Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Festival

Well its all over for another year and what a week it was! The competition went right down to the wire, but in the end Danny Kane prevailed! Yes, he's done it again! Danny Kane is champion for the second year on the trot!

Fair play to Danny! This comes two weeks after his great result in the national boat masters. You can't say he's fluky anymore. Mind you, there are those that say that he definitely does have lady lucky smiling on him. On the final day Danny was in the top ten but a specimen conger of 19kg in the last few hours of the competition lifted him above the rest. This gave him 195 points and lifted him up the table. In the end his winning margin over the runner-up was a mere 55 points.

You'd have to feel sorry for young Cian Ryan, though. Cian was juvenile munster champion a mere few years ago and certainly has the credentials to give Danny a run for his money. Coming into the final day Cian was leading the table. It did look like it was going to be Cian's year. However, a number of seasoned anglers, Danny included, pulled out all the stops on the Friday and pushed Cian down to 5th place. Unlucky Cian; maybe next year. At least, the experience will stand to you.

It was a tough week, though. At times the fishing was tough. This was mainly down
to the weak tides as we fished neaps all week. However, this was further compounded by the weather which was crap. A series of gales hit the fishing grounds over the week and the anglers took a battering. Although, most anglers struggled everyday there was, at least, one boat everyday that did bring in good results; so it wasn't all bad.

On the opening day of the Festival, 52 anglers gathered early on the pier and boarded the waiting charter boats promptly. Six boats of the Cork Harbour
Angling Hub charter boat fleet were used and were well equipped to deal with the inclement weather. Although, Monday started off okay the forecast wasn't great and it was decided to make the most of initial conditions and get outside the Harbour. The Smiths reef were declared the fishing grounds for the day and it was hoped that this would allow for some quality fishing on at least one day in the event of the boats

being confined to the Harbour for the remainder.

Although, all boats managed to stay on the Smiths reef, some 7kms off Roches Point, conditions during the day deteriorated dramatically. By evening a full blown gale had developed and sea conditions were building with wave heights in excess of 3 metres. Four of the six boats struggled with poor fishing. However, two boats hit a bit of a gold vein with plenty of individual scores in excess of 500 points. 1st place for the day went to Richie Fortune of Cobh SAC with 535 points; 2nd went to Steve Williams of Wales with 520 pts; and 3rd went to Tom Johnson of Ireland with
510 pts. Tom Johnson also recorded the heaviest fish of the day with a 11.5kg conger.
It was with great relief that many of the anglers greeted the call for lines up and when we retired to Tradewinds Restaurant for the evening there was many a body that was black and blue from trying to counter the motion of the sea. What harm; the craic and banter that was had in Tradewinds certainly made up for the hardships of the day and, as the band played on into the evening, most anglers unwound with a few pints of well earned Guinness and stories of the one that got away!

Day 2 and remnants of the overnight gale certainly blew the cobwebs away for most. An attempt was made to make it to the offshore marks but, with a heavy sea running and the boats taking a battering on the outward trek, a decision was
made to turn back to more sheltered waters. The fishing grounds were to be the Harbour mouth and the coastal reefs of Guileen and Trabolgan. Again, the pattern of the day before was repeated; some boats struggled but one or two had good fishing. Having said that there were more zero scores today. Seasoned angler, Pat O' Shea of Cobh SAC, was to get a duck-egg; the first of his career! Chairman of the club, John O'Reilly, was to have a cracker of a day. John came first with 415 points and
also had the heaviest fish, a 15kg conger. 2nd was Ruud Boelhouwer of Holland with 395 pts, and
3rd was Bobby Crebor of Carrigaline SAC with 330 pts.

With gale force winds, squally conditions, and heavy downpours the anglers were certainly battered once more. However, spirits were lifted when all gathered at the post match venue of Ryan's bar. Again the craic and banter was superb. With 'Buster' entertaining with his vast repetoire of songs, sea shanties, and ballads into the wee hours, all thoughts of a tough day were soon forgotten about.
The following day, Wednesday, was a rest day. That night all anglers gathered in O'Sheas Bar at the Commodore Hotel for Trad night. Traditional Irish band, Something Simple, gave rousing renditions of 'auldies' and Irish. This talented trio were superb! As the anglers got stuck into the traditional fare of 'crubeens,' conversation drifted towards the anticipated remaining two days. Frank Burke's crubeens had hair on it! That's the second year on the trot!!! (...if you pardon the pun). Was it to be an certainly was, as on the next day Frank put in one of his
best career performances in these Internationals to date!

Day 3, Thursday and not a bad day weather wise, or so it was forecast. It started off okay and this allowed the boats to get out to the outer reefs. The fishing grounds were decided as the Pollack Rock reef, a reef system that extends east of Power Head towards Ballycotton. The fishing was quite good with plenty of pollack, ling, conger, and cod showing. However, as the day progressed the winds started to build; as did the sea-state. By lines up, the anglers were once again glad to be homeward bound. Cian Ryan, fishing onboard the Lee Star, had a cracker of a day landing pollack one after the other to end up with 450 points. This put him in pole position going into the final day. Frankie Burke also had a great day. It must have been the 'crubeen.' Frank had landed eight fine congers to give him 435 points and second place. Third place went to veteran Fred Vickery from Crosshaven SAC. Mike Hade landed the heaviest fish of the day, a fine 13kg conger. On shore everyone headed to Kelly's bar where once again a great evening was had by all. With an earlier start to the last day most headed home that bit earlier than usual; all except Danny and the Welsh lads.

On the final day, the forecast put paid to any thoughts of making the better marks offshore. Stiffs winds from
the south east forced a decision to limit fishing to the harbour area and marks within 1 mile of Roches Point. With such restrictions it was initially thought that Cian Ryan was safe on the top spot; nobody could chalk up enough points to knock him off his pedestal...or so it seemed. It wasn't to be, though; Danny Kane had a storming day, topped off by catching a specimen conger (not an easy specimen to catch and the first specimen conger in the Festival in many years). Most of the boats fished the Harbour Rock initially, but
Danny was on
board the Wreck Hunter. Skipper Joe Lynch opted instead to fish one of his marks close to Trabolgan. By lunchtime this didn't seem so good as there was only one fish onboard but all of a sudden the conger came on the feed. A steady flow of fish came onboard for the afternoon topped off by that monster conger.
That fish alone was worth 195 points for Danny and helped him to leapfrog over half a dozen anglers to put him in top spot overall. Top spot earns Danny €1,000!!! On the day Danny came in second spot with 450 points, with Milo Burke first with 475 points, and Con Cronin in third with 390 points. All three
anglers were on the one boat. Heaviest fish was, of course, Danny's conger.

So concluded a week of extraordinary fishing and the final results were as follows:
1st Danny Kane, Cobh SAC, 1270 pts
2nd Steve Williams, Wales, 1215 pts
3rd Tom Johnson, Ireland, 1140 pts
4th Paul Tennant, Cobh SAC, 1100 pts
5th Cian Ryan, Cobh SAC, 1075 pts
6th Fred Vickery, Crosshaven SAC, 1055 pts
7th Milo Burke, Cobh SAC, 1005 pts
8th Pat O' Shea, Cobh SAC, 875 pts
9th John Slynne, Carrigaline SAC, 860 pts
10th Bob Crebor, Carrigaline SAC, 820 pts
11th Sean Og McShane, Cobh SAC, 810 pts
12th Richie Fortune, Cobh SAC, 800 pts
13th Con Cronin, Cobh SAC, 800 pts
14th John O' Reilly, Cobh SAC, 780 pts
15th Frank Burke, Cobh SAC, 775 pts

Best Pollack, 3.0kg, Bob Crebor, Ire
Best Ling, 4.5kg, Tony Maguire, Ire
Most No. of Conger, Tom Johnson, Ire, 19 conger
Best Edible Bag, 52kg, Pat O' Shea, Ire
Most Species, Andrew Tucker, Wales, 8 Species
Best Cod, 4.0kg, Bob Crebor, Ire
Best No. of Fish, Pat O' Shea, Ire, 48 fish
Best 'Out of State' angler, Steve Williams, Wales, 1215 pts
Best Lady, Tina Kneeshaw, Ire, 685 pts
Best Junior, Ml. Lane, Ire, 650 pts
Heaviest fish of the week, 19.0kg conger, Danny Kane
Best Skipper, Alan Kennedy, Lagosta II

Plans are already afoot in organising next years event. Next year the tides will be springs so the fishing should be much better and the scoring should be much higher. If you'd fancy entering why not contact our club secretary. Mary Geary, at 00-353-21-4812167. C'mon, you know it's good for you!!!

A big thanks to Martin O' Leary who, once again, did all the photography for the week. Aswell as the photos here Martin has uploaded more than 175 pics of the week on our facebook page (Cobh Sac).


  1. well done all from The Small Boats Of Sheppey! Great report & great reading!!! All the best Mick Gransden..

  2. Thanks Mick; why not give it a shot yourself next year?