ALMOST 1,000 competitors from all over the UK and Europe flocked to Bridlington at the weekend for the 2011 European Open Beach Championship, one of the most prestigious events in beach angling and the largest three-day competition in Europe.
The championship organised by East Yorkshire Events, has always been popular with local anglers but this year saw a large increase in entrants from all over Europe, especially the Netherlands and Belgium where interest has been phenomenal.
The weekend started off with the second Bridlington Flattie Bash with 150 anglers competing in this four-hour catch and release competition for flat fish.
This fun competition offers something extra on the Friday before the main event and once again proved hugely popular.
The main championship got underway on Saturday morning in good weather with the hordes of anglers spread the full length of the East Yorkshire coast down to Spurn Point.
Even with the reasonable weather the fishing still proved quite tough with the big fish reluctant to give themselves up.
Although the sizeable fish were at a premium it did not stop Peterborough angler Paul Medd weighing in a beautiful bass of 6lb 4 oz which left him on top of the leader board on Saturday night and with a cheque for £2000.
Sunday’s fishing was significantly better and with the good tides and fantastic weather some large fish were being caught.
As the weigh-in opened at 3pm a steady stream of anglers returned with sizeable fish all hoping to top the leader board and claim the coveted first prize.
With tension mounting at Makis’ Nightclub, Bridlington, Wayne Jarman from Somerset weighed in what looked like the championship winning fish, a lovely cod tipping the scales at 6lb 5oz.
This was enough to claim Sunday’s first prize of £2,000 and looked like securing the European title until Phil Darby from Guisborough weighed in a cod of 6lb 4oz.
This was only good enough to earn him second place on the Sunday but after adding up the heaviest fish from both days he narrowly pipped the Somerset angler by just 12 ounces to claim the £2,000 overall aggregate prize and most importantly the title of European Open Beach Champion 2011.
The championships generate an estimated £1/2 million for the East Riding economy, a well needed boost to businesses and hoteliers during this traditionally quieter period.
Paul Roggeman, Conference and Events Manager for East Yorkshire Events said: “We are extremely pleased at the fantastic turnout for this year’s event and despite the difficult financial conditions people have been experiencing nearly 1000 anglers still competed.
“This really is a huge event for both EY Events and the economy of the East Riding and we will continue to work hard developing the Championship to maintain its position as the premier beach angling event in the fishing calendar.”