Northern Ireland Federation of Sea Anglers have just completed the very first team event when we competed in the North West Challenge match in Newcastle on Englands North East shore line.
15 anglers from NIFSA travelled to Ashington, just above Newcastle, on Friday morning to compete against another 5 teams from around the U.K.
Expectations were high before the matches as both Druridge Bay and the River Tyne had been fishing reasonably well for whiting and flounder. However a few days before we arrived a cold easterly blow developed and fears were for bad catches.
The first session on Druridge Bay was on the Saturday morning and the poor catches feared were quickly realised when, at the end of the match, nearly 70% of the beach had returned blank score cards.
On the second day it was decided to fish the Tyne estuary in Newcastle City Centre to try and avoid the poor results of the first day. The fishing was over a 4 hour session with 2.5 hours of the flow and about 1.5hours of the ebb. Expectations were uncertain because of the cold easterlies that had set in, and were still blowing. Fortunately for some of our members that fished the lower zones a few flounder and whiting showed up, while other's in the team struggled for a fish.
Prize giving was held at the Royal Naval Centre in Newcastle along with super food and refreshments.
NIFSA came out 4th from 6 teams which, being our first year with little experience of the venues, was a commendable position. Some members were also successful in individual zone prizes including Alan Smallwood Gareth Bell, Diarmaid Adams and Barry Platt
A raffle raised over £800.00 to go to a mental health charity that helps conflict veterans.
On reflection I can say that this was a major success for NIFSA with a smooth operation that was agreed by all team members to be very enjoyable with great amicable team bonding and building.
NIFSA would like to thank the members that volunteered
for minibus and van driving duties.
A big thank you to team manager and entertainer Jonathan Kitson who worked so hard behind the scenes to organise and negotiate special rates with travel and hotel companies, thus ensuring team expenditure was kept to a minimum. Also would like to say thanks to Bobby Laughlin from P&O that helped get us a premium ferry rate. And to our sponsor JK Cars from Greenisland for their help in keeping us clothed and looking every inch the professional set up that NIFSA is becoming.
We look forward to taking part in this event next year and would lastly like to say thank you to Mark Armstrong, organiser of the Northern Challenge competition for his help and assistance on the day.
Northern Ireland Federation of Sea Anglers