A record number angling for prize
MORE than 1,000 hopeful fishermen have entered the East Yorkshire-based European Open Beach Championship.
The premier contest is held on the coast between Bridlington and Spurn in March and attracts entrants from across Europe, particularly Germany and Poland.
This year's event is set to smash more records with the confirmation of a £35,000 prize fund – the biggest ever.
For this, the 20th anniversary, the angler crowned European Champion will drive away in a new Peugeot 107.
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The competition, organised by East Yorkshire Events in association with Total SeaFishing Magazine, boosts the East Yorkshire economy by an estimated £500,000.
Competitors bring friends, family and supporters who all have to stay locally. As well as spending money in hotels and guest houses, they use restaurants and pubs.
Kieran Lawry, of East Yorkshire Events, said: "The response so far has been unbelievable. We have been inundated with inquiries for tickets and accommodation.
"We are really excited for this year's 20th anniversary event and the celebrations will be fantastic."
The competition started as the Bridlington Open Beach Championship.
It then became the British Open Beach Championship in 1998 as the event grew in size, finally changing to the European Open Beach Championship in 2009.
Last year, the number of competitors that entered the championship was 900.
This year, as well as increasing the prize fund, organisers have moved to a new, bigger, venue at Sand-Le-Mere Holiday Village, near Withernsea.
Mr Lawry said: "The holiday park accommodation sold out in just over a week and that is all down to the buzz that this year's event has generated.
"We can't wait to welcome such a large number of first-time visitors as well as our old friends to the area and showcase what a fantastic place East Yorkshire is.
"The big increase in interest from across Europe is a fantastic reward for all the time, hard work and effort spent promoting the event on the continent.
"The championship is a massive boost for the area's economy in a traditionally quiet period and continues our commitment of delivering world class events in the East Riding."
The weekend starts on Friday, March 8, with the EOBC Flattie Bash held on Hornsea North Beach.
The main competition is held on Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10.
Although the festival now attracts the cream of European shore angling, it aims to remain true to its original values of offering a fun and enjoyable event for all the family.
The weekend has separate sections dedicated to junior girls and boys, as well as senior women's and men's competitions.
They will all be aiming to emulate last year's overall winner Stuart Voase, of Withernwick, who walked away with £4,000 and the crown of European Champion.
For tickets, visit www.ey events.co.uk/events/open