Well what an amazing fishing event the 2022 Sea Angling Classic turned out to be. After a trial run last year, Spirit of Angling run by Ross Honey launched the UK’s biggest and most glamorous sea angling competition we have ever seen – from Portsmouth! Ross has been very supportive of SMAC and has donated a number of the £250 SAC entry tickets as prizes for our own competitions.

The event was run along similar lines to the big USA fishing tournaments with lots of promotion, sponsorship, road trips, media coverage and entertainment – in fact it was almost a festival around the competition itself. Activities ran from Wednesday 15th June to Sunday 19th June with the two-day competition running on Friday and Saturday.

The event was run in two team categories: Charter Boat and Recreational Boat to give everyone a fair chance. Top prize in the Recreational category was a £150,000 fishing boat package so this competition attracted anglers from all over the UK. The Charter Boat category was a pairs event; the Recreational category was run as a boat team with two to four anglers participating.

The theme of the programme was to support recreational angling with a strong conservation message. All competitors had to take part in a Beach Clean. There were side-line activities to encourage young people to try angling. The main competition was strictly catch-and-release, with a slightly complicated scoring system made simpler by the use of a dedicated phone app. Simply explained, five species groups counted: rays, bass, bream, tope and smoothhound. All catches had to be measured and photographed, and the aggregate length of the longest three fish in each species on each day became the team score.

SMAC members competing in the Recreational Category were :

  • Ray Plomer and Bill Arnold (Ruthless)
  • Clive Newnham and Dave Newnham (Pedro)
  • Dan Lumsden, Steve Tambling and Ben Lumsdem (Sea Jay)
  • Tony Dickson and Steve Andrews (Big G)
  • Nick Wallis fished on a non-club boat Bad Boyz

Charter Boat Category:

  • Stuart Newell and Pete Churchill (Harvest Moon)

The overall results from the two days was spectacular. A total of 1.067 fish were caught, with locations and sizes recorded and the data shared with marine biologists monitoring fish stocks in the area. This included 128 Tope, 505 Smooth Hound; 300 Bream; 120 Skates and rays; 14 Bass. This was a combined length of 763.29 metres! The low number of bass caught was because the better bass marks were outside the limits of the competition fishing area.

Both teams from Stuart Newell’s boat Harvest Moon were placed at the top of the Charter Boat category; Steve Batchelor and Colin Searles coming first with 1,601cm and Stuart Newell and Pete Churchill coming second with 1,406cm, putting Harvest Moon firmly at the top of the league! Stuart Newell also won Biggest Fish with his tope of 161cm.

The Recreational Boat category was won by the team on Smartfish, but it was interesting to see that only 16cm separated them from second place Tequila, and only 1cm separated them from third place Paintball. At 4pm on Friday, the provisional placings put the SMAC team on Sea Jay in first position! The standings at the end of Day One put Tequila leading Smartfish and Paintball so the competition was close fought to the end.

The Recreational Boat category trophy was a spectacular model of the Spinnaker Tower, made by apprentices at BAE Systems Maritime. It was constructed from timber from HMS Victory and steel from the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

Overall, this was a hugely successful event attracting a lot of attention and much enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike. There was plenty of entertainment for those ashore from the opening parade on Wednesday to the final reception on Sunday. On the water, we could easily spot the competitors’ boats by the large flags they were flying.

For more details on the event and the full results listing please see the posts on the home page of Sea Angling Classic.

You can enjoy a photo gallery from the event here:

P.S. Stuart Newell has donated a heap of his prizes to SMAC for our forthcoming competitions and raffles. Thank you Stuart!