Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 Festival.....

Well it's all over for another year and what a great week we had!!! Everyone had been a bit apprehensive about the weather, especially as on the Sunday night, as we all registered, it was lashing rain and windy outside. We needn't have worried so much as it turned out mostly fine. In fact sunburn turned out to be more of an issue, especially on the first two days. Monday and Tuesday followed on the same as Sunday night with downpours....but that was over land. Out at sea there was nothing but clear blue skies. Looking back to land we could see the dark clouds hugging the coastline. However, as we gathered on the pier on Monday morning we weren't to know that as the forecast was for heavy showers and most people were kitted out in their all-weathers.
The anticipation was palpable as all 50 anglers (from over 6 nations) collected their scorecards and made their way towards their designated boat. On each boat one of the angling party was designated boat captain, to be responsible for collating the scores at the end of the day. That would be a relatively easy task as each charter boat skipper was well organised and had a steward to assist. The picture over is of Donie Geary, of the John Boy, giving boat skippers and stewards last minute instructions. By 9:45am all anglers were onboard and each boat slowly made their way from the quay and idled in the channel waiting for the go-ahead. Once it came, all five boats motored on their way together in a small floatilla. What a sight!
The designated fishing area for the day was to be the Smith's Reef, some number of miles south of Roches Point, and West. After a stop off for mackeral on the way, all boats were there well in advance of lines down time of 11am. This was to be the moment of truth. For all the anglers the level of anticipation (and probably nervousness) had been building to this point from the day before. There was no more rig tying; there was no more preparation; this was it! For some, things were going to work out; for others....oh, well.
As it turned out the fishing was a bit of a struggle....for every body. We were onboard the John Boy, skippered by Donie Geary. We had a mixture of conger to 7kg, ling, pollack, coalfish, pouting, cuckoo wrasse, and grey gurnard. Pictured over is Scottish angler, Dave Nielson, with one of those cuckoo's. Best onboard our boat was Cobh SAC angler, Pat O' Shea, with one conger and 13 pollack for a total of 245 points. He was followed by another Cobh SAC angler, Paul Tennant, with four conger and a pouting for 220 points.
The other boats more or less fared out the same, except for Sea Breeze. There's was the only boat to take the westerely option. Crosshaven SAC angler, Ger Richardson, had put them on one of his Daunt Rock marks and it paid off! Particularly for Ger, who had a great day. Ger had three conger to 9kg and 9 pollack to give him 350 points and put him into the overall lead after Day 1. He was closely followed by Dublin angler, Damien Wall, who had 18 pollack for 310 points. Here's Damien with a of the oddities he caught later in the week!
After that in auspicious start we all retired to Tradweinds Restaurant for a few pints of the black stuff and to chew the cud. Although, a few anglers were down in the mouth that was soon forgotten about. Sandra and Danny had booked a trad band and they soon got under way. As the craic and banter gathered pace, the spirits were certainly enlivened!
Tuesday morning heralded a fresh start....mind you a few of the anglers looked far from fresh as they made their way down to the pier. Nevertheless, all cobwebs were blown away as we motored out to "today's" fishing grounds. Fishing was to be from Power Head east. Most boats took the option of fishing the area close to the Pollack Rock buoy. We were onboard the Wreckhunter. Skipper Joe Lynch took us futher east than the rest. Joe was anxious to fish a favourite mark of his, an isolated seamount that rises 17 metres from the ocean floor. It certainly looked dramatic on Joe's onboard computer screen, which gave a 3D graphical depiction of the sea bed.
The fishing also got off to a dramatic start with Tom Johnson landing a fine ling of 5.5kg. This was followed by more ling and plenty of pouting; a sure sign that we were in good conger country. Indeed, Joe was hoping that we might get a conger over the 20kg mark as he has had them here before. At the start, though, it was all pouting and some were quite large. Phil Blakey, originally from the UK, had two around the 3lb mark. One of them, later weighed ashore, qualified as a specimen. Well done Phil!
With the turn of the tide the conger soon came on the feed. Joe had his hands full as he was running from port side to starboard to aft in between netting the congers as they came onboard at a fast and furious pace. All too soon it was all over and in that hectic spell we landed over 40 conger, many of good size. The biggest of the day fell to Cobh SAC angler, Paul Tennant, at 12.5kg. Indeed, Paul had a great day with the best score of 745 points. Making up Paul's tally were eleven conger, one pollack, and three ling. Three other anglers had scores of over 500 points; that's great crackin'.
Feeling somewhat confident that we had had an exceptional day our bubble was somewhat burst when on the journey in we heard over the blower that Danny Kane had knocked up a great score in excess of 800 points. Donegal Danny, as he's otherwise known, was catching everything in sight! Danny was onboard the John Boy and they had had great fishing. Indeed, no less than five anglers onboard that boat had in excess of 500 points. Wow!!! In fact they had over 60 conger landed, many of which were approaching 10kg in weight. That's some fishing!

