The 51st Torbay Boat Festival

Mike Millman reports on this popular West Country boat competition

The festival, fished within an area marked by Bolt Head in the West and Pinhay Bay to the East of Exmouth and up to 39 miles offshore, drew its usual large entry.

Two hundred and ninety seven (297) fish across thirty-four species were recorded at the six weighing stations over the nine-day competition. 

This year the dominant species was small-eyed ray with fifty-six recorded, most being taken at the Skerries Banks off Start Point, Lannacombe Bay and the outer Salcombe Estuary.


Other big scorers were:-

Black Bream 27. Bull Huss 24.  Mackerel 21.  Mullet 20. Blonde Ray 19. Garfish 14. Bass 12. Conger 10

Unusually only single examples of ling, turbot and spurdog were recorded but the capture of a red bream the first to show for many decades in the festival confirmed the species is beginning to return to South West Waters.


Best Fish Overall winning the Premier Trophy, £750 cash prize, plus £250 worth of tackle and the Champions smock.  Jason Upham, Brixham SAC.

Garfish 2lb 10oz

Special Category Awards each worth £350 plus tackle.

Wreck  Paul Cottell The Association Cup Black Bream 5lb 5oz.

Inshore Boat excluding wreck Owen Thomas Riviera Trophy Small-Eyed Ray 14lb 2oz  Shore

Top Boat. Our Joe-L Paignton, Skipper Shaun Pedley: Four Specimens. Black Bream 5lb-5oz Paul Cottell. Black Bream 4lb 4oz Shaun Pedley . Conger Paul Cashmore 61lb 1lb

Pouting 2lb 12lb Kevin Turner .

Ladies Section Best Fish Overall.  Stacey Underwood Bull Huss 15lb 1oz.

Junior Award   Best Fish by a Junior    Kyle Bavester Small-eyed ray 8lb10oz

Day Prizes  (One fish one-prize rule)

Day 1 Shaun Pedley Black Bream 4-4-5

Day 2 Phil Robinson Black Bream 4-10-4

Day 3 Simon Kingshott Bass 7-4-10

Day 4  Rob Caunter Pouting 2-10-0

Day 5  Simon Kingshott Bass 7-9-10

Day 6  Tony Dunn Black Bream 3-0-2

Day 7  Kevin Turner Pouting 2-3-3

Day 8  Kevin Turner Pouting 2-2-5

Day 9  Luke Netherton Small Eyed Ray 11-11-13

Highest Number of Specimens:Paul Millman Four. The Sportsman Trophy


Team Prize: Scott and Nick Lowry Manor Building Trophy.

There were in excess of 2,250 day entries and attendance at the presentation of awards held at the Livermead House Hotel was approximately 160.  An auction of tackle and marine vouchers raised £250 for the Brixham Lifeboat Fund.

The Festival Committee traditionally makes a donation to the RNLI once the dust has settled and all the money counted.