Jason Williams and Liam Smith from Sea Raider took the trophy and prize boat at the Sea Angling Classic 2023.

A team of two, who lost out in the Sea Angling Classic last year, returned with a vengeance for 2023, lifting the coveted trophy and walking away with a stunning boat, engine, electronic system and trailer worth a cool £135,000.

Jason Lee Williams and Liam Smith on Sea Raider landed five species of fish for a total of 1,726cm and the keys to an Extreme 745 Game King paired with a Yamaha 300 HP with Helm Master EX joystick control, Lowrance Ultimate Fishing System and SBS Trailer.

The boys crossed the water from the Isle of Wight for the Portsmouth-based recreation boat fishing competition to edge out the Bad Boyz team – Martin John Fisher, Luke and Martin Fitzgerald and Nick Wallis – by just 53cm, the equivalent of one bass!

The suspense was palpable at the presentation at Eden nightclub in Gunwharf Quays as the competitors were called up in reverse order to receive their prizes before Sea Raider was ultimately crowned Sea Angling Classic 2023 champions.

Jason said: “That’s up there in the top 10 things in my life. We always fish hard together. We had fish disqualified last year and we felt we should have won so we had a point to prove this year… and we proved it.”

Liam added: “There is no bigger buzz than that! We were confident as we knew we had done well last year.”

But the pair also paid tribute to John Rackett, who was the longest-serving member of the Bembridge Club on the Isle Of Wight they are part of. John died out at sea earlier this year.

Luke Fitzgerald from second-placed Bad Boyz said: “It was an impressive weekend with all the teams. On the day we could have won it but the boys deserved it. There was one fish in it – there‘s always just one fish in it.

“We were fourth last year, second this year… onwards and upwards for 2024.”

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

In all there 798 fish caught, totalling 588.5m in length, with an average length of 73.8cm. There was a total of 166 tope, 321 smoothound, 104 rays, 195 bream and 12 bass caught.

Third place went to Extreme 745 and the team of David Wilson, Stuart Jones, Wayne Hand and Scott Rennie, who amassed 1,683cm of fish.

Prizes for those in the top 20 included Penn fishing equipment, Mustang survival clothing, Mermaid Gin, Spinlock life jackets, Railblaza gear and Reuben Heaton scales.

Throughout the presentation, competitors spoke of the camaraderie and help they had enjoyed throughout the event.

Several boats had only made it there or onto the leaderboard thanks to the help, companionship and selfless support from fellow competitors.

David Wilson from Extreme 745 typified this. On day one, Tequila suffered a stuck anchor and it was former lifeboatman who downed his rod to talk the unlucky crew through the process of freeing themselves.

As a result, David picked up the first award of the afternoon for Sportsmanship while Top Lady Gemma Robins thanked fellow competitor Caroline Mckell for teaching her to fish just a few months ago.

Sea Angling Classic founder Ross Honey said: “What an absolutely fantastic time we have had in Portsmouth over the last few days. The weather gods shone on us one more and there was a huge amount of fish caught once again.

“My parents always brought me up with things to live by – respect, honest, integrity and pride. These are words I try and instil into the Sea Angling Classic as we strive to go forward and build things for the next generation and look after the generation here today. Look after others and be passionate and thoughtful. These things are so important going into the next steps of what we are doing.”

He added: “Running an event like this involves so many people. Not just the anglers and skippers and their families but the fantastic trade sponsors and partners, the organising team, the local authority and local businesses and so many more. They deserve a huge thank you for their efforts, as always.”

Other honours were awarded as follows:

Longest Overall Tope – Steven Perry, 154cm

Longest Overall Smoothhound – James Spencer, 119cm

Longest Overall Ray – John Challinor, 75cm

Longest Overall Bass – Ben Bream, 67cm

Longest Overall Bream – Shane Coombes, 35cm

Best-Placed Yamaha – Extreme 745 (David Wilson, Stuart Jones =, Wayne Hand and Scott Rennie).

Top Lady – Gemma Robins

Best Junior – Toby Challinor (who eat older brother Joe)

Inclusivity Award from Wet Wheels – Dave O’Donnell and Nigel Apps

Best Small Boat (Under 6.7m) – Maid To Mortify


Join the ATA

Join the Angling Trades Association and become part of our influential body, dedicated to supporting the tackle industry and promoting the wider angling agenda that is so important to us.