The 2018 SACGB Festival


The 2018 SACGB Annual Shark Festival started officially at 8pm on Tuesday the 11th July but for some the social side of the event, and pre-festival warm up fishing trips commenced many days earlier, so by the weekend the flow of SACGB members crossing the Tamar on their way to Looe was growing rapidly.

By Tuesday they were to be found frequenting their coffee shops and pubs of choice. By late afternoon what has started as a trickle of competitors rapidly converted to a swarm as they finally met up face to face after many months of Facebook contact since the last event.

I caught up with some of them studying the updated SACGB information board located in the Looe Social Club window, which serves as our headquarters for the event and throughout the year. They were studying it with the critical eye of those who have a passion for their sport and are keen to check what is being said is correct and appropriate. They give me nods of approval for the board content and I mention another member has suggested we have a similar board visible all year round so members of the public can understand the emphasis on shark conservation within our sport now.  Tremendous idea they say, we should do that.

Watching the increasing engagement of members within the SACGB and within the sport in general is indeed a privilege and is payback in full for all the time to plan and manage the SACGB’s Festival and its other events.

All too quickly it is Day 1 and as I walk down to the quay I witness a red sky sitting low over the East Looe cliffs. As I enjoy the peacefulness of the morning I meet some of the early riser anglers but in contrast to yesterday their greeting confirms they too are enjoying the stillness and the gentle movement of the boats which are about to transport 45 competitors out into the blue yonder in search of the fish they have a deep respect for … The Shark.

The quay starts to come to life slowly at first then the pace suddenly quickens, and the quay is awash with anglers and skippers as we approach zero hour which is 7.30am this year.

Just as suddenly as they appear they have gone as one by one the boats head round the Banjo Pier and the sounds of their engines begin to fade into the distance.

As the day progresses I get news from one or two skippers and anglers but being bound to secrecy until they all return, and the results are made visible to all via the SACGB flag system I deny any knowledge when asked by those of us not lucky enough to be out there, how many have been caught so far … although it’s a struggle not to share.

With lots to do the day passes quickly for me and as the boats return I try to meet them as quickly as possible to get their signed catch sheets so the anglers and skippers can get for a well-earned shower and a rest.

The warm weather being experienced across the country coupled with virtually no wind has been a strong influencing factor but team SACGB have caught and released 18 sharks today. John Shaw has the largest shark of the day with one of 106.5 points.  Nicholas Chapman takes second place with the runner up position being shared by Bob Woodman and Terry Field but its too early to call, especially with the other categories.

Day 2 dawns and the conditions remain the same although there is a coolness in the air that wasn’t there yesterday, so we hope for some wind. My Facebook posting says the “A Team” are back at sea and I think how true this will need to be if they are to improve on yesterday.

It is not unusual for SACGB Festival conditions to be challenging so no easy wins here, however the second days tally is 37 sharks caught and released which is just over double the day before. The leader board has changed, with Richard Young taking the lead with a shark of 116 points, a good Blue with a calculated estimated weight of 130lbs. The runner up place is now occupied by Martin Shipp with a shark of 108 points followed very closely by Steve Costick with one of 107.5 points. The other notable result of the day comes from the Sowenna, with skipper Dan Margetts and his anglers manging to catch and release 8 sharks.

Day 3 comes all too soon for us all and once again I watch the boats leave the river. The conditions continue to be poor, very warm and no wind but the levels of excitement and determination among the 45 competitors, and skippers has if anything, increased. The conditions dictate more “rubby pools and rubby columns”, than trails but 16 sharks are caught and released bringing the total to 71 for the event.

The day two biggest fish winners have held on to their placings and now become event winners. Bob Woodman takes the most sharks category with a total of 7 and the most points category with 603.5 points. The top team with 491 points are Nigel Birch and Richard Day. 

Phil Curtis of the Typhoon takes the prize for the boat with the biggest shark and Dan Margetts of the Sowenna takes the prize for the boat with the most sharks with 14.

All that remains now is the prize giving, and a chance to win some of the fantastic raffle prizes provided by our sponsors who make the final evening such a special event.  We would like to thank Mustad, Rok Max, Fishing Mayhem, Ammo Baits, Cox & Rawle, Martin Bray, Portbyhan Hotel, Saltwater Boat Angling, Sea Angler, Cornish Orchards, St Austell Brewery, The Cornish Bakery, The Albion and Paul Martin for their generosity and continued support for our Festival.

The evening proves to be a great success with most promising to make the pilgrimage again and meet up at the 2019 event. I for one have no doubt that they will.

The 2018 SACGB Festival, the largest and longest running Shark Angling Competition in the UK and possibly well beyond our shores has concluded for this year and the most important statistic of all has once again been met ….. all 71 sharks were released and swam away strongly.