World Cup tenterhooks


ANGLING NOTES‘FOR THE FIRST time in the history of the competition we have a tie for first place,” declared Denis Kelleher at the conclusion of the 57th world cup fly angling five-day championship on Lough Mask, Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, last Monday.

Addressing a large crowd of spectators and anglers, he said two anglers had a catch of four fish and an equal weight of 2kg (4.42lb). To decide a winner required a look-back at each of their heat totals.

There was intense speculation and then silence at Cushlough Bay as the announcement was read out. “Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to announce that Mick Dunne, from Tourmakeady, is your World Cup winner for 2012.” It was indeed unfortunate for Brendan Shallow from Belleek, Co Fermanagh, with a similar scoreline, but his two fish for 1.2kg (2.56lb) on the Saturday failed to match the winner’s catch of three for 1.9kg (4.15lb) in Thursday’s heat.

Originally from Rockfortbridge and now living in Tourmakeady, Michael is employed in Allergan Pharmaceuticals in Westport. “I have fished the World Cup for 30 years and my best placing to date was fifth,” he said. “I caught my fish today in College Bay on Green Peters and Golden Olives,” he added.

Michael won a 19ft Anglers Fancy Boat, sponsored by Burke Boats and the world cup committee; a 15hp Yamaha outboard engine from RS Marine, Westport; a Hardy Sintrix Rod 10ft Number Seven; a gold medal and the World Cup Perpetual Cup.

A similar “hard luck” story prevailed for my boating partner Mark Regan from Moycullen who also brought in four fish. Mark fished extremely well and on one occasion landed three fish on one cast and a brace of trout soon after (not all making the required 13 inches unfortunately).

Mark also found time to listen to Katie Taylor’s win over Natasha Jonas, after which he declared “Now it’s back to my own Olympics.” His four fish earned him fourth place, with Colin Wilson from Co Down taking bronze with three heavier fish. Your correspondent qualified from Sunday’s heat with three fish but could only manage one “counter” on finals day and a further three agonisingly close to the required size limit.

Ballinrobe angler Kevin Beattie brought in the heaviest fish of the tournament, a beauty of 1.7kg (3.71lb) that earned him a cheque for €1,000. Kevin caught his fish in Caher Bay on a Dry Sedge during Saturday’s heat.

Two-time winners Robbie O’Grady (1964, 1976) and Derry Ryan (1994, 2000), both came through their heats to qualify for the final. Robbie said afterwards: “50 years ago the speed of retrieve was quite slow, today it’s lightning quick. That’s the only way you have a chance nowadays.” Special thanks to my boatman on Sunday. Andrew Boyd from Headford was just brilliant in every respect. He is also an angling guide and I would have no hesitation in recommending him. Andrew can be contacted at 086-3432812.

The biosecurity initiative implemented by Inland Fisheries Ireland to prevent invasive species into Mask was a resounding success. Anglers were requested to dip boots into Virkon disinfectant tanks prior to registering for the competition.

In this regard, staff members Declan Gibbons, Michael Keane, John Campbell and Padraic Kerrigan did a magnificent job. Each of the 469 competitors willingly obliged. “Everyone was 100 per cent behind the initiative,” they said.

Congratulations to the committee for their hard work, time and energy in organising these magnificent championships. Well done.

* On the Owenmore River, local angler Anthony Barrett landed a cracking multi-sea winter salmon of 7.8kg (17.13lb) on a size eight Cascade and sink-tip line. Fisheries manager Seamus Henry said it was the biggest salmon recorded in the past 20 years on the Bangor Erris club water.