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2024 Dunmore East Small Boats Festival Report

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After a busy twelve months planning it all came together, last weekend (25th & 26th May 2024) when the Dunmore East Small Boats Festival held by Rinnashark Sea Angling Club was fished out of Dunmore East Co Waterford. An initial entry of 17 boats showed an increase again this year, but unfortunately, due to weather and a number of reasons we had a number of late withdrawals. The teams entered came from all over Ireland and Wales, the club is very appreciative of the effort the teams make to travel to support the festival.

A number of sponsors support the festival and without these the festival could not happen, a huge thanks must be given to the sponsors  Akois\ Inova  Shamrock Tackle  Inland Fisheries Ireland  Waterford City Council  Suir Electric  O’Neill & Cunningham Builders We would ask all anglers to support our sponsors over the summer whether its new gear or traces and trace making bits, without these we could not have such a large prize pool. Looking at the weather from the Monday before it was clear the High pressure we were enjoying was going to move on to be replaced by a low pressure and unsettled weather. This made it hard to predict as every weather update in the days running up to Friday saw the winds change.

With a clear picture on Friday, it was clear we would have to restrict the boats to zone B, which was Dunmore to Hook head and the entire Waterford estuary. An early start sat morning; the committee were on the Pier at 06:00 am to do the registration and hand out day cards, welcome pack and goodie bags to each team. All boats were in the water and eager to go by 07:30. At 07:55, the radio check was completed and the boats set off, teams had ten hours of fishing and had to be in for 18:00. Some boats stayed in and close to the harbour to hunt out the mini species, some went up the estuary and others went to the Wexford side in the lea of the land to get shelter. The wind was SE which and the tide was falling, this made the outer and western side of the estuary lumpy. Restrictions push people to explore new ground to winkle out a few fish. This can be very educational when new marks work out. At 18:00 all, the boats were back for the weigh in (Picture ID, as completion was run on a C&R basis). Even with the limiting weather an impressive 20 species were landed on day one by 11 teams. The species caught on day one were( 3 Bearded Rockling, Mackerel, Grey Gurnard, Bull Huss, Poor cod, Ballan Wrasse, Sand Smelt, Dab, Dogfish, Flounder, Gobies, Pollock, Tub Gurnard, Smooth Hound, Corkwing Wrasse, Blennies, Sea Scorpion, Silver eel, Conger Eel & Bass). The results on day one were:

Place Team Species

1 Shamrock Tackle 11

2 Team Rinnashark 11

3 Sea Witch 10

4 2JDs 10

5 Katie 9

6 Here Fishie Fishie 9

7 Fin Chaser 8

8 Off The Hook 6

9 Nicole N Will 4

10 Pure Chaos 3

11 Time Warp 3

Saturday night it was all very close, leaving it all to play for the Sunday, the weather forecast was giving the winds to drop right back and swing from SE to W for Sunday until mid-day and pick up from one o clock. Sunday morning dawned and the forecast was correct and the winds had gone, but there was still a slow roll in the sea from the wind on Saturday. The call was made to open restriction until 12:00 and if forecast was correct and winds started to pick up a call would be made Boats were in the water and ready to go upon radio check then all boats were off, the return time was 17:00. Most boats went and targeted the outer species on the reefs. As planned, the call was made at 12:00 for all boats to return to Zone B, for safety reasons the conditions to suit the smallest boat has to be taken into consideration. 17:00 and the time of reckoning had arrived everyone was gathered around the weigh in to register their catch. Post check in three boats were on 21 species for a joint tie for 1st .

Nail biting times until the scores were assessed and the tiebreaker calculated only cm separated 1 st and second. Very close overall with only 3 species separating the top five boats. Well done to all the angler great achievement by all teams. Everyone retired back to the Haven hotel, or off the get cleaned up and back for the prize giving and food for 19:30.

Prizes for the festival were:

 Species hunt prizes for all teams.

 Combined Bull Huss & Smooth Hound

Nominated species:

o Ling

o Pollock


o Ray

 Longest Bass (kindly sponsored by last year’s winner Joe Mc Peak

The overall species hunt results were:

1 Team Rinnashark 21

2 Fin Chaser 21

3 Katie 21

4 Sea Witch 19

5 Shamrock Tackle 18

6 Here Fishie Fishie 16

7 2JDs 16

8 Off The Hook 12

9 Nicole N Will 9

10 Pure Chaos 4

11 Time Warp 3

Big Fish Prizes:


Ling Shamrock Tackle

Pollock 2JDs

Flat Shamrock Tackle

Dogfish 2JDs

Biggest Bass: Fin Chaser

Combined Huss and Hound Team Rinnashark

Over the two days a total of 31 species were landed, this was a great achievement by all the boats in tough conditions, well done all. It really shows what the area has to offer to the angler, the fall back of the estuary means it would want to be bad before you would not get out with comfort. Thanks again to all the teams and tight lines for the rest of the summer, hopefully see some of ye at the Shamrock competition, the Rosie’s comp and Rosslare.

The species landed over the weekend were: 1. Bass 2. Bull Huss 3. Ballan Wrasse 4. Blenny 5. Coalie 6. Cuckoo Wrasse 7. Conger 8. Dab 9. Dogfish 10. Flounder 11. Goby 12. Goldshinny Wrasse 13. Grey Gurnard 14. Ling 15. Poor Cod 16. Pollock 17. Pout 18. Sea Scorpion 19. Silver Eel 20. Tope 21. Tub Gurnard 22. Red Gurnard 3 rd Place 2 nd Place Dunmore East Small Boats 2024 23. Whiting 24. 3 Bearded Rockling 25. Scad 26. Mackerel 27. Weever 28. Sand Smelt 29. Smooth hound 30. Corkwing Wrasse 31. Streaked Gurnard

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