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The second Calnegre Open Surfcasting Competition was held alongside the opening of the village fiesta week and once again Juan Acosta did a fantastic job of organizing the all night event. I was not due to participate but as Luigi Mateos of Anju Sport Fishing could not attend he press ganged me into competing at the last minute. Now I thought I had some personal disasters in competitions over the past few years but this one surpassed them all. On the Friday before the competition I stupidly lifted a bag of cement from the rear of my car at arms length something I should never do due to a serious back injury sustained some years ago. It was one of those situations when you know what is going to happen but you carry on. Well it hurt and trying to hide it was not going to work. The Old Fish Wife was on my case and could see me grimacing whenever I moved reminding me that I was a fool if I thought I could do a competition in this state.

Saturday morning dawned and I thought I would prepare some “special” terminal rigs for Calnegre. Fishing there has never brought me much success so knowing it had a deep drop off and remembering that most anglers would be fishing the bottom for the Striped Sea Bream (Magret or Herrera locally) I made up some three metre, three hook paternosters with larger hooks for use with Titas worm bait. This would mean the bait presentation was, even with the angle of the line presented over a greater depth, may pick up some middle depth and near surface feeding fish including the odd predator maybe. As I prepared these rigs I was in agony and painkillers were not working, my ears were about to bleed with the constant advice about more muscle damage, rest would be the best thing etc, etc, After preparing my rigs and a suggested lie down off we went to collect the bait and on to Calnegre for the draw of peg numbers. As we waited for the draw several friends told me I looked in pain to which I replied with the usual speel about being professional and all that. Number thirty was my number drawn and off we went out of the village to the far end of a long beach heading towards Canada De Gallego.

The first problem of the evening was an irate lady, not Spanish but from a more northerly part of Europe, who insisted we could not park our vehicle on the beach so we had to move it three hundred yards away from my peg……a long walk with heavy tackle bags! Setting up for the nine o’clock start was painful but adrenalin and the usual anticipation of a ten hour match took over and on the horn I cast out my normal rig with a certain amount of ease. The three metre paternoster was a different story however, the effort required to launch a rig of this length to a satisfactory distance was something I had not thought too much about. It hurt is the most polite way of putting it. For the first few hours lots of bites were evident but only one fish and as the night wore on I wore down, the Old Fish Wife went off to the car to have a snooze and after fifty or so casts I decided to have a sit down.

When I am surfcasting I do not use normal freshwater chairs as the salty sea air rots them, instead I use the fold up aluminium frame type with the handy drinks holder in the arm. It was just coming up to three thirty in the morning and to be quite honest it would be fair to say my heart was not really in this competition so I sat back and watched the light tips on the rods. Eventually I got comfy and the pain started to subside a little. The next thing I knew left rod tip was dipping madly and I instinctively lunged forward to grab the rod but I couldn’t, the pain hit me and I could not stand up. Thankfully it was dark as I rocked sideways until eventually turning the chair on its side and ejecting myself onto the sand. Crawling to the rod stand I eased my self onto my knees and then pulling myself up the metal rod stand until I was standing. Continuing to stand was obviously the way forward now and after another two hours even I decided enough was enough and started to pack up satisfied that I had at least tried.

The Old Fish Wife reappeared with all the I told you so stuff and is still at it as I sit and write this on my old office chair packed with pillows. The pain will I am sure disappear, the nagging probably will not! Those that competed and actually caught plenty of fish in the true spirit of the competition had a great night and a welcoming breakfast the next morning while the results were calculated and the awards then presented.The top three were 1st Federico Gomez Cervera 2nd Ricardo Moreno Perez and 3rd Juan Pedro Perez Ruiz. I shall now concentrate on some form of fitness being reinstated for the next round of the Puerto De Mazarron championship to be held in Garrucha on the 30th September.
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