Ladies first – a mysterious attraction or just plain skill?

At the European Open Beach championships, Stewart Calligan finds himself out-fished in the North Sea by the women.

High tide was around midday at 4.7 metres on both days and the weather behaved itself. Sunday was a glorious sunny spring-like day and wiped away memories of the storms that ruined last year’s European Open here.

After weighing up all the factors I chose Aldborough, near the easier descent down the cliff.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A check at low water had revealed some gulleys and holes which might accumulate fish food and attract the cod.

The wind was blowing a light north easterly with small breaking waves. There was a moderate tide from north to south with the odd bit of weed sticking to the line. Otherwise conditions were perfect.

I had 20 anglers on my left where the tide was already hitting the cliff face. I also had 20 plus to my right disappearing into the distance. At 9am prompt all rods swung into action.

On my immediate left was Cheryl Lace of Driffield and it wasn’t long before her rod tip gave that heart-stopping, rapid pull-pull.

She struck and landed a cod of about two pounds. Not content with that she caught another just to show it was not a fluke.

Another two ladies caught fish further along the coast at the expense of their fishless male neighbours. Was it female pheromones or sheer superior fishing skills?

I am told that ever since the British salmon record was broken by a Miss G Ballantine in 1922 with a 64-pounder, male anglers have gone around whispering about pheromones and never admit that it might be plain skill.

Pheromones are excreted from the skin’s sweat glands and via saliva and urine. How that might be transferred to the lugg worms and squid on the end of my line I don’t know.

I didn’t see any male angler catch anything on my section of the beach on Saturday and before long the rain came down.

At the start of the match further south a feeding bass over six pounds was swimming around in front of Paul Medd of Scarborough in the Out Newton area.

On his first cast at 9am the bass took his bait and was eventually beached after a good fight.

This proved to be the biggest fish caught on the Saturday and was a fine specimen.

Further north Cheryl Robinson of Nafferton was fishing at Ringborough. She was using lugg worms (and perhaps a touch of female pheromones) and caught two nice cod to give her the best weight in the ladies section of the match.

She was quite pleased with her catch as you see in the photo and also with her new title of Ladies European Open Beach Champion.

The second prize in the ladies section went to Mia Pardoe of Beverley with 1,190 kilos of fish.

The flattie bash on the Friday was won by Paul Broderick with a flounder of 109cm.

The new 2011 champion is Phil Darby from Guisborough with 4.220 kilos of cod.

Most of our visitors took home some East Coast mud from the cliff paths which were tricky after all the recent rain and were constantly moving in small and large landslips.

Several pairs of discarded waders and wellingtons stood as silent witness to the danger of soft mud. Their owners had lucky escapes as friends pulled them to safety minus their footwear.

But congratulation to Paul Roggeman and Kieran Lawry, the East Riding Council organisers and their team, for making the event another memorable European weekend on our beautiful Yorkshire coastline.