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1st Stage: Conwy 18th & 19th May, £2000 1st place privateers prize

Species Hunt and the ingredients of success

Our Conwy BoatLife Championship event for our branded teams kicks off with a species hunt. 

A seemingly simple task on paper, simply having to catch one of any species, at any size, can prove much trickier than it sounds. This sort of angling attracts its specialists, with annual boat and shore events producing an extraordinary number of species for individual anglers.

Based in one venue, with just one day to target as large a number of species as possible, the challenge gets greater. This will be a test of anglers ability, many of whom are not local to the area, to find a variety of ground and different underwater ecosystems that play host to different species.

This is a day where technology on a boat can and will play a big difference. From quickly picking out shoals of different pelagic and bait fish, such as mackerel, herring and sandeel, to carefully finding the edge of reef structures where a variety of wrasse species will be found, or the sandbar where a flatfish or ray may be present, eyes will be glued to maps such as Navionics in advance, and those with technology such as the Garmin Livescope or RayMarine RealVision 3D on board will develop a distinct advantage.

The BoatLife Championship, for branded teams, is as much about showcasing product developments to the angling community as it is the competitive element itself. As these technologies land, it is easy to question whether they are really needed, or whom they benefit, so the Championship looks to show you all of the benefits in real angling conditions. 

Beyond onboard electronics and sonar, many other developments aid in a species hunting event. Time is everything when moving between grounds to locate different fish. A combination of boat and engine design to deliver maximum but safe speed over ground is going to result in less travelling time and more fishing time, and we’re certain some of these Championship teams, such as the Suzuki Fishing team in partnership with Smart Fishing UK, will be showing some incredible speed and agility out on the water.

Anchoring is a time consuming event in a species competition. Many boats will prefer to target their species on the drift, but when wanting to lock in on one spot, setting an anchor may prove their only option – unless, they are deploying a GPS lock with the used of specialised trolling motors now on the market. At the flick of a button, this holds the boat in a position in considerable tide tuns and wind. This can also prove decisive when locating small shoals of particular species that could have dispersed by the time an anchor is set, or even disturbed by the anchor itself. 

We’re excited to see which teams blend their knowledge, experience and technical advantages to deliver on this challenge, but which species can they expect to see? The list is almost limitless, but we’ve outlined 5 essential species that most will want to tick off to ensure they do not find themselves lagging behind other teams. 

Bass

There are plentiful numbers of bass of a variety of sizes in the area, for those who know where they are looking. The MCRS for bass is 42cm and the season is open allowing each angler to keep 2 each day, but in this catch and release competition, a quick photo and release means a fish of any size will get on the scoreboard. 

Ballan wrasse

Find the ballans and some of the other species of wrasse won’t be far behind. Some of the deeper spots also hold cuckoos, whilst the inshore reefs offer up some excellent sized goldsinny and corkwing, with an outside shot of a rock cook. 

Dogfish

The match anglers staple. Occupying a variety of ground, it is unlikely anyone will have to go actively looking for a dogfish, but they have a notorious habit of disappearing the second one is required! 

Huss

With lots of small huss available, the anglers will be advised to ensure photographs for the species hunt include a ‘nasal’ photo, as the clear way to distinguish this species from dogfish. 

Mackerel

The mackerel are in! In fact, large areas of the UK can now find shoals of mackerel all through the year, with many areas seeing their greatest abundances in the winter. Other pelagic fish will also be amongst the mackerel, and the marshals will be keeping a close eye on the images to see if anyone is lucky enough to tick a chub mackerel off of the list. 

It promises to be an exciting day, and don’t forget you can watch along from anywhere, with live league tables and images of all fish recorded on the Angling Live app. Follow this link for more information on how to download the app. 

Keep an eye on our socials for engaging events on the day for those watching from home! 

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1st Stage: Conwy 18th & 19th May, £2000 1st place privateers prize