The 19th Wales Air Ambulance Open Beach Fishing Competition, organised by members from Pembroke & District Angling Club and Osprey Sea Angling Club was held on Sunday, January 8, 2022 on Amroth beach in South Pembrokeshire, having had a two-year break enforced by Covid 19 lockdowns, writes John O’Connor.

The weather on the day was similar to that which had been experienced locally in the run up to the comp, but a bit less wet and windy, with just a couple of short light showers during the competition, but before and after was another story. So, once again, the weather gods smiled on us which meant the conditions were fishable but not fantastic with more than a good surf to start but this did lessen of a touch as the tide came in. This did not augur well for a good catch as there appeared to be a lot of sand trundling about in the surf burying weights at the start especially and so it turned out.

The turnout and support was, understandably down on previous events with 65 anglers including five Ladies and we thank them all very much indeed for their support. Unfortunately, but as predicted, the fishing was poor with only four fish brought to the scales, 2 sizeable Flounders, 1 Whiting and a 5 beard Rockling. There were a few other undersize Flounders and Whiting caught and returned.

The winning angler who managed to land 1 cracking Flounder, for a winning 895gms was local Milford Haven angler, who always fishes and helps run these competitions Leigh “Yubby” Rogers, netting him the first prize of £200. Second was another local from Saundersfoot Franco Attanasio with a Flounder of 345gms netting him the £100 second prize for the heaviest any single fish, the Whiting and Rockling being smaller. As a consequence there was no third prize as this award was for Flatfish only and there were no others in size caught.

In the pairs competition, in which both anglers had to weigh in, none did so these prizes had to be drawn in fairness to all pairs. First out were Alison George and her son Kristian, again locals and regulars, from Milford Haven. Second were visiting anglers Arron Sutton and Luke Kolmel and third were regular visitors Mike Mather and Neil Owen with Mark Bennett from Pembroke winning the Stewards Draw.

However, the most important result on the day was that the event raised £1,405 for the Wales Air Ambulance pushing the total raised over the 18 years this competition has been running, well in excess of £20,000 and even £25,000.

To thank for this sterling effort we must first congratulate the anglers from the organising clubs, you know who you are, together with Mr Ian Wilkinson of the Temple Bar Inn who put his premises and valued support at this event’s disposal as well as providing the prize for the Stewards draw. Lastly, we must first thank our Major sponsors Valero of Pembroke and Simply Landscaping Ltd also of Pembroke and the multitude of other kind and generous sponsors of the event, who donated cash, together with those donating prizes for the mega raffle which ensured continuation of the event’s great success. These were, in no particular order, Ian Wilkinson of the Temple Bar Inn, Steve Roblin, The Cove, East Llanion, Altrad Engineering Pembroke Dock, Shane Tucker, Andrew Skeels, Osprey Sea Angling Club, John O’Connor, Liam O’Connor, Andrew and Leigh Rogers, Mark Bennett, Peter Kraus, Jewsons Ltd of Pembroke, Haydn Cole, Chris Wynn, Andy Young, Alison George and the Lamphey Hall Hotel. If anybody feels aggrieved that they have been missed off this list and we hope there isn’t, we are truly sorry, but thank you, most warmly, for your continued support.

One final thing is that the whole shebang repeats itself on Sunday, February 5 with the 14th RNLI Annual Fishing Open, in aid of the local lifeboat stations at Angle & Tenby, for which we now pray less inclement weather and at least as good a turnout but a better catch.