Warren Doyle reports from the 32nd Irish Winter Shore Festival:

The last weekend in January sees the cream of the Shore Angling fraternity converge on the tiny hamlet of Kilmuckridge in the County of Wexford for the Annual Irish Winter Shore Angling Festival. This year’s event was the 32nd.

Once again Tronixpro were the sponsors & a very generous prize table was on offer.

The final turnout was slightly down on last year at 112 which included 4 ladies & 1 junior. Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Latvia & Lithuania were represented. The anglers had been arriving from early in the week & those who had taken the opportunity to have some practice reported that fish were scarce. This was thought to be the result of the current unusually calm weather with no wind, flat calm sea & short tidal movement.

The entry was divided into 4 zones & the first venue stretched from Ballinoulart down into Morriscastle, one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

The day started with a heavy fog & as predicted the fishing was very slow & at the finish there were a number of blanks but ‘the tough got going’. Zone winners were Gareth Griffiths, Seán Murray, Paul Whelan & Matt White who took the superpool with 14 fish for 388 points.

Gordi Hardman displays one of his fish

Longest round  was a 49cm codling for Bill Lindfield followed by our junior Max Roche with a 42cm fish. Best flat was a 32cm flounder for Arunas Cirkelis.

Day 2 had the anglers split between Clones Strand/Kilgorman & Dodd’s Rocks/Kiltennel & once again the fishing was scratchy. There were short spurts of catching followed by long periods of nothing. The sun shone for a good period but the sea was flat with hardly a ripple & the fish slept! As always there are some good bags recorded & the zone winners were Paul Whelan, Paul Heffernan, Ged Stevens who took the superpool with 23 fish for 699 points & Jane Cantwell one of our lady anglers putting in a great performance to win zone A.

Competitors on Clones strand

Longest round was a 41cm codling captured by lady angler Lesley Maby & best flats were 33cm flounders caught by Joe Byrne & Mark Shortt.

Last year’s champion Paul Whelan was now in pole position with 2 zone wins. Ged Stevens followed 1 point behind & Gareth Griffiths a further point adrift. ‘The tough’ had certainly got going!

The final session was fished on Ballinesker Beach. This is normally a tough venue & the anglers were not to be disappointed. There were a few ‘hot spots’ but in general the dearth of fish continued. Despite the general lack of fish the best bags of the week were recorded. Zone winners were Joe Wales, Barry Roche, Ben Arnold & Chris Clark with 31 fish for 782 points.

Longest round was a 33cm Coalfish for Peter Taite & longest flat was a 37cm flounder for Dave Farrelly followed by a 34cm fish for lady angler Pat Shortt.

When the final calculations were done it was Paul Whelan who topped the entry with 88 points winning a Tronix Xenon Match Rod & the Waterford Glass Vase. This was Paul’s second win in 2 years & his third in 4 years, some achievement.  In second place was Gareth Griffiths only 2 points behind taking Tronix Xenon Power Rod & the runner’s up vase. Third was Ged Stevens a further 2 points away taking a Tronix Aphex Light Rod & the third place vase.

From left to right: Warren Doyle, Paul Whelan, Gareth Griffiths, Ged Stevens, George McCullough

Best lady was Jane Cantwell receiving an Aphex Light Rod.

The 2 man team was won by Matt White & Ged Stevens.

The 4 man team was won by Chris Clark, Richard Yates, Saul Page & John Wells.

The organisers wish to thank everyone that participated & those who gave their time with the organisation of the event. A special thanks to Tronix for their continued support.

A special thanks also to those who sponsored the event or donated prizes for the fundraising raffle namely, Viking Tackle, Malcolm Newitt, Inland Fisheries Ireland & the members of EFSA Ireland.

Another year completed! We look forward to welcoming you again next year.