As it turned out the fishing on Tuesday was excellent all-round with 11 anglers returning a score in excess of 500 points. Bobby Crebor from Cork had a mighty fish in a 17kg conger; probably the biggest fish in a couple of years and not far off specimen. As we retired to Ryan's bar that evening the general consensus was that Tuesday was a good day. Everyone was in better spirits and it didn't take long for the craic and banter to start. Landlord, Paul O' Halloran, admonished Frank Burke for scoring more points than Martin Perryman. Now that's a first!

Wednesday was a rest day, so we were all eager to get going again Thursday morning. The previous night there had been yet another Trad session in the Commodore Hotel. What a night! Copious amounts of porter and crubeens. How does Frank Burke do it; but do it, he does and is the freshest one on the pier the following morning. Topic of discussion on the pier was that there was pigs' hair on the crubeens. All the better, reckons Frank!!! Well, anyway, off we went to Power Head, with the Pollack Rock and east being our destination. The fishing today wasn't as good as Tuesday. Yet Danny Kane had a great day! You couldn't stop that man; he was on fire. Danny was with us on the Lee Star and he was fishing well. It was all down to his lucky yellow pirk he reckoned. He had actually lost it twice on Tuesday only for it to be retrieved twice by another angler. Well if that's not luck what is! Danny ended up with 545 points, only 10 points behind the joint winners of the day, Richie Fortune, Cobh SAC, and Steve Williams, Wales. There were also some great fish caught. Hans Vermelis of Holland had a 16kg conger. Sandra O' Shea of Cobh SAC had one of 14kg. Two great fish!!

When we got back in the evening we all retired to Kelly's Bar, the sponsors of day 3. It was now clear that the top spot was gravitating towards a number of anglers and the topic of discussion was who was going to come out on top the following day. Danny Kane was in front but hot on his heels were Paul Tennant, a previous winner, Richie Fortune, and Frank Cronin, also a previous winner. Who would win out? The conversation was certainly lively and the slagging something else! However, as the night wore on we could see the weather deteriorating outside and soon enough the rain was dancing off the main window of Kelly's. Friday was going to be a tough one.

Arriving on the pier on Friday morning we were pleasantly surprised; the wind had abated and it was no longer raining. Better news was to follow; we had all expected to be confined to the harbour but it was decided that we could fish from Roches Point west to the Daunt. The journey out, though, was a bit hairy. Today's tide was one of the biggest of the year and as we approached Roches Point the ebb tide was at its height, pushing hard against the breeze that was left; it was quite dirty to say the least. The Lee Star took a wave that frightened the bejaysus out of everyone onboard. Aiden Kneeshaw, skippering for the day, reckoned the boat nearly submarined!!! All he could see as the boat dived into the trough, was green water; how the windscreen held he still doesn't know! Once all boats cleared the harbour mouth, though, it was fine and the sea soon levelled off. We were on the Cuan Ban, skippered by John Barry. John is one of the longest serving charter skippers in the harbour and he was taking us to one of his secret marks on the Daunt. The pressure was on though, as we had Danny Kane onboard.

The fishing for us kicked off fairly well. From the oft Pollack were coming onboard and a better stamp of fish than was apparent all week. A number of nice cod showed aswell, but then as the tide dropped to low the fishing tailed off. At this stage, everyone had a number of fish....except Danny!!! Was the pressure getting to him? The pressure soon mounted as news came in from the Lee Star that Paul Tennant had got off to a great start and had now chalked up over 200 points putting him now in overall lead.

Coming upto the changeover, skipper John Barry suggested a change to a mark closer to the Cork buoy. Here the fishing remained slow as the tide slackened but we managed a few bullhuss. Still Danny remained fishless. He was pulling his hair out at this stage. Then at last, Danny caught a fish....a doggie. Did he have his mojo back? This was to prove just the case as with the turn of the tide Danny started to pick up a few conger. However, he had only an hour left. Was it going to be enough?

In that last hour the pace of the fishing picked up. Richie Fortune, Cobh SAC, and Steve Williams of Wales, both pegged at the aft position really did well. By lines up we hadn't done too bad at all, with over 30 conger, numerous pollack, cod, ling, grey gurnard, bullhuss and lsd's. Fishing in the other boats had picked up aswell with most anglers returning a decent score. As we made our way in, we wondered had Danny done enough to secure victory.

Later that evening we all gathered in the Nightclub in the Commodore Hotel for the prize giving presentation. As per usual, the spread of prizes, trophies, and crystal was indeed impressive. Once all the necessary speeches were over prizes were given out in order of merit from 15th place up....and soon enough it became clear; Danny Kane had indeed won the Festival outright. Well done Danny!!! Along with the main trophy Danny won €1000 in cash. In second place was Paul Tennant who won €400, and in a very creditable third place was Richie Fortune, who won €200. The Ireland B team won the team event and collected a cheque for €400. The team was made up of Danny Kane, Milo Burke, Frank Cronin, and Sandra O' Shea.

The full results are as follows:

1st Danny Kane, Cobh SAC, 1820 pts
2cnd Paul Tennant, Cobh SAC, 1735 pts
3rd Richie Fortune, Cobh SAC, 1480 pts
4th Frank Cronin, Cobh SAC, 1385 pts
5th Pat O' Shea, Cobh SAC, 1300 pts
6th Mick Hade, Ireland, 1245 pts
7th Milo Burke, Cobh SAC, 1150 pts
8th Paul Evans, Wales, 1115 pts
9th Gerard Richardson, Crosshaven SAC, 1065 pts
10th Steve Williams, Wales, 1045 pts
11th Gerard Gersjes, Holland, 995 pts
12th Damien Wall, Dublin, 990 pts
13th Mike Stelling, Wales, 980 pts
14th Tom Johnson, Cork, 965 pts
15th Steve Tyler, Wales, 910 pts

Best Lady Angler: Tina Kneeshaw, Crosshaven SAC, 815 pts

Best Out of State Angler (with free entry to next year's Festival): Paul Evans, Wales, 1115 pts

Heaviest Fish of the Week: 17kg Conger, Bob Crebor, Cork

Heaviest Cod of the Week: 3.5kg, Steve Williams, Wales

Heaviest Conger of the Week: 17kg, Bob Crebor, Cork

Heaviest Ling of the Week: 5.5kg, Tom Johnson, Cork

Heaviest Pollack of the Week: 4.0kg, Sandra O' Shea, Cobh SAC

Most Fish of the Week: 55 Fish, Pat O' Shea, Cobh SAC

Most Species of the Week: 9 Species, Pat O' Shea, Cobh SAC

Winner Monday: Gerard Richardson, Crosshaven SAC, 350 pts
Second Monday: Ruud Boelhouwer, Cobh SAC, 310 pts
Third Monday: Damien Wall, Dublin, 255 pts
Heaviest Fish Monday: 9kg Conger, Gerard Richardson

Winner Tuesday: Danny Kane, Cobh SAC, 835 pts
Second Tuesday: Frank Cronin, Cobh SAC, 800 pts
Third Tuesday: Paul Tennant, Cobh SAC, 745 pts
Heaviest Fish Tuesday: 17kg Conger, Bob Crebor

Winner Thursday: Steve Williams, Wales, 555 pts
Second Thursday: Richie Fortune, Cobh SAC, 555 pts
Third Thursday: Danny Kane, Cobh SAC, 545 pts
Heaviest Fish Thursday: 16kg Conger, Hans Vermelis, Holland

Winner Friday: Paul Tennant, Cobh SAC, 335 pts
Second Friday: Paul Evans, Wales, 330 pts
Third Friday: Pat O' Shea, Cobh SAC, 295 pts
Heaviest Fish Friday: 12.5kg Conger, Mick Hade, Ireland

All in all it was a great week, with great weather, great craic, and above all, great fishing. There were over 1000 fish caught and the breakdown is as follows:

468 Conger
312 Pollack
76 Lesser spotted dogfish
51 Ling
46 Pouting
35 Cod
22 Grey Gurnard
11 Cuckoo Wrasse
6 Coalfish
3 Bullhuss
1 Garfish

Next year's Festival (2011) will be a bit special as it will the 45th year of running the event. It will be run from Monday 5th September to Friday 9th September. Again there will be a cash element to the prizes with €1000 for 1st place, €400 for 2cnd, and €200 for 3rd. The winning team of four will also win €400. If you would like to enter, contact Club Secretary, Mary Geary on 00 353 21 412167 or by email on

Many thanks to club member, Martin O' Leary, for the photography.

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