over agreed venues and following specific rules. This allows for the development of club anglers in competing as part of a team and all that this encompasses. The successful teams from each region then have the chance to compete in a National Final with the winning team being crowned as Scottish Champions. These competitions cover both Shore and Boat and all clubs are encouraged to participate.

Competition Progression Within the SFSA beach

Regional, National & International Open Events

Numerous open competitions are run throughout the year. These competitions tend to be run by the SFSA, SFSA member clubs, other countries federations and clubs.

These competitions will vary between pegged events on specific venues and rover events run over large stretches of coastline. Entry to these events is open to anyone and allows anglers to measure their skills and knowledge against other competing anglers.

Anglers entering competition tend to follow the pathway illustrated below during their progress through the competition circuit, each level showing a progression in skills and ability which allows the angler to compete on a level footing with fellow competitors.

Club Matches


Regional Interclub Competition


National Interclub Competition


Regional Open Competition


National Open Competition


International Open Competition

It is important that anglers enter the different levels of competition as it is only through competing and learning from fellow anglers that their skills, knowledge and competence will improve.

Competition Progression Within the SFSA beach Competition Progression Within the SFSA


SFSA Individual Members League

The SFSA runs a league for all individual members within the federation. This is run based on the anglers performance at a number of SFSA and member club run open competitions. The designated competitions within the league are detailed at the beginning of the year and anglers have the chance to compete in those that suit them and their availability to compete. The winner is designated as the Individual Members League Champion and recognition is given to the top 10 anglers.

Participation and performance in the individual members league is used as selection criteria in a number of areas.

  • International Fish Off Qualification:  (the top 25 of the individual members league may enter the fish offs for the International Teams)
  • Challenge Match Selection: (the top 15 of the individual members league will be selected for the team competing in any challenge matches against other organisations, e.g. annual SAMF challenge match)

International competition

Scotland has the opportunity to compete in numerous international competitions against teams from other countries. Competitions are arranged by international bodies (CIPS, FIPSM, SALC) in many varying angling disciplines. These include separate competition for Juniors, Youths, Seniors and Ladies.

Home Nations Championships (SALC) (Boat & Shore)

This consists of competition between the four home nations of the UK (Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland), and covers Junior teams, Youth teams, Senior teams and for the first time in 2013 Ladies teams. The competitions are run on an annual basis and are run by each participating nation in turn. Entry into the home nations teams can be seen as the first serious step for an angler competing at an international level.

Competition Progression Within the SFSA beach

World Championships (CIPS, FIPSM)

These championships are run annually and involves competing against teams from up to 18 different countries from around the world. The competitions are usually fished abroad and have taken place in countries as far flung as Montenegro, Brazil and South Africa.

Disciplines include:

  • Shore Angling Championships (Seniors, Ladies, Youths & Juniors)
  • Boat Angling Championships
  • Casting Championships
  • Club Shore Angling Championships
  • Club Boat Angling Championships

Teams consist of five persons and participation is seen as being the pinnacle of the sport. As well as team championships there is also individual championships run alongside the competitions which allows anglers to compete to become individual World Champion.

Team Qualification

Entry into the different teams is through various means dependant on the particular team.

Juniors & Youths

Entry to the junior and youth teams is via two selection sessions. The sessions are run by the team managers and selected coaches who will monitor and select participants for the team dependant on their performance and ability to carry out certain angling criteria.

  • Criteria include
  • Casting ability
  • Bait presentation
  • Rig construction
  • Organisation
  • Bite detection, striking and landing of fish

These selection sessions are open to all junior and youth anglers regardless of ability or experience. Teams will be selected from the best 5 performing anglers in both categories. The selected teams will then go on to represent Scotland at the Home Nations championships. At present no junior or youth teams from Scotland are sent to World Championships given the prohibitive costs of doing so.

Further team development will be carried out with the selected squads of anglers, this encompasses:

  • 2 casting sessions
  • 3 coaching sessions
  • 1 full practice session
  • 2 days practice at the championship venue


Scotland now has a ladies team who will be competing at the Home Nations Championships. Selections of this team is run on the same basis as that of the youths and juniors, with squad development sessions being run and final team selection being from anglers participating in these sessions.


Senior shore teams to represent Scotland are selected through performance at a series of 6 fish off matches. The top 12 ranking anglers are offered the opportunity to compete as part of either the Home Nations or World Championships teams.

A number of entry criteria must be fulfilled before anglers can enter the selection process

  • Anglers must be Individual members of the SFSA
  • Anglers must have been members of SFSA for the year previous
  • Anglers must have finished within the top 25 of the Individual Members League (IML)
  • If anglers are outwith the top 25 of IML then they must be able to provide evidence of competing in at least five open pegged matches (minimum entry of 25 anglers) and have finished within the top 30% of anglers within that match.

The two teams of six anglers selected from the fish offs will continue their team development with the following:

  • Team meetings
  • Team coaching and development sessions
  • Practice on championship venues
    • Home Nations Championships – 2/3 days
    • World Championships – 3/5 days


Competition Progression Within the SFSA teams

Senior boat teams at present only compete in the Home Nations Boat Championships. Teams are selected by the following process

  • Open invite to all individual members to squad selection weekend (two boat sessions and one classroom session)
  • Anglers attending the squad selection weekend provide evidence of their experience, match results and experience on championships venue
  • Anglers are assessed during squad weekend on
    • Bait selection
    • Use of bait
    • Rig and tackle selection
    • Organisation
    • Match tactics
    • Team working

Anglers are scored on their performance criteria and reports produced. The results of these reports will determine the six anglers who will make up the squad and provide feedback for the unsuccessful participants.

The selected team will then continue their team development with the following:

  • Team meetings
  • Private team facebook page
  • two days practice on championship venue

Coaching Provisions

The SFSA has a number of level 1 and 2 sea angling coaches in place. These coaches are available to provide coaching and guidance on a number of sea angling related initiatives including

  • Open taster sessions for those interested in starting sea angling
  • Coaching for clubs
  • Coaching for individuals
  • Sea angling sessions for community groups and schools
  • Coaching of teams

Areas covered within coaching sessions may include

  • Casting
  • Tackle use
  • Rig construction
  • Bait collection
  • Bait ue and presentation
  • Species tactics
  • Watercraft
  • Safety at sea
Facebook Comments Box

You may also like

Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.