Portsmouth will become the ‘angling centre of the UK’ as it hosts an international sea fishing contest attracting hundreds of anglers to the Solent in 2022.
The city has been announced as the official home of the Sea Angling Classic – and it is hoped that hundreds of people will be drawn to Portsmouth for the event next summer in a big boost for tourism. More than 1,500 anglers are estimated to take part in the weekend-long competition next summer, which will bring together environmental clean-ups and research, education, business and conservation while encouraging the next generation of anglers.
Organisers expect more than 400 boats to take part, mooring along the south coast from Chichester to Portchester.
Horndean-based Ross Honey, founder of Angling Spirit and Sea Angling Classic, said: ‘Portsmouth has won the host city status and will become the angling capital of the UK. ‘The maritime history that it’s got, combined with the facilities at the historic dockyard and Gunwharf and the Guildhall Square, and the massive desire there is from the council to host the event, means that it became a natural choice. This will be the biggest angling event in the history of the UK. The prizes will be massive – they’ll be a fully rigged boat for first prize.’
Anglers will meet on the Saturday morning in Gunwharf for a flag parade, leading a procession to Guildhall Square for a ceremonial event.
They will then head for their boats and, using an app, will catch, photograph, weigh, and return their fish to the sea.
Ross said “This will be an event like no other, encompassing a vast spectrum of events and initiatives covering conservation and the environment, vital marine research, education, business networking and a boost to the local economy as well as the welfare of the wide range of fish species in the Solent.”
The event will take place following the 2022 graduations, in the last week of July or the first week of August.
Stef Nienaltowski is CEO of Shaping Portsmouth, the not-for-profit company that pulled together Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf Quays, and Portsmouth City Council to create the city’s successful bid to host the event.
Stef said “With the greatest respect to other cities along the south coast, I believe we are the best city to host this with our heritage and culture. We hope that anglers will come and see our city in all its glory – the tourism aspect is incredible and we think this will grow and grow. It’s just the start of a brilliant long-term partnership and I think the city’s going to benefit tremendously from this. It will bring significant prosperity to the area and income to hotels along the coast. I’m looking forward to putting on a world-class event for next year and in the long future ahead of us.”
Local schoolchildren are set to take part in beach clean-ups to learn about the importance of conservation. Scientific research will also be undertaken over the weekend, showcasing the Solent’s marine life.
Ross added “Because it’s a catch, photograph and release event, the science that will come out of this is really important. The education platform this is creating, and the safety on the water awareness, means it’s so much more than a fishing event.”