THIS weekend will see a scaled down version of a major new fishing competition set to take place off the Island next year — the Sea Angling Classic — with its official launch taking place in Chichester Harbour tomorrow (Friday).

The invitational angling contest for about 40 boats, run by Angling Spirit, starts tomorrow (Saturday), will take place in waters about ten miles off the Island — stretching from Bembridge, down towards St Catherine’s Point and Selsey.

Anglers will be challenged to catch the longest fish of five species — black bream, sea bass, smoothhound, tope and skate — and not by weight, like traditional angling events.

Next year, up to 1,500 anglers are expected to take part, using the same format, with a potential to reach millions of fishing enthusiasts worldwide.

Isle of Wight County Press: Ross Honey, the man behind the Sea Angling Classic.Ross Honey, the man behind the Sea Angling Classic.

Island lifejacket manufacturers Spinlock and the Isle of Wight Distillery, which produces the award-winning Mermaid gin, are set to benefit from being sponsors of the event.

Spinlock representatives will be there to promote its lifejackets and other marine safety equipment it manufactures in Cowes.

The Isle of Wight Distillery will provide refreshments.

Angling Spirit is the group behind the hugely successful international World Carp Classic, World Predator Classic and World Street Fishing competitions — followed by millions in more than 100 countries around the globe — the Sea Angling Classic will be a unique event to the UK.

Isle of Wight County Press: Cowes firm Spinlock will be at the launch event to promote their lifejackets and marine safety equipment. Cowes firm Spinlock will be at the launch event to promote their lifejackets and marine safety equipment.

It will feature 400 boats on The Solent, with top anglers aiming to win the largest and most valuable prize table ever offered in sea fishing — a top-of-the-range fishing boat worth more than £110,000.

The Sea Angling Classic — with the Island at its heart — will be much more than simply a sea fishing competition.

There will be an emphasis on conservation and the environment, with Island schoolchildren encouraged to help in daily beach clean-ups, together with a focus on the importance of The Solent’s flora and fauna, including its native seagrass.

The event is predicted be a welcome boost to the Island’s economy.