Southsea Marina Angling Club Open Cod Competition
Every year Southsea Marina Angling Club (SMAC) runs a rather special competition which is open to any local boat angler, member or not. This is the Open Cod Competition which is held in the autumn when the cod migrate into the local waters where they spend the winter.
This competition has become increasingly popular with members and other anglers, partly for the comradery and partly because of the impressive prize table – 19 prizes, first prize £500 cash. The non-cash prizes were generously donated by local businesses.
Neville Merrit explained "In previous years the competition had to be postponed due to bad weather but not this year! For the first time it ran as scheduled – on 17th November on a calm and bright day. A total of 128 anglers fished from 51 boats which is a record turnout.
The competition is simple – the aim is to catch the largest cod. Unfortunately in recent years the cod stocks have declined almost certainly due to commercial fishing pressure, and we can’t rely on catching enough cod to match the prize table. We have a ready substitute though – whiting, which arrive at the same time as the cod. They are more plentiful but a lot smaller. If we don’t catch enough cod to win all the prizes, the heaviest whiting are eligible."
At the end of the day, the competing anglers gathered in the Marina Bar to see who had caught what. Steve Kelly, the Marina Berthing Master organised the event and Peter Churchill, skipper of “Moonshine” was asked to present the prizes.
Top prize was won by Ian Mitchell with a cod of 13lb 3oz; second was Eric Binding with a cod of 10lb 4oz and third was Tom Baker with a cod of 9lb 7oz. A total of five cod won prizes, the remaining prizes were awarded for whiting. Ladies Prize was won by Hayley Ellis and Junior Prize was won by Deano Ryan, both with heaviest whiting in their category.
Something very unusual happened during the competition. Marina Berthing Master Steve Kelly was trying to catch a cod or a large whiting when suddenly he hooked into a very large sole. These fish are normally summer visitors, normally feed at night and are normally caught only on tiny hooks. Nobody told this fish! It weighed a whopping 2lb 9oz, a new SMAC record.
SMAC would like to thank Steve Kelly for organising such a successful day, the local businesses that supported the event and of course all the anglers, local and visiting who took part. It was a great day, enjoyed by all.