Tony Tait (and Martyn Rainer skipper of Screaming Reels which won the competition) report on this year’s Martin O’Brien Memorial Festival which attracted 8 boats and 21 anglers…

Although weather put some crews off entering as the initial forecast wasn’t great, this year’s festival resulted in 26 different species of fish being being recorded (each species had to make ts size limit to count).

Day 1 of the festival was restricted due to the weather strong SW winds had been blowing for 3 days and weren’t due to ease until later in the day. The restriction was N 51 43′ 500 and W 08 14′ 000 – No boats allowed south of the Daunt Rock or East of Trabolgan.
In the end no boats ventured outside the harbour, they remained inside the shelter of Roches Point trying to catch some of the resident harbour species such as dabs, plaice, flounder, blennies and many other species.
The boat that won day 1 catching 7 species inside the harbour was Short Fuse. Bad Boy had engine problems in the afternoon losing 2 hours fishing time and had to be towed back to Aghada Pier by Sea Witch.

Martyn tell us that Screaming Reel’s first day was tough, as it was for everyone else, “Conditions were not nice at times and restricted where you could fish comfortably. We started on the bank for our flats, and as happened all weekend, the flats were there but after being trawled a couple of weeks ago they were all pretty small, only 3 people managed to get a plaice in over the limit. We had flounder, gobies, silver eel, whiting, goldsinney , all undersized, it was that kind of day”.

On Day 2 the weather had improved, as the forecasters had predicted, with light variable winds. There were no restrictions so anglers could now get to their favourite marks. Bad Boy was back having had its engine problem sorted. There was a heavy swell further offshore keeping most small boats speed to 18 knots or less, but it did not stop boats getting to the Ling Rocks. Sea Witch managed 14 species on day 2 but was beaten by Screaming Reels who caught 16 species.

Martyn reports that although the wind eased, there was still a confused sea waiting for us as they passed Roches Point, “We headed to a wreck to anchor up for some pout and wrasse, and soon had a fine pout onboard.  In a short time we had 8 species onboard, good start ! We then headed to our regular stamping grounds north of the Ling rocks for some drift fishing. For the first 20 minutes we didn’t have a bite, very worrying, but they started to come and more importantly each fish that came aboard was a different species, happy days. After we had completed the drift we had hit 14 species, so we moved to the Lings to pick up our pollock and cuckoo wrasse. This we did and we were on 16 species by 1400. We decided to try for a grey gurnard, as we had picked up a few but all undersized, and this continued.  As it was coming up to high water we headed in to try for our plaice again. Even with treble shots of flats we could not get one in size, frustrating but that’s the way it goes. Overall, happy with the result considering the conditions, the mackerel are now in the “Annoying” bracket, often snatching your carefully prepared baits on the way to the bottom, and as on the bank, snaffling the baits on the bottom !!”

We would both like to thank Sue and Tony Tait, the comp was run like clockwork, a lot of hard work goes into making it run smoothly. It was great to see the rules allow for photo and release the congers, verify and release rays, nice to see no dead congers after the weigh in, not a pleasent sight to the many members of the public who come in to see the weigh in.

Having won this competition in 2010 the first year it was established and again in 2012 the winners have again shown their angling skills and local knowledge of the Cork Harbour area. An so it is congratulations once again to the winning team skipper Martyn Rayner and Siert Schuls onboard Screaming Reels with their catch of 19 different species over 2 days at the 2013 Martin O’Brien Memorial Festival.

Well done to Abigail Donnelly who won the junior section on board her father’s boat Reefer catching 7 different species of fish.

Thanks to the weigh in team Kieran O’Keeffe, Donal Domeney, Catherine Donnelly, Sue Tait. The anglers donated €80.00 to the Crosshaven RNLI.

Courtesy of Boat-Angling-Ireland.