A cold and blustery day welcomed organisers and participants for the inaugural IT Sligo/RNLI shore angling competition, hosted at Streedagh Beach on Monday 3rd December. The event was organized by students of IT Sligo, who are studying for their Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure. The aim of the day was to raise funds for the RNLI, and also to highlight the great angling resource that is the Sligo coastal zone.

Aisling Gillen and Arlene Palmer, Failte Ireland display their catch

The event organizers attracted teams from a wide range of back rounds, including; The Sligo Champion, Land and Sea Sports, Point Break Surf School, Call of the Wild, M.V. Spirit, Inland Fisheries Ireland, RNLI, IT Sligo, Failte Ireland and Discovery Sligo Tours. By pooling such a wide variety of participants together on the day, the Students were able to highlight the huge range of out door activities and providers which are available in the Sligo coastal zone and to allow participants to try out a new activity.

Once the team pegs were drawn, the mainly novice participants were given a crash course in bait and tackle preparation, angling methods, safety and casting techniques by the very helpful crew from Sligo Sea Shore Angling School, who facilitated the competition, providing all tackle and baits for the competitors.

The competitors took to their pegs in very ‘trying’ conditions, with strong cross shore gusts and the occasional wintery shower. However, all were well catered for as the Students had come prepared, serving up coffee, soup and home made bread to keep the chill and hunger at bay.  Despite the conditions, spirits remained high among the competitors, as the fish slowly began to appear. In the end, it was the team representing M.V. Spirit, comprising of Mark Berthwick and Francis May who won first place and were presented with the IT Sligo/RNLI Perpetual Trophy, and fishing permits for the Moy Fishery. The RNLI/Student team claimed second place and in third was Aisling Gillen and Arlene Palmer of Team Failte Ireland, who also received trophies for their success.

Mark Berthwick displays a sample of his catch, which helped win first place for Team M.V. Spirit in the competition.

IT Sligo Recreation and Leisure lecturer Kerry Larkin said there’s ‘massive potential’ in the development of sea angling and other water based sports along the northwest coastal zone; “We’ve seen how surfing has attracted people from all over the world to this coast, and sea angling can do the same,” he said. “The competition was organised to show how accessible an activity it is and to showcase the fantastic resource we have in the coast.”

I would like to congratulate the Students who organized this event and were able to attract so many participants on a cold December day, thanks to all those who sponsored the event and a very special thanks to the staff of  Sligo Sea Shore Angling School for their efforts, without whom the event would not have been a success. For more information on organising shore fishing tuition or lessons provided please see www.sligoseashorefishingschool.com.

All fish caught were safely released following measurement as this was a catch and release competition.

Prize winners, competitors and event organisers at the recent shore angling competition.