The Irish Shore Angling Team landed their gold medal in the European Federation of Sea Anglers 2013 Shore Championships held over three days in the Heinkenszand, Zeeland area of Holland.
A wide variety of species were caught including dab, whiting, bass, flounder, plaice, dragonet, dover sole and lesser spotted dogfish.
The competition started on beaches around Westkapelle and Domburg with an onshore wind making casting very difficult for the 16 anglers in each of five zones. Local knowledge paid off for Arjan Rijnberg, who beached 36 fish to top the individual results.
In the team category, Ireland enjoyed good results with Joe Byrne finishing second in his zone, Micheal Quinn third and Clive Ivory and Warren Doyle scoring fourths. This was good enough to put Ireland in first place, but it was tight as they were just two points ahead of Italy.
Day two was fished on the opposite side of the dyke with an offshore wind making conditions very trying and fish hard to find. Arjan Rijnberg once again was top rod with 34 fish.
This was an exception though with some zones being won with as few as three fish. Team Ireland once again had a super night, Micheal Quinn leading the way with a seven fish zone win; Warren Doyle winning his zone with just three fish, Joe Byrne with a 19 fish zone second place and Clive Ivory with an eight fish zone third place. This rocketed Ireland 13 points clear of Italy with the Netherlands a further seven points back going into the final day.
Day three was brought back to the same beach as the first night and it was a head to head with Italy for the title.
Team Italy fished a very hard match and won the night by 54 points to Ireland's 50 and for the third day in a row, the best individual was Arjan Rijnberg with 28 fish.
The final team result saw Ireland bank the European Shore Angling title for the first time with a total score of 165 points. Italy finished second on 156 points and the Netherlands were third with 138 points.
A great result, especially after near misses as far back as 1999 at Langeland in Denmark when the Netherlands took the title by a single point from Ireland. These Championships were fished on the same beaches as the World Championships in 2012 and undoubtedly, the help and advice given by Ireland's medal winning team at those championships was invaluable to team EFSA Ireland this time around.
Joe Bryne finished as top Irish rod, landing fourth place overall. Arjan Rijnberg, Netherlands, was crowned champion with, Roberto Miserandino, Italy, second and Volker Claus, Germany, third.
Micheal Quinn finished in seventh place, Clive Ivory 12th, Warren Doyle 13th and Shay O'Neill 40th out of the field of 80 top European shore anglers.
The third round of the East Belfast Coarse Angling Club's Winter League on the Lower Bann saw the river kick back into life with some of the best weights of the year so far, the average weight per angler being over 10kg.
Water levels were dropping and although it was still carrying some pace, the river was quite clean and weed levels were reasonable. On the day, pole anglers had the upper hand.
Top rod was Irish International Phil Walton, who fished the pole at 12 metres using 15g and 12g floats to land 17.700kg of roach and skimmers from Peg 44. Phil finished one kilo ahead of veteran Jimmy Douglas, who fished a seven metre whip for 16.700kg from Peg 47 with Derek Buckley third on Peg 48 with 14.500kg, also on the pole.