The 115th Hastings & St Leonards International Boat Festival, sponsored by Hastings Angling Centre, was fished on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
While Friday was fished from the beach due to a strong wind and rough sea, Saturday and Sunday were fished from the boats in near perfect conditions of light winds and unbroken very warm sunshine. There was a very good entry and more than 30 boats took part.
The festival is based on points for the best five specimen fish weighed in by each angler each day. Each day is a separate match with prizes and the overall festival winners are rewarded with cash and trophies.
Smoothounds proved to be particularly prolific this year, with excellent numbers and size of specimen fish being caught. The best was a magnificent 18lb 12oz catch for Graham Bisson on Sunday which won him several trophies and the £500 best specimen prize.
Many other smoothounds well into double figures were weighed in. Paul Murray won the South of England Trophy and £500 with 430 points, which included five double figure smoothounds. He followed this very high score with Sunday’s top score of 417 points.
Some excellent ballan wrasse were also recorded. Plaice were a bit thin still and underweight for length. Few conger eels featured this year, the best being a 42lb catch for Steve Shoesmith.
Several rarely encountered (at least in this area) painted rays were caught, including two 9lb fish. Black bream were also caught, earlier than usual, perhaps due to the warmer sea then normal.
The junior prizes were all taken by A. Oliver, top lady was Sue Wells and top veteran was Clive Bailey. The team prize went to Murray, Bill Ellis, Alan Kent and Pete Wiseman.
The prize-giving and excellent buffet was held at the East Hastings Sea Angling Club with the Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Judy Rogers, graciously presenting the trophies.
The tackle prize table for the 16 prizes awarded each day was again excellent thanks to the generous sponsors, Hastings Angling Centre, Paul’s Tackle, SJ Homewood, Fusion Interiors, Coleman Construction & Utilities Ltd, Woods Concrete Pumps Southern Ltd, ACW Brickworks Ltd, RX Fisheries.
Thanks go to the Hastings & St Leonards Angling Association and East Hastings Sea Angling Association for hosting the event, Seashore Graphics for work on the brochure, and especially to the organising committee for a very well run event.
Main trophy winners: South of England Trophy (most points on one day) - Paul Murray (430.25); Friendship Trophy (best specimen in the festival) - Graham Bisson (133.93); ICSA Gold Cup (most points in the festival) - Paul Murray (847.37); Cinema Deluxe Cup (greatest weight of fish on one day) - Steve Shoesmith 105lb; Dreadnought Cup (most points from whiting on one day) - Glynn Shoesmith (32.5); Lewis Abbott Cup (most points from flatfish in one day) - Tim Relf (285.37); Amsterdam Trophy (biggest conger in the festival) - Steve Shoesmith 42lb 8oz; Southend Cup (most points from congers in one day) - Graham Furness (162.83); Borough of Hastings Cup (biggest fish in the festival) - Steve Shoesmith 42lb 8oz; Hastilow Cup (heaviest cod in the festival) - Graham Bisson 11lb 3oz; Herne Bay Cup (best specimen bull huss) - Dave Whittington 6lb 14oz; Palmer Cup (most points from cod in one day) - Graham Bisson (131.59); Richardson Trophy (heaviest ray) - Charlie Dickinson 11lb 4oz thornback; Farnham Trophy (team of four) - Paul Murray, Bill Ellis, Alan Kent, Pete Wiseman (1429); Veterans’ Trophy - Clive Bailey (615); Ladies’ Rosebowl - Sue Wells (523); Bon Ami Cup (most junior points in one day) - Antony Oliver (236); Skinners Trophy (best junior percentage on one day) - Antony Oliver (79); RNLI Trophy (most junior points in festival) - Antony Oliver (370.83); TSB Shield (most points from flatfish) - Reg Boyce (476.38); Saffir Vissers Trophy (most different species) - Alan Kent (6); Pedro Cup (top local angler) - Paul Murray (847.37); Coxswain Cup (most specimens) - Paul Murray (2); Whitbread Trophy (longest fish) - Steve Shoesmith (76 inches); Coronation Cup (best team of four on one day) - Bill Ellis, Paul Murray, Colin and Ralph Crosby (1435); Nelson Cup (top score in Coronation Cup) - Paul Murray (430.25); Family Cup - Ralph and Colin Crosby (713.54); Pollack Cup - Clive Baily 10lb 6oz; Frank James Cup - Reg Boyce (3lb 3oz).
The Friday beach match was won by Ralph Crosby with 18 fish for 7lb 5oz, second was Alan Kent and third Kerry Saint.