This year’s Cork Small Boat Festival was fished in almost Mediterranean conditions with slack winds, blue skies and warm sunshine. This meant the 20 small boat crews taking part could fish unrestricted for the 4 days of competition fishing which started on Sunday 21/09.
The number of species caught throughout the event this year totalled 45 with 43 returned during the competition fishing. Such was the quality of the fishing and the skill of the anglers that no fewer that 5 boats finished on 30 species, but this was not enough for the win which ultimately went to Escapade with 31 species for 61lbs.
The competition was off to a great start on Sunday and Bass Hunter put down an early marker taking 17 species. Fresh from a four in row at the Rosslare Festival and as last year’s Cork Small Boat Festival champions there was no doubting that Screaming Reels would pass this early lead and so on day 2 they were looking very good with 24 species. But with each passing day more boats established strong positions on the leaderboard. On the final day there a dozen boats all in position to challenge for first place, being only 5 species behind the joint leaders Escapade (ahead on weight) and Screaming Reels. And although many ended up matching Escapade’s 30 species from day three, the winning boat managed an extra species that gave them the competition.
Some of the unusual fish for Cork Harbour taken this year were blueies, triggerfish and smoothhound, though ironically it was the difficulty in catching some of the “easy” fish like the mullets and blonde ray that made the difference for many many of the challengers.
At a very lively awards ceremony in Trabolgan where the prizes were presented by sponsors Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Cork Small Boats Festival organisers gave thanks to Trabolgan Holiday Village which hosts the event, the Long Point, Tronix, Dennetts, Diawa, Henrys Tackle Shop, Dublin Angling Centre, Bella Vista Angling Centre and the RLNI who sponosred the prizes for the competition.