The final match in the Rite Gear Estuary Championships was held at Sutton Bridge on a previously un-fished section. A beautiful Sunday morning dawned and with comfortable fishing platforms available together with some serious competition between those in the top five, who all had a chance of taking the title of Estuary Champion 2012, it was all to play for at line in.
Within minutes of the start rods were rattling and good sized flounders could be seen all along the match stretch, decent eels were also present and a scattering of sizeable bass were being beached. Section A produced the best bags and last place in that section had 13 fish for 4lb 7½oz normally an excellent weight but with the top five in that section all having over 8lb it showed just how well this river can fish.
A hard fought contest was played out with speed and a great deal of skill shown by all anglers, but it was top Grimsby matchman George Smith who won the day with 31 fish for a total weight of 12lb 11½oz including a specimen flounder of 41cm, this gave George top spot in section A together with first place overall and the heaviest flounder. Hampshire's Andrew Dawkins proved again in top form to finish second in the section and overall on the day with a bag of 25 fish weighing 10¼lb. Third place overall on the day also came from section A and this was Jeff Stannard who has excelled at this venue on both occasions and Jeff include three bass in his 18 fish bag totalling 9lb 1 1/2oz which included the heaviest round fish.
Section B also produced weights which would normally challenged for the overall prizes with long time match angler and eel whisperer Dick Able managing 19 fish weighing 6lb 6½oz. Second place went to Alan Doy who weighed in 13 fish for 5lb 9oz also including a nice bass.
With the days fishing over it was down to the important business of the overall league standings and the mystery pairs. Four matches were fished from May through to August and penalty points were given on section placings each match, the worst score over the period was then deducted to give the final points. It was very tight at the top with several anglers in the running but consistency pays off and it was Andrew Dawkins, pictured above, who claimed the title with five points, his worst performance if you can call it that, was fourth in the section during first match, but he followed up with a first and two second places .
Two anglers were tied for 2nd place overall; George Smith who had two first places, a 4th and a 5th, giving him 6 pts in total. The other was Stephen Boyce who had only one bad match which cost him, his tally was a 1st, a 9th, a 2nd and a 3rd on the final day also giving him 6pts.
The prize money for 2nd and 3rd was put together and shared between the two and it was then onto the 4th place, again a very consistent angler Robert Tuck who missed the first match of the series but then came back and had a 1st, a 2nd and in the final match a 5th place , even with an excellent bag of 23 fish for 8lb 11, giving him 8pts.
Last but not least was the 5th place overall, Dick Able who secured his position in the final match by winning his section, his scores were a 3rd, a 14th,a 5th and a 1st giving him a total of 9 points.
The Mystery Pairs were randomly drawn on the first match, and a few strong double acts were in the mix and many had seemingly tipped the winners from the off, but with the pairs using the same penalty formats it was the teams who had both partners fishing every match who stood the most chance. Coming out on top were local match anglers Dick Able & Dene Conway who’s scores over the series were a 5th, 16th, 4th and a 6th, combined with Dicks scores gave them an overall of 23 pts, closely behind were Stephen Boyce and Michael Dawkins who’s scores were a 5th, 7th, 8th and a 7th combined with Stephens to give 23 points.
The series of opens was very enjoyable and highly competitive with great sportsmanship and skill shown from all 32 top match men who competed this year and a resounding success. Rite Gear Ltd will be sponsoring and running the 2013 Estuary Championships with the same format of four open matches over the summer months. The results over this year's matches have been analysed and next year the matches should produce even better results with the organisers maximising the best fishing times at each venue. Along with the series of four, two weekend opens have also been planned for June and August.
Dates & venues for next year
19th May Match 1 Kings Lynn fishing 10am to 3pm with high water approx 12:50
16th June Match 2 Sutton Bridge fishing 9am to 2pm with high water at approx 11:10
7th July Match 3 Kings Lynn 10am to 3pm with low water at approx 13:20
4th August Match 4 Sutton Bridge 11am to 4pm with low water at approx midday.
The two day opens which will be separate from the league will be held at both venues.
Rite Gear Estuary Challenge 1
Saturday 1st June Day 1 Kings Lynn 10am to 3pm high water 12:10
Sunday 2nd June Day 2 Sutton Bridge 9am to 2pm high water 13:20
Rite Gear Estuary Challenge 2
Saturday 17th August Day 1 Kings Lynn 9am to 2pm high water approx 14:40
Sunday 18th August Day 2 Sutton Bridge 11am to 4pm high water approx 15:50