What an exciting week of fish, fishing, craic, laughs and sleepless nights. The Festival is an event of old friend re-unions, rivalries being re-established and new entrants experiencing an unmatched camaraderie.
Thanks to all of you that visit and make the event the success that it is each year. 2011 saw 107 enter, up on last year, and it was great to see some new faces who will hopefully return in the future.
The Festival was set up 26 years ago by Legend Lure owner Roddy Hays, now based in Florida and it has continued to be a focus of the sea angling calendar since its inception. Anglers come from as far north as Lancashire and many journey from the south coast of the UK, Jersey and Guernsey. The event is focussed around conservation with eight species categories and two weight bands which are updated daily on the now famous chalkboard. Each species of fish has a qualifying weight before it can go on the board. For example to qualify for ballan wrasse the weight must exceed 5¾lb. Once the five board spaces for a category have been filled then beating the lowest weight becomes the target. This allows the smaller fish to be safely returned to preserve the Island stocks. Prizes are awarded for the top 5 fish remaining on the board with over £5,000 paid out in cash and prizes. It is a weeklong event and you fish the hours you want to fish on a rover basis. Its starts midday on the first Saturday and finishes with a crate of beer seven days later at the same time.
One of the more unusual things that Mark experienced during the week was seeing a pout landed by Gary Maurice. From the bone crunching, crescent shaped bite it had obviously been subject to the attentions of a tope or porbeagle shark. Although the ratchet was set to free-spool if the bait was picked up and despite the rods being watched no bite was detected before the sorry pouting was retrieved. This was in an area off the back of the Breakwater wall where porbeagles are known to pass through.
Mark always likes to select his fish of the festival; this year it could well have been the 15lb bass caught by Rick Ball which was a phenomenal fish but Mark plumped for Derek Spears’ cracking 41lb tope landed in adverse conditions after a terrific fight. Chris Tozer caught one of the best looking fishes of the festival, an undulate ray which Chris kept it alive in a rock pool for a couple of hours in order so he could return it after weighing.
A big thank-you from everyone who attended goes to Dicky Smith for running the show. Dick took the Festival organising on his own shoulders this year which was thoroughly unfair, but he managed to pull the rabbit out the hat so too speak, cracking job Dick and thanks a lot. Thanks too to all the anglers coming in the shop and spending their hard earned cash, much appreciated by all on Alderney and many thanks to those of you acknowledging to Fieona for the work she does as well. Thanks too our sponsors and prize donators as well, without whom it would be extremely difficult to run the festival: States of Alderney, Aurigny, Quayside, St. Sampsons, Le Cocqs of Alderney, Channel Seaways, Nellie Grays, ABU/Pure Fishing, Huelin Renoeuf, Swift Tackle/Sakuma, Daiwa, Boat Exchange, Guernsey, Tackle Direct 2U, Guernsey, Shimano, Mick’s Fishing, Guernsey and Leeda.
|Aurigny Plaice/Sole Trophy||Margot Newton Thick Lipped Mullet|
|1. Mark Ashton Plaice 3-12-4||1. Tim Froome 6-3-8|
|2. Tim Morley Sole 3-4-8||2. Ian Le Blancq 6-1-10|
|3. Paul Osbourne Sole 2-10-14||3. Dan Slimm 5-6-2|
|4. Graham Hazel Sole 2-10-8||4. Steve Greenaway 5-2-10|
|5. Darren Harding Sole 2-6-2||5. Glen ‘Sausage’ Cortez 5-2-10|
|Mackerel/Garfish/Scad||Ralph Duplain Ballan Wrasse Trophy|
|1. Darren Harding Scad 1-2-6||1. Pat Le Gallais 6-10-0|
|2. Martin Rollings Scad 1-2-0||2. Paul Bisson 6-8-0|
|3. Jamie Sugden Garfish 1-5-2||3. Graham Le Gresley 5-15-8|
|4. Dan Slimm Garfish 1-4-4||4. Pete Walker 5-15-4|
|5. Adrian Coquelin Garfish 1-2-8|
|Harbour Lights Conger Trophy||Lloyds TSB Couches Sea Bream Trophy|
|1. Les Jones 39-9-0||1. Barry Beeton 1-15-6|
|2. Dan Slimm 39-0-0||2. Anthony Senior 1-9-10|
|3. Tim Morley 32-0-0||3. Peter Loveridge 1-8-12|
|4. Steve Mullins 31-8-0|
|5. Paul Bisson 29-12-0|
|Sid Bohan Black Bream Trophy||Michael Sowden Bass Trophy|
|1. Stephen Blondin 2-15-10||1. Rick Ball 15-6-10|
|2. Chris Tozer 2-14-12||2. Matt Pitter 6-15-14|
|3. Steve Harder 2-14-6||3. Jeff Ceillam 6-3-4|
|4. Mike Winter 2-14-4|
|5. Mark Harding 2-14-2|
|Chez Andre Trophy Best Fish Under 5lb||Eric Bunney Best Fish Over 5lb|
|1. Tim Froome Golden Grey Mullet 2-7-12||1. Derek Spear Tope 41-8-12|
|2. Kevin Frain Golden Grey Mullet 2-6-6||2. Tim Froome Bull Huss 10-7-10|
|3. Simon Mauger Lesser Spotted Dogfish 1-15-6||3. Steve Harder Bull Huss 10-2-6|
|4. Streve Harder Golden Grey Mullet 1-15-0||4. Colin Patch Bull Huss 9-2-10|
|5. Naomi Hall Cuckoo Wrasse 1-2-0||5. Steve Greenaway Pollack 9-6-2|
Le Cocqs Ladies Trophy:Naomi Hall
Bert Messam Plaice Trophy:Mark Ashton
Barbie Cosheril Memorial Trophy:Rick Ball
Richard McCarthy Memorial Trophy:Heaviest Fish Returned Alive – Dan Slimm
Andy James Trophy Cartiliginous Fish:Derek Spears
Three Bearded Rockling Pool:Adrian Coquelin 1-8-6
The Vermin Trophy – Best Pair:Tim Froome and Dan Slimm 5 fish total 338%
Gannets Trophy – Best Team of Four:Whip Crack Away; Tim Froome, Dan Slimm, Mark Bourgaize and Adrian Coquelin 9 fish 532%
Veteran Trophy:Over 55’s Paul Bisson
Best Channel Island Angler:Dan Slimm 4 species 216%
Best UK Angler:Steve Harder 3 species 186%
And there you have it. Dates for next year are the 13th October through to 20th October, get the flights booked up early to get the best prices and book your accommodation now so not to be disappointed. Well done to the winners, tremendous effort and see everyone next year if we don’t see you before then.