Irish boat ‘Screaming Reels’ from Cork wins Rosslare Small Boats Festival for eight time

 The Irish boat ‘Screaming Reels’ has won the Rosslare Small Boats Festival for a record eight year in what was a very tight competition.  This is the sixth year in a row that the crew from Rosie’s Sea Angling Club from Midleton in Cork, who first started fishing the competition in 2008, has won. They beat 43 other boats from Britain and Ireland catching 30 different species of fish for 28.03 kilos. This prestigious competition generates in the region of €300,000 for the local economy, bringing jobs and employment to Wexford.

Winners of the Rosslare Small Boats Festival 'Screaming Reels from Midleton, Cork
Josie Mahon (Inland Fisheries Ireland), Neville Murphy, Martyn Rayner from the ‘Screaming Reels’ Boat, with John Belger (UK Organiser of the Rosslare Small Boats Festival) and Seirt Shultz from ‘Screaming Reels’


Sponsored by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Garmin, DAIWA, Wexford County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Sea Angler magazine and IPB Insurance, the 31st festival attracted more than 138 anglers from Wales, Scotland, Isle of Wight, Manchester, Liverpool and Portsmouth as well as domestic anglers from Ireland. The high standard of competition, combined with a quality angling product, continues to attract the best boat anglers in Great Britain and Ireland in what is now regarded as the finest small boat fishing competition in Europe. This was evident again this year with 12 new boats attending the Festival, with many coming from Wales.

Weather conditions on the day were challenging with gale force winds delaying the start of the competition. The winds eased during the week allowing boats to be launched from Kilmore Quay every day enabling them to target all species. The competition was fierce and the boats recorded up to 21 species on the first day (a new record) with the boat ‘Even Less’ in the lead for the first two days. This continued throughout the week with many boats neck and neck over a number of days.

One third of the boats caught 22 different types of fish species with 36 different fish species recorded in total throughout the festival. It was ‘Screaming Reels’ from Midleton, Cork however who got to the finish line first with 30 species of fish after four days fishing. The heaviest fish was a bull huss of 6.25kgs caught by Ralph Barkley on the boat ‘Seeker’.

The winning boat ‘Screaming Reels’ consisted of crew Martyn Rayner (skipper) Seirt Shults and Neville Murphy who have continued to raise the bar of the Rosslare Small Boats Fishing Competition.  Second place went to the boat ‘Even Less’ (Wesley Lewis, Steve Mills and Steve Arnold) from Gosport Angling Club in Portsmouth with 28 species for 16.10 kilos.  In third place was ‘Joe 90’ (John Meaning, Dave Weatherby and Graham Cuff) from the Isle of Wight with 26 species for 21.16 kilos.

Angler Martyn Rayner holds a smoothound at Inland Fisheries Ireland's marine tank at Rosslare Small Boats Festival
Martyn Rayner, skipper of the winning boat Screaming Reels, with a specimen smoothound at the Inland Fisheries Ireland fish tank.


Inland Fisheries Ireland was present at the event with a marine fish tank for the purpose of displaying fish species that were caught during the competition. Staff from Inland Fisheries Ireland were on hand to educate the public about the fish species on offer from Kilmore Quay. The educational benefits of the marine tank and practising catch and release for marine species are hugely beneficial in terms of conservation and creating public awareness of Ireland’s marine resource. The public were able to view marine fish such as ballan wrasse, smoothound, gurnard and dabs which were kept in the fish tank and released back into their marine habitat alive. An overwhelming effort was made by anglers to release marine species back alive to the ocean, which was hugely supported by Kilmore Quay harbour master and staff at Wexford County Council.

Angler Dave Weatherby with a ballan wrasse at Kilmore Quay during Rosslare Small Boats Festival.
Dave Weatherby with a ballan wrasse at Kilmore Quay. Dave’s boat ‘Joe 90’ from the Isle of Wight came third in the Rosslare Small Boats Festival.

The prize giving ceremony took place at ‘Redmond’s The Bay, where there were fantastic prizes worth in the region of €20,000 on offer including fishing equipment, cash prizes and engraved trophies. A presentation was made to the RNLI in Kilmore Quay who were represented by Johnny Moore who anglers thanked for their generosity.

John Belger, UK organiser of the competition said: ‘I would like to congratulate all competitors on their success at the 31st Rosslare Small Boats festival. I would also like to thank our sponsors Garmin, DAIWA, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Wexford County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Sea Angler magazine and IPB Insurance for their generosity and look forward to seeing you all next year’. 

Competitors at Rosslare Small Boats Festival at Inland Fisheries Ireland's marine fish tank.
Competitors in Rosslare Small Boats Festival at Inland Fisheries Ireland’s marine fish tank.

The Rosslare Small Boats Festival 2017 will take place from the 9th – 16th September 2017.  Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to invite all small boat anglers to take part. Further information is available from: John Belger, 98 Dunbar Road, Southport PR8 4RL, UK. Phone: 00441704566195 or email: [email protected] or Ms. Josie Mahon, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Tel: 01 8842 600 or email [email protected]. Visit or