The pale winter sun shimmered off the virtually calm sea, but all was not calm on the beach, 8-50 a.m. it was nearly time for the start of the Daiwa British Junior Championship.
An hour earlier I had been in a crowded room at the Northfield Country Club, Withernsea, as the draw was made, within minutes the room was empty as competitors made their way to the beach. I waited for the car park to clear and then followed, and after a short drive I found myself on the promenade looking down and along the beach, watching the flurry of activity as the junior anglers got ready for the off.
As a Daiwa consultant I get to see a wide range of events, but this was my first sea match and I was really looking forward to watching the juniors in action. If their skill matched their enthusiasm I wouldn’t fancy my chances as a North Sea whiting.
The Holderness coast can be an inhospitable place, but on this November morning it was a perfect day for a junior event. Mild, sunny, with just a gentle south-westerly breeze. Perhaps for the experienced sea angler, not ideal catching conditions. For the juniors, conditions they could easily cope with, but would the recent run of whiting put in an appearance or maybe even an elusive cod? It was brilliant to see the excitement and enthusiasm from not only the competitors, but also from the parents, supporters and marshals.
The four hour match scheduled to make the best of the 11 o’clock tide got underway and I went along the beach taking pictures. It was interesting to see the range of tactics with some going short with smaller baits to others straining every muscle to get well out with single larger baits. Lug worm and fish baits seemed to be the most popular bait choice, usually on two hook rigs.
I suspect the recent run of big whiting was on a lot of angler’s minds, but unfortunately they weren’t showing in numbers. Gradually fish were being caught with flounders, rockling, and small whiting making up the weights. I had a great day walking the beach and generally watching the event. It was superbly organised and marshalled and the whole day had a lovely feel to it, a perfect mix of fun and competition.
Back at a crowded Northfield Club there was the usual anxious wait as results were correlated, then it was time for the announcements and presentations. For the record there were over 50 fish caught, a mixture of whiting, flounders and rockling.
4 fish for 114cm
3 fish for 74cm
2 fish for 65cm
2 fish for 65cm
Under 12 winner:
Owen Wilkinson (as above)
Ben Hoff, 35cmWhiting and Dan Hooley, 35cm Flounder
Soon it was time to go, I’d had a great day, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I’d had the privilege of watching some very keen and talented young anglers in action. The event had been superbly organised by Paul Jefferson, Rob Neale and the members of the Hull Commercial Sea Angling Club. The following day would be the turn of the adults, in the Daiwa Open Beach Championship, I hoped they would have as good a day.