THE popular South Hams beaches of Slapton and Beesands welcomed 129 competitors for the Angling Trust Wyvern Open Festival.
The forecast of a dry cold day and the promise of quality fish on Sunday drew top anglers from Bristol, Weymouth and beyond, with the majority of good catches made at Slapton in the last two hours of the event, as daylight faded.
Torquay's Julian Shambrook presented the prizes on behalf of main sponsor Anyfish Anywhere Ltd - a major fishing tackle manufacturer based in Torquay - at the Festival headquarters at the Church House Inn, Stokenham.
Weymouth SAC's David Lane claimed first place. His combination of a dogfish of 1 lb 1.8 oz and 1 lb 5.8 oz whiting totalled 179.88%, comfortably earning him the £150 top prize and the Brixham Bowl.
There were good results for members of local angling teams, with Dartmouth's Justin Weeks placing third and winning the Sidmouth Cup with a 1 lb 12.8oz dogfish and 11.8oz whiting earning him a total of 121.16%.
Ben Bradstock's total of 116.00% for a 1 lb 12.4oz dogfish and 10.8oz whiting was good enough for 4th and the Bideford Cup, while his fellow Honiton angler Stuart Withyman came 9th with a 4.8oz Pouting and 15.4oz whiting giving him a total of 84.17%.
Julian Shambrook caught a 1 lb 9oz dogfish and a 6.4oz dab, totalling 94.50% to take 7th for Torquay, with Kain Harper, of Kingsbridge, finishing 10th, his 1 lb 0.2 dogfish and 8.6oz dab totalling 83.50%
All of the top 12 competitors were awarded tackle prizes with a combined value of over £800.
Weymouth also claimed the team prize, totalling 229.67%, narrowly beating Honiton SAC's team of Ben Bradstock, Terry Hartnell, Richard Dorgan and Darren Stevens on 220.83%.
Lane completed the clean sweep by topping the pool for the best individual species for his 1 lb 5.8oz whiting, which scored 90.88% and earned him another £62.50.
Dartmouth's Peter Collins was second taking home £37.50 for his 1 lb 1.8oz dab, scoring 89.00%, and Rob Marshall's 2 lb 1.4oz dogfish (88.50%) won the Taunton angler £25.
David Rowe, on behalf of the organisers, confirmed that any money raised from the event would be ploughed back into the work of the Division on behalf of all sea anglers.
All fish brought to the scales were returned or used for the table, and the event observed the Division-backed 'Take Five' anti-litter campaign, encouraging anglers to leave the beaches cleaner than they found them.
TORBAY & Babbacombe members landed a couple of good fish in the last week.
Firstly, a shore caught dab of 14 ounces 8 drams was caught by Bonzo Barge in the South Hams.
This was followed by a shore caught specimen flounder of 2lb 8oz caught by competition secretary Nick Best from Kingsbridge.
BRIXHAM SAC has the first of its triple fluke flounder competitions this Sunday (January 20). Usual times apply.
PAIGNTON Sea Anglers' best of the week was Simon Mitchell's thornback ray of 11lbs 1oz 9 drams caught from Chesil Beach.
BAYWATER Anglers have a social fish and teach-in for adults or juniors at Babbacombe Pier this Friday evening (January 18) between 6.30pm and 9pm.
High Tide is at 10.33pm with a height of 4.1m.
At this time of the year there should be quite a few dogfish and whiting around, with mackerel strip and squid the preferred baits.
On floats with starlites attached there could still be the occasional mackerel showing and there will probably be pollack after dark.
It may be worth experimenting with ragworms on the bottom. It's possible to get the occasional thornback ray on them. No great size but fun on light tackle.
If the weather looks dodgy and an event looks in danger of being cancelled phone 07704 602180 beforehand to confirm.