The preparation, the anticipation and for the lucky some, the splendid sensation of being a winner is what the European Open Beach Championship is all about.
The annual march to our beaches is widely regarded as the largest three-day beach angling event in Europe and once again it attracted anglers from across the continent.
The five-metre tide coupled with a light southerly wind was good news for organisers Paul Roggeman and Kieran Lawry of East Riding of Yorkshire Council. The previous two years were atrocious and for the conditions to be fine and sunny with not too much swell or weed was a bonus.
Hundreds of anglers lined up for the event between Spurn and Bridlington and joining in the buzz and talking to our European neighbours - who do wonders for the local economy during their stay - was an interesting experience.
Rubbing shoulders with anglers from Ireland, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, Portugal and France, means each angler has the chance to exchange valuable information, tactics, skills and new techniques.
Some teams have a uniform; all red or black with coats of arms and fishing clubs, and pride in their clubs is taken seriously.
What’s also great is that our European cousins buy bait and tackle, stay in our mobile homes, chalets, pubs and hotels, fuel up their cars, use the Hull docks to arrive and depart and best of all they buy fish and chips. This type of revenue at a slack time of the year is very welcome. We have a unique rural coast line in East and North Yorkshire and the more that know about it the better.
With the weather almost perfect for fishing, nearly 100 fish were weighed in on the Saturday with cod being the dominant fish, bass in second place and flat fish taking third. The best catches came from the central marks - Mappleton to Withernsea. Some thought this was due to the small tide as in recent years the southerly marks south of Withernsea have produce the most fish on larger tides.
The atmosphere on the beaches was very jovial with anglers and the public exchanging yarns and pleasantries. Anglers were spoilt for choice, with more than 40 miles of coastline to choose from.
The attraction of beach match fishing is not obvious to all but the satisfaction comes from hooking something big and pitting your wits against all the obstacles of nature and choice of tackle. The kudos earned amongst fishing colleagues for consistently good catches plays its part too, so does the personal pride and sense of achievement which must come from our primeval hunting instincts - and perhaps the lure of thousands of pounds of prize money adds to the motivation.
On the Saturday local angler Paul Medd from Scarborough weighed in a very handsome cod of 3.36kg which he’d caught south of Hornsea. Lots of cod were weighed-in on the Saturday as the sea was pretty good. Ten to 20 flatties were caught around the Hornsea area and bass were evident along most of the coast. The best bass was caught by Steve Moulds from Rise near Hornsea with a 2.8kg fish in prime condition. The best fish on Sunday was caught by Hull’s Philip Tong with a 3kg thorny backed ray.
Finally, the 2014 crown went to Phil Harrison of Aldborough who had the best weight of fish over the two days and deserved his success in what was said to be an excellent turn out of anglers, all with a keen competitive edge in the best conditions for three years.
My next fishing expedition will be on my trusty boat, ‘Mystique.’ I hope to be out in the North Sea for Easter producing more ‘fishy’ tales.