Wicklow Boat Charters hosted its annual Awards for their customers free competitions recently, held in the Bridge Tavern, Wicklow, many prizes were awarded in numerous categories while guests enjoyed complimentary food and drinks. This is the fifth year that Kit Dunne, Skipper & Owner, has hosted the presentation to anglers for their outstanding results during the year. Since its inception in 2012, Wicklow Boat Charters has put Wicklow firmly on the Angling map as a quality sea angling destination. Wicklow’s prime fishing attracts groups from all over Ireland, and overseas including Germany, USA and the Netherlands in particular. With 40 different species recorded to date, an Irish Record in 2015, hundreds of Irish specimen fish every year Wicklow has proved to be Irelands top Specimen Fish destination.
Angling was at its best this year and it showed with an increase in numbers especially in young anglers. With youth incentives from Inland Fisheries Ireland, Wicklow Boat Charters and the local Club Wicklow Bay SAC many new faces were treated to a new pastime, fun fishing, banter and some amazing catches.
Junior anglers showed great interest and commitment this year, with many making some fine catches, breaking their pbs and claiming Irish Specimen fish. It was encouraging to see the well-deserved winners take their prizes. Alex Kelly and Emma Lowth took the top 2 junior prizes for their double figure Specimen Smoothounds. Many senior anglers fish for years trying to get the illusive double figure fish and these 2 budding young anglers made it look easy. In the Wicklow Bay SAC section, the young anglers showed great enthusiasm and all worked hard and listened to the coaches. Aaron Cullinan, Oisin Dunne, Eoin Doyle and Ben Cullinan collected their well-deserved prizes on the day for their respective catches.
Shark Fishing was new to Wicklow Boat Charters in 2017 and the results continue to improve, Joey Brady collected the top prize as he made history this year by claiming 2 Irish Specimen Blue Shark up to 130lb weight. Gary Blake took his prize for his Blue Shark and Porbeagle Shark double, while Stan Ryan and David Quirke got the biggest Porbeagle Sharks weighing in at about 100lb. Although the shark numbers were down this year the fish were a lot bigger than recent years. Hopefully 2020 will see more improvement.
On the Specimen fishing front, the best Specimen fish went to Willie Roache for a Smoothound of 22.2lbs. This was the first 20lb+ Hound landed on the East Coast. Des Chew was 2nd with a Spurdog of 19.5lb. Willie and Des are of course both employees of Inland Fisheries Ireland and it is fitting to say that these guys can also fish. Tom Lynch and Dan Smith were presented with 2 special awards for reaching their respective 50th Irish Specimen Fish this year, this is a milestone in any anglers career.
The best Newcomer prize went to Darren Kelly who had exceptional year and introduced 3 Family generations to fishing. Best overseas angler prize went to Germany this year, Mike Wheeler took the prize for his Irish Specimen Smooth Hound and Tope. Mike and his friends from Germany, the Netherlands and England have fished a week in Wicklow for the last 7 years.
Wicklow Boat Charters have a unique ‘Animal / Sport fishing’ product which is highly attractive to anglers. It not only attracts local anglers, many overseas anglers come repeatedly contributing hugely to the Wicklow economy and to the sea angling product in Ireland. Failte Ireland, County Wicklow Tourism and other tourism bodies need to work hard to protect develop and embrace angling in light of proposed major inshore developments.
In the 2019 season Nearly 300 tope were caught, over 800 Smooth Hound, 103 Spurdog, 30 Blue Shark up to 130lb, 8 Porbeagle Shark to 100lb, and 175 Irish Specimen fish were recorded. At least 1000 anglers took to the sea from Wicklow contributing to the 40 different species recorded to date.
Wicklow has the potential to develop its Angling even more, Wicklow Boat Charters are currently looking at the potential for wreck fishing in the Irish Sea, after a successful 30 mile trip this year the indications are good. Check out Sea Angler Magazine Dec-Jan issue page 46 for a recent wreck fishing article.
With the continued support of local businesses it will continue to grow. Thanks to Inland Fisheries Ireland, The Bridge Tavern, Halpin’s Guesthouse, and Wicklow Bay SAC, and of course our customers for all their support.
COMPETITION RESULTS 2019
Big Thanks to Inland Fisheries Ireland The Bridge Tavern, and all Customers for their continued support.
- Joey Brady, 2 No. Specimen Blue Shark to 130lb, 1.93M long. Lots of species, shore Tope, Southside Fish of the Month etc.
- Gary Blake, Best Shark Capture on Camera. Lots of species, Blue & Porgie on the day, very near Grand-Slam
BEST SPECIMEN FISH
- 1st Willie Roache, Smooth Hound 22.2lb.
- 2nd Des Chew, Spurdog 19.5lb
SPECIAL SPECIMEN FISH
- 1st Dan Smith, 3 Spurdog & 3 Smooth Hound, plus 50th Specimen Award.
- 2nd Tom Lynch, Spurdog, Smooth Hound, plus 50th Specimen Award.
BEST OVERSEAS ANGLER
- 1st Mike Wheeler, Specimen Tope 41lb 161cm, Specimen Hound 11.1lb
BEST NEW ANGLER
- Darren Kelly, Massive results in 2 years, Tope, Specimen Hounds
- BEST JUNIORS
BEST SPECIMEN ; Alex Kelly, 2 Specimen Smooth Hound 12.6lb, 11.5lb
- BEST LADY ; Emma Lowth, Specimen Smooth Hound.
- Aaron Cullinan, Inquisitive & Super Keen, Questioned everything 😊
- Oisin Dunne, Super Keen & Independent, 100% attendance
- Eoin Doyle, Great Shore & Boat Angler now, The Smile said it all
- Ben Cullinan, Showed signs of a great angler