All the best fishing competitions you’ll need this year in the UK

Winner of the 2024 contest, Pippen Moore, is holding up a stingray EOBC 2024 winner Pippen Moore

Hooked on a feeling… for fishing. Is it a hobby? Or is it your passion?

If you’re high on believing you love fishing (otherwise known as angling), then you’re not alone. Fishing is a good way to kick back, relax and soak up the nature surrounding you. And catching a fish and then releasing it back into the water, you already get that thrill. So why not have a go with a fishing competition? We’ve rounded up some of the best fishing competitions and events in the UK, which will encourage you to grab your fishing rod and get involved.

Let’s talk about fish, baby

Just like the diverse waters in the angling world, there are different types of fishing. Coarse fishing, game fishing and sea fishing are among the most popular forms of fishing in the UK. Each type of fishing has its distinctive experiences and challenges:

Coarse fishing

This is where you focus on catching freshwater fish, typically roach, bream, carp, and tench, where the species are considered undesirable to be eaten, also called rough fish. Coarse fishing aims to manoeuvre powerful and larger fish in slow-going waters, including rivers, lakes, ponds and canals.

Game fishing

Game fishing, or sport fish, centres around fish species that can be eaten. Predominantly, this includes salmon, trout and grayling. For this type of fishing, the tackle is usually lightweight and used for precision. These fish species are often found in flowing waters, such as rivers and streams.

Sea fishing

Sea fishing is simply catching fish from the sea. The best locations for sea fishing in the UK are Cornwall, Scotland, Cardiff, Northern Ireland, Brighton and Northeast England.

Fishing competitions can be won in various ways. Some target a single fish species, while others include all types of fish. Normally, winning depends on the total weight of the fish caught. Most fishing competitions will require a fee but will offer you a cash prize by the end of it.

Our round-up of the UK’s best competitions and events

UK Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival
A close-up image of a fly fishing rod, where the fly is yellow and orange.

After following ‘seven very successful years’, the UK Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival is oh-fish-ally back.

I will stop with the fish puns, but if you’re a flying fish enthusiast, then you might want to stick around for this one. One of the UK’s biggest game fishing scenes is centred around the historic harbour of St Mawes in Cornwall and is set to take place from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 October 2024.

While taking advantage of the numerous beaches and rocky areas, the organisers say that participants will fish from the shoreline ‘using your fishing skills and watercraft’ and, when entering, you will receive detailed local information on the best local marks and how these vary with tide and wind conditions. The organisers have also stated that ‘accommodation is available to suit all budgets.’

Naturally, this competition has the extra thrill of being one of the best flying fish festivals in the UK, however, the essence lies in meeting like-minded people who share their interest in fly fishing. The fly fishing festival will host social events, such as a training day which features Cornwall’s top guides and training clinics along with other social events in local pubs with a drink reception.

If you’re an aspiring fly fisher or already an enthusiast, then this is a must-joiner. The entry date closes on 30th September 2024.

Mull of Galloway
A low angle shot with a silhouette of a man fishing.

The Mull of Galloway Sea Angling Festival in Scotland offers a wide range of different competitions. Immerse yourself in one of the UK’s luscious fishing environments and experience great fishing in the Mull of Galloway while joining a community of anglers.

During the MOGSAF Tope Event, which took place Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 of June 2024, money was raised for the Kirkmaiden Community Harbour Trust, where anglers came together and raised £150 for the Drummore Harbour sea wall, which will help facilitate the harbour. The MOGSAF Facebook page stated: “The foreshore area in Drummore is an excellent area to use during our events. Without the work of the KCHT, this area wouldn’t be anywhere near as suitable as it is today”.

Thanks to the MOGSAF collaborative spirit with local organisations like the KCHT, they help to create a joyful experience for anglers and spectators alike, which enhances the event and strengthens the community, making the festival a true celebration for the local area.

Other upcoming events are the MOGSAF Species Event 2024 in August, starting at 8:00 am on Friday 2 till Sunday 4 at 5:00 pm and the MOGSAF Bass Event in September, set to run at 9:00 am on Saturday 21 and end on Sunday 22 at 6:00 pm.

If this is reeling you in, pun not intended, check out their Facebook page to seek more information and get the latest updates for these exciting events.

Fancy a different type of hobby? Read: How to have your own beehive

European Open Beach Championships 2025
An action shot contestants fishing on the beach in rainy weather.

This event has passed, however, if you feel that beach fishing may be your calling, or you’re a beginner looking to challenge yourself, then you should take note in your calendar for the 2025 Paul Roggeman European Open Beach Championship, as this is Europe’s largest three-day beach fishing competition.

The competition will run from Friday 7 till Sunday 9 March 2025 and will be held at the breathtaking east riding of the Yorkshire coast, with many fishing locations stretching from the North Marine Promenade to Spurn Point.

Like every year, there is a cash prize to be won, fantastic fishing equipment and a free goody bag. The organisers have stated that accommodation is available, but you will need to book in advance for Sad-Le-Mere Holliday Village.

A wide angle shot of a beach which is the location of the European Open Beach.

The Yorkshire coast

This event draws anglers from across the UK and Europe; fostering a sense of community where participants share their love for the sport. In the 2024 competition, councillor Nick Coultish stated how each year “we look forward to welcoming visitors from across the UK and Europe to our region and providing the local visitor economy with a timely boost during the early part of the year”, where the competition brings an influx of visitors which gives economic benefits to local businesses. From hotels, restaurants and shops, the EOBC showcases a vibrant and welcoming destination.

The 2024 winner, Pippen Moore (pictured at the top of this article), won with an aggregation of 4,690 fish, where throughout the three-day event he caught them on the Sunday’s event alone.

The EOBC event will also give you the chance to meet top companies within the industry, who will provide insight into all aspects of sea angling. This is a good opportunity for you to gain valuable experience and refine your fishing tactics.

If this sounds like something you want to get involved with and be inspired by other anglers, why not visit their Facebook page and website for more information.

Get Fishing events run by Angling Trust

A wide shot of a man sitting in an armchair on a beach, fishing.

Whether you’re a first-time angler or returning to the fishing scene and feeling overwhelmed – do not fear. You can still join the angling community.

Get Fishing is a campaign run by the Angling Trust. These are events aimed to encourage people to discover the joys of angling. The events are free or sometimes low-cost beginner sessions, where you’ll learn and gain skills from other anglers.

These events happen all over the country, where you will discover new spots to go fishing while adventuring into the UK countryside.

From learning how to use a rod to safely returning the fish into the water, you’ll experience the ins and outs of fishing. These events are aimed at all abilities and ages where they will enhance your techniques and help you to get more confident with fishing.

It’s all upstream from here

Yes, these competitions and events may be a good way to showcase your fishing abilities, but you will also be able to make friends, build community, get inspired and learn from one another.

If you’re a beginner, an expert or someone just curious about the angular lifestyle, then perhaps you should look at these competitions and events.

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About Elena Harris
Elena is one of Silver's interns. She has a love for illustrating, reading, and all things media-related. She is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur who spends her free time in coffee shops sketching and journalling.

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