Penn Sea League 2015
England international bags 120 points to confirm Premier Division double
All the prize winners and the line-up for the final.
SEVERAL months sidelined from match fishing would have ruined the chances of winning the Penn Sea League for most anglers, but not England international George Smith.
The 52-year-old, from Grimsby, still managed to score in eight matches to finish with 120 points to grab top spot for the second time in Britain’s most prestigious match fishing contest.
In this free-to-register annual event, where anglers can gain points in designated open shore matches, the fish filleter, who has competed for England since 1992, returned from a broken shoulder to bag 48 points after securing third in his first Penn event of 2015, the big European open on the Holderness Coast.
With Penn points on offer based on entry numbers at each match and mainly for top three and section wins, George picked up seven more batches of points for his 120 total in the PSL’s Premier Division. Only an angler’s 10 best scores count in the league.
Always a consistent performer in the PSL, which started in 1999, George won it in 2012, and is only the third angler to be champion more than once. Could 2016 be the year when he equals the three wins of Welsh internationals Alan Price and Joe Arch?
“It’s the one to win, and I’m up for trying to win it again,” said George, who was sixth in 2014. “All the top anglers in the country fish it, so you are fishing against everyone. It’s a year-long event, but it’s the best.”
Anglers have to register their name, address, phone number and email address with Sea Angler to compete in the PSL and only registered anglers can win prizes offered by the league’s sponsors Penn.
With the top 35 registered anglers from the Premier Division and top five registered anglers from Division 1 invited to fish a one-off final each year, George also hopes to win that too, and so join an elite group of anglers who have topped both the league and final.
“I’ve been second and third several times in the final, but would love to win that also against the 40 best anglers,” he added.
Second in the 2015 PSL was Chris Stephens, of Bridgend, who made a big impact jumping from 17th place in 2014. He collected nine lots of Penn points to complete his total of 82.
After finishing second in 2014, England angler Saul Page, from Deal, came in third with 70 points from seven matches.
In Division 1, the top place went to Hull angler John Byrne with 50 points from one match, the big European open.
In second was up-and-coming England youngster Ryan Casey, of Weymouth, with 37 points from five events, while Dover’s Luke Hutton was only one point behind in third spot.
George Smith became only the third angler
to be Penn Sea League champion
more than once