In its inaugural year, the TronixPro sponsored, UK Shore Catch Reports hosted Shore Species and Specimen competition proved a considerable success. Getting the right balance in attributing points in such a competition was always going to be a challenge, but the limited adjustments made for 2020 means the original blueprint can’t have been too far wrong.
As a bit of a background, the competition runs slightly differently to most traditional rover competitions that focus specifically on species or specimens. The scoring mechanism in this month-to-month and year-long competition seeks to reward both the capture of specimen fish and the accumulation of a wide array of species. With this in mind, one of the changes to the 2020 rules has been to scrap the stipulation that all fish must be 18cm or over, giving anglers the possibility of recording many mini species too.
In order to score points, anglers were rewarded with 10 points per species caught (over 18cm) per month. Some named species were also assigned a specimen size by length. If that specimen target was achieved, a bonus 50 points would be applied, although the specimen bonus could only be awarded twice per species per month for each angler. It soon became obvious that this system heavily favoured the specimen anglers, which is why the bonus points have been reduced for 2020. Along with scrapping the 18cm rule, we see this as a way to bring the species hunters up the table, level the playing field and keep it competitive to the end.
In terms of how 2019 went, here’s some key numbers:
> 1652 fish recorded by 72 anglers
> 10.9% of all fish recorded were specimens
> 54 species over 18cm recorded
> Top 5 species by count were dogfish, conger, bass, smoothhound and pouting
> Top 5 specimens by count were thornback ray, bass, mackerel, smoothhound and pouting
Specimen sizes for 2020 have been amended to reflect the frequency of catches in 2019. For instance, thornback ray has remained unchanged, with a third of fish coming in at specimen size, whilst dogfish has been reduced, with just a little over 2% of fish recorded being specimens.
The 2019 edition started in April, running through to the end of the year. Consistency would prove key overall and as you’ll see from the following monthly results – some were very consistent indeed!
April – Jordan Clarke
May – Simon Lancastle
June – Rob Stammas
July. – Gareth Griffiths
August. – Gareth Griffiths
September – Ross Johnson
October – Richard Widdowson
November – Simon Lancastle
December – Rob Stammas
With two monthly wins apiece, it should come as no surprise that (in order) Gareth Griffiths, Simon Lancastle and Rob Stammas made up the overall top three. Credit must also go to Richard Widdowson who took fourth, compiling an impressive haul of species each month with only a couple of specimen bonuses to his name.
Aside from the excellent fishing by the competitors, it proved to be an engaging and brilliantly social event to be involved in. Within a private competition group on Facebook, the banter was great and good-spirited, whilst those at the top of the table were always generous in their advice and support to the less experienced specimen hunters taking part.
A commanding performance with outstanding consistency led to the win for Gareth of Barry, Wales. Spreading his catches between local South Wales marks, Pembrokeshire, Dorset and Scotland, Gareth was the top specimen catcher, whilst coming second to Richard Widdowson in both total fish count and total species. ‘GG’ amassed an impressive 31 recorded species throughout the year. Well done to Richard Widdowson’s seriously impressive haul of 36 here, well clear of the field!
Gareth obviously likes the number 31 as that was his total count of specimens too! This specimen count was spread across an impressive 13 species, including 6 blonde ray, 5 tope and 4 silver eels.
Given that the intent of the competition at the outset was to reward a balance between both species and specimen captures, it was fitting that someone excelling at both should ultimately be the winner.
It wasn’t by chance that Gareth found the fish though. The hours put in, not just in fishing but in travel, were considerable and the determination to win saw him focusing much of his weekends around adding to his points total. It therefore isn’t wholly surprising that Gareth is taking a break from the competition in 2020 – good news for the chances of the other competitors contending for the top honours!
Aside from a cash pool for the yearly prize, 2019 was free to enter and monthly prizes were put up by Tronixpro. Given that they already run their own species hunts, there was little onus on them to do this and little offered back to them in return. Their support was invaluable and the prizes donated greatly appreciated. They will also be supporting the 2020 event, although an entry fee now applies to be able to produce additional prizes. Thank you George and TronixPro for your ongoing support.
The full rules for the 2020 competition are posted in the image below. The yearly results are calculated from your best 10 months, so you still have the option of dropping a further month if not commencing until February.
There are monthly and annual prizes for the most points, most accumulated species and single best fish, as voted for on the competition’s closed membership group. So there really is a chance to win for everyone to get among the prizes! The prizes are made up from sponsorship through TronixPro as well as the £25 entry fee, 100% of which is put into the monthly and annual prize fund.
If you’d like to join this exciting and innovative competition for 2020, please request to join the UK species and specimen competition group on Facebook.