Resilience wins the day at Sea Angling Classic 2024

A well-travelled team from Troon in Scotland made their way south to Portsmouth, England, for their second attempt at the Sea Angling Classic and ended up being crowned 2024 champions.

The crew of Stuart Cresswell, Steve Toner and William Kennedy aboard Bluefin not only lifted the now-iconic trophy but also collected the keys to an Extreme 646 Game King boat, powered by a Yamaha 150HP engine and kitted out with Lowrance’s Ultimate Fishing System and an SBS trailer.

Indeed, the industry rallied behind the event once again with a range of key sponsors, including YETI, Penn, Berkley, Savage Gear, Shakespeare, Wiley X, Reuben Heaton, Eagle Claw, Crewsaver, Exposure Marine, OceanLED and Marine Superstore.

Stuart said: “We fished it last year and came 14th in a small boat so we brought a bigger boat this time and this is a decent improvement! When we came last year, we had no idea where the marks were but this year we had a better idea.

“We were perhaps used to the more challenging conditions this year but that’s fishing – and it’s the same for everyone! We might have a few repairs to do on the boat, mind you!”

Tactics paid off too, as they boated 1,205cm of fish from The Solent over the two days – June 21st and 22nd.

Willy explained: “We knew there weren’t going to be many tope caught so we decided to concentrate on the other fish and it seems to have paid off.”

Accepting the trophy, Stuart added: “It has been amazing event and our thanks go out to the organisers, the marshalls and the admin team behind the scenes.

“Although we have fished internationals, this is the first time we have done anything like this and won a prize like this. Speaking for the whole angling community, we’d like to thank the sponsors and also the other competitors for the camaraderie they have shown us.”

In an extremely tight contest, they beat Sea Witch II – comprising Robert Shefford, Gareth Clitheroe and Craig Eyers – by just 55cm.

The Boot Out Breast Cancer boat – of Lee Scattergood, Peter Farrell, Liam McGrady and Andrew Mears – came in third, with 1,145cm.

Fourth place went to Black Bridge – with Jack, Shane and Marcus Coombes along with Harvey Coles while last year’s champions, Jason Williams and Liam Smith aboard Trickery 1 came in fifth and pronounced themselves delighted to have beaten the tough conditions to catch, photograph, measure and release a string of fish.

On the second day the lead changed hands countless times as several teams vied for top spot and, when the leaderboard went ‘dark’ at lunchtime (to keep the competitors and spectators on edge), it was still anyone’s guess who would triumph.

Portsmouth’s Batala Band brought their samba-reggae drums to Port Solent Marina in a colourful and loud procession to the prize boat and the competition arena.

In front of a packed prize table with thousands of pounds of tackle and goodies up for grabs, including a giant wall of Yeti coolers at The Botanical bar/restaurant in Port Solent, the winners were announced by event founder Ross Honey while Extreme Boats’ MD Mark Divito handed over the keys for the Game King 646 to the victorious Bluefin crew.

Ross said: “Once again we have had another fantastic time in Portsmouth; Premier Marinas and The Botanical have made us most welcome and the competition has been fierce – and close!

“Credit to all our sponsors, the marshalls, the team behind the scenes and, most importantly, the anglers, who competed in harsh conditions and come back every year to make this such a memorable event.”


Other honours were awarded as follows:

Longest Overall Tope – Marcus Coombe, Black Bridge (161cm)

Longest Overall Smoothhound – Gary Mead, Well plumbed (120cm)

Longest Overall Ray – Peter Baker, Hot pursuit (60cm)

Longest Overall Bass – Liam Smith, Trickery 1 (59cm)

Longest Overall Bream – Wayne Comben, Thresher (37cm)

Top Lady – Gemma Robins, Crewsaver 1 (648cm)

Best Junior – Harry Sibbons (aged 10), Blueshift (421cm)

Best Small Boat (Under 6.7m) – Boot Out Breast Cancer (1,145cm)