Well that's the NIFSA 2 day shore angling festival over for another year.
Numbers were down for obvious reasons but we still managed 40 anglers and paid out over £2000 in prize money with the overall winner getting £1000.00.
Visiting anglers stayed at the Coleraine Premier Inn where great craic was had by all that stayed.
Session 1 on Longfields did not provide the weather Barra Best predicted as a stiff north easterly brought frequent and heavy showers. We fished two hours to the bottom and two up and while there were flats, eels and smelt caught it soon became apparent that a thirty fish bag was not going to be required for a zone win.
1st Tim Sexton 238pts
2nd Nicholas Mcneill 235pts
3rd Harry McKee Jnr 144pts
4th Shane Olden 132pts
5th (Tied) Stephen Hodge and Dean Azzabi 121pts
1st Alan Smallwood 213pts
2nd Paul Beggs 190pts
3rd John Shiels 143pts
4th Harry Mckee 139pts
5th Gary Mccurry 116pts
Longest fish of the session was a 36cm flounder tied between Connor Gilmore and Barry Platt.
For session 2 we made our way to Waterfoot , where we were greeted by a beach that had been mauled by the two recent storms. There was a lot of debris including a dog kennel and a big bank of weed at the high tide mark which would cause headaches for some anglers when the high tide lifted it.
However the beach lived up to its reputation as a premier match venue with good bags of flats, dabs, plaice, whiting, dogs and coalie recorded.
1st Harry Mckee 490pts
2nd Harry McKee Jnr 447pts
3rd Stephen Hodge 317pts
4th Paul Hill 273pts
5th Diarmaid Adams 271pts
1st John Shiels 701pts
2nd Lee Mullan 551pts
3rd Gareth Bell 508pts
4th Barry Platt 422pts
5th Gary Mccurry 410pts
Longest fish of the session was a flounder of 31cm caught by Drew Ferguson.
The 3rd and final session brought us back to the Foyle, fishing to the left of the River Roe.
Again, fishing was not dramatic but some anglers hit the hotspots and produced good bags.
Paul Hill, who had been lamenting his lack of crab due to a poor courier company absolutely cleaned up his zone with bunches of maddies which is a first in the crab infested estuary.
1st Alan Smallwood 237 pts
2nd Harry McKee Jnr 231pts
3rd Tim Sexton 197pts
4th Harry Mckee 176pts
5th Gareth Bell 166pts
1st Paul Hill 290 pts
2nd Paul Beggs 259pts
3rd Jānis Liseckis 110pts
4th Tyrone O Brien 109pts
5th Baiba Miezite 87pts
Longest flat was a 37cm flounder caught by Harry McKee Jnr.
Overall winner was Harry McKee Jnr who lifted the £1000.00 followed by Harry Mckee and Alan Smallwood respectively. Alan was very unlucky with two zone wins on the estuary and drawing a poor peg on Waterfoot.
Personally I would like to thank everyone who turned up during this testing time as human beings and were more than sportsmanlike with the self measuring scoring system.
I'd also like to thank those who could not attend and let us know.
We had a few no shows with no warning which causes MASSIVE headaches in an event like this, even more so during covid where we have to do things differently.
Thanks to Gareth for setting a system up on his computer to collate the scores which massively sped things up which was essential as we had to do all our admin outdoors thanks to covid.
Harry Mckee Jnr for marking the beach and Barry Platt for overall running the event and barking orders.
Last of all thanks to Belfast Angling Centre for sponsoring the overall event.
Next year is already being organised with a possible change of date to better suit tides. We have just heard that a sponsor has come in and is sponsoring an additional £1000.00 prize so all to look forward to.
The NIFSA committee