Angling Notes: Hot weather makes Lough Mask trout angling championships a major challenge

Plus festivals in Clones and Lough Rynn, and a heavy fine for poaching ringleader

“The recent excessive hot weather probably had a significant bearing on the poor catches experienced during this year’s world cup trout angling championships on Lough Mask. The fish tend to frequent the lower, cooler reaches of the lake in such conditions,” according to PRO, Denis Kelleher.

As a step towards conservation, only two fish per angler were allowed for weigh-in for the four qualifying days and four fish on finals day. Any fish in excess of these limits reverted to scorecards.

As a measure of “poor catches”, scorecards did not come into play on any of the five days! Indeed, those lucky to catch a one-pound fish stood a good chance of qualifying. But the vast majority of anglers went home empty-handed.

Overall winner of the championship with one fish for 2.8760lb, went to Kildare angler Seamus Cash, who received a 19ft lake boat (sponsored by Gareth Foley); 15hp Yamaha engine (sponsored by RS Marine) and Sage R8 fly rod (sponsored by Gowen & Bradshaw).

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“We fished the Ballykine Rocks down to Cahir Bay with Mayfly patterns and Grey Wolff. It’s my favourite area on the lake, I always catch fish there,” he said.

Spare a thought for Enniskillen angler Patsy Tracey. On his qualifying day on the Thursday, he failed to catch a fish, but his name was one of 11 to come out of the hat to make up the 25 per cent representation required from each day.

He went on to catch two fish for 4.9540lb on finals day, sufficient to win the championships by a mile.

However, the devil was in the small print. “Only anglers who weigh in fish on heat days are eligible to fish for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and heaviest prize on final day.” Instead, he had to settle for fourth prize.

Results:

1. S Cash, one fish, 2.8760lb;

2. S Marshall, two fish, 2.6500lb;

3. B. Graham, two fish, 2.3580lb;

4. P Tracey, two fish, 4.950lb;

5. P J O’Brien, one fish, 2.5880lb.

The championship is the main event on the trout angling calendar and very important to the Ballinrobe area, bringing in hundreds of anglers and friends. Congratulations to chairman Matt Lally and his committee for organising this magnificent spectacle. Roll on next year!

Clones Coarse festival returns

After a two-year break, it was interesting to see what catches would be like for the Clones Coarse Angling Club festival, held over the Bank Holiday Weekend. The Co Monaghan lakes did not disappoint.

Annaghmekerrig started and finished poorly but produced a fine stamp of roach mid-festival of 20.600kg for Neil Mazurek. Popular Bairds Shore provided regular mixed bags and a top weight of 15.600kg for John Potters on finals day.

On White Lake, bream fished steady over the four days with a good number of hybrids including 21kg for Niall McKitterick. Mullanary, although generally difficult, did produce specimen fish for some with bags reaching 11.950kg.

It was a close-run match with no clear winner until the final day, held in torrential rain. John Potters’ 231 fish on the whip at 4m gave him the festival with 48.780kg, leaving Mark Theedom just 640g behind. Third position went to Neil Mazurek on 46.650kg followed by Tony Kersley with 44.650kg.

The festival was run by Clones Coarse Angling Club, NCFFI members and supported by Clones/Ballybay Municipal Council, hosted by Creighton Hotel, Clones.

Lough Rynn festival

The recent Lough Rynn four-day festival was a great success with plenty of fish showing at the Leitrim venue.

Results: Day 1: Julian Kendrick, 19.420kg. Day 2: Aaron Hutchman, 18.240kg. Day 3: Brian Bohan, 17.300kg; Day 4: Anthony Hopkins, 22,320kg.

A big ‘thank you’ was paid to those working behind the scenes including Lorraine Murphy and landowners for permission.

Heavy fine for poacher

The ringleader of a long-running poaching operation on the Afon Teifi in West Wales, will have to pay £61,791.50 (€73,000) because of the financial gains he made from his crimes.

Emlyn Rees previously pleaded guilty to illegal fishing charges brought forward by Natural Resources Wales, when an application was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act to confiscate ill-gotten financial gains.

Mr Rees kept a detailed ