Catch ‘Em All At The 2022 Swanage Classic (Video)

Unique tournament proves again that variety is the spice of life

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Fancy a different type of test of skill? James Roberts, also known as The Yakler, was among the competitors at the 2022 Swanage Classic. We wrote in 2015 how the Swanage Classic offers a unique test of skill for anglers: to catch, photograph and release the greatest number of different fish species. This year, after being sidelined the last two seasons, competitors returned in search of a mixed bag again.

Catch ‘Em All at the 2022 Swanage Classic

The group gathered bright and early on tournament day to get their marching orders from the director. “There’s about 40 of us in the water today,” Roberts reported, “so it should be a good day.” Conditions were sunny, but also somewhat windy.

angler takes part in the Swanage Classic 2022
Image: The Yakler/YouTube

The opening horn sounded and the game was on. Roberts paddled to his first spot and found another angler fishing the rock wall already. “You got the same idea!” he called over. After an hour, Roberts tallied two catches, both just barely big enough to count, but count they did! Small catches can make a big difference to your final tally at Swanage.

With his first two species on the board, Roberts planned to “fish the tide down for a couple hours.” He ended up fighting the wind, paddling one-handed while hanging onto his rod. “That’s why I need a pedal kayak,” the angler complained, “so I can stay in position.”

A Good Time for Double Trouble

His next hit was a double. “I’ve got a bream,” said Roberts, “and…something else at the same time.” It turned out to be an undulate ray, common in the area. Roberts wrangled the two fish as they flopped in his kayak, getting tournament-eligible photos of both. “That wasn’t pretty,” he admitted, “but that’s two species in the space of a minute.”

In the final tally, Roberts caught six different species of fish—good for second place in the 2022 tournament. The winner caught seven species, though in past years they have sometimes snagged 20 species or more. Plenty of reasons for competitors to come back next year and try their hand again.


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