An estimated 240 competitors will hope to reel in some success this November when they flock to Wexford’s coastline for the 2016 World Shore Angling Championships.
Teams of anglers from countries across the globe will compete over a full week on beaches dotted along the Wexford coast. This year’s event, which is organised by the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers, will prove to be particularly significant as it is the first time that an Irish all-female team will take part.
Kilgorman, Ballinoulart, Morriscastle, Ballineskar, Curracloe, White Hole, Ballyhealy, Rostoontown, Rosslare Strand and Burrow have been earmarked as suitable beaches for the competition, along with Wicklow North beach and Woodstown in Waterford. Decisions on where competitors are to cast their lines will be determined according to tides on the day.
While competitors will arrive from faraway shores such as South Africa, Portugal and Spain, the Irish team will include some anglers from much closer to home. Killinick man Martin Howlin will serve as team captain while Courtown’s Joe Byrne is also one of the team members. On the women’s team, Jane Cantwell from Wexford town will fly the flag for her county.
Commenting on the upcoming championships, Martin Howlin said that Wexford were very lucky to get the opportunity to host it.
‘We had the bid against other parts of Ireland so it is great that we were awarded the opportunity to hold it in Wexford,’ said Martin, who will serve as team captain for the second time. ‘The beaches in Wexford are very suitable for hosting major championships as the beaches are very even so nobody has one real advantage against another.’
Martin and Joe also fished in the competition last year and helped the Irish team to take home a gold medal. Martin said that the Irish team should have a good chance of taking a medal this year.
Organised by the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers in association with Abbey Tours and hosted by the IFSA Leinster Branch, the championship will run for a full week from November 12 to 19, with many of the competitors and their families expected to arrive a week early to practice. This will be the second time that the Championships are to be held in Wexford, as the first one of its kind took place in the county.
Business Development Manager with Abbey Events Greg Carew said that their visit will provide a huge boost for the local economy.
‘We estimate that it will result in 3,000 bed nights for Wexford. Considering that it is midweek and mid-November, this will be fantastic for the town,’ he said. ‘We hope to make a good impression and hopefully, attract similar events here in the future.’
The event will kick off on Saturday November 12, with a parade of the nations through Wexford town and an opening ceremony at the National Opera House. This year, three new nations will take part: Poland, Cyprus and Turkey.
The parade will be followed by a dinner in Clayton White’s Hotel, where all of the participants will be based for the week. A training day will be held on Sunday before the lines are cast on Monday and the competition officially begins. Competitors will aim to land as many points as possible each evening during the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. as they fish for species such as dab, flounder, plaice, turbot, whiting, bass and cod, among others. They will be awarded points based on species, size and number of fish caught.
Along with assisting with the organisation of fishing event, Abbey Tours will also facilitate some local tours to sites of interest for visitors who wish to get a glimpse of the county.
In a written address to the competitors, President of the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers Pat Walsh said that the fishing in Wexford ‘is some of the best Europe can offer’.