On Saturday 11th May, Southsea Marina hosted the Sea Angling Classic Meet & Fish Competition which was the first event of a Social Day for all berth holders. There was also a Beach Clean, a SMAC information stand, RNLI lifejacket check, a raffle and a shanty band so plenty to keep the non-fishing folk entertained. Anyway, back the SAC Competition. This was a friendly, following similar rules to the SAC main event but with a big difference – it was free! Prizes were awarded for the longest of five species: bass, bream, ray, smoothhound and tope. Thirteen boats and crews from across the Solent entered, including two boats and crews from SMAC. The event started with registrations at the marina followed by a captain’s briefing by Ross Honey, founder of Angling Spirit which organises the SAC events.

Boats headed out of Langstone Harbour for a 9am competition start, each making for a mark that was most likely to produce some big specimens. We were very fortunate with the weather, because although tides were strong and the wind easterly, the sun was shining and the sea relatively calm. Through the day, competitors caught fish, measured them on the boards supplied and sent photographs of catches back to the event organisers.

By 4pm the competition was over and crews were back at Southsea Marina to hear the results, and we were delighted that SMAC members secured two of the five top prizes! Here are the winners:

Longest Tope – Peter Churchill (SMAC) 160cm
Longest Tope (Junior) – Carla Bream 125cm
Longest Ray – Peter Kinchin 58cm
Longest Bream – Caroline McKell 37cm
Longest Bass – Nick Wallis 62cm
Longest Smoothhound – Jason Williams 120cm

Peter’s tope was actually the longest tope ever recorded in SAC competition history, so well done Peter! It was a very close competition, SMAC members Ray Plomer and Richard Pack came within millimetres of the winning bream but unfortunately there were no second prizes. They made up for it carrying off five raffle prizes so all was not lost.

Marina staff Rupert and Sergey did a great job as hosts for the day, organising event space, berthing and all the things that need to happen behind the scenes. Steve Kelly represented SMAC with a table and stand display, and that stand is another of Bill Arnold’s legacies for the club.

Here is a gallery of photos from the SAC Meet and Fish Competition, prizegiving an entertainment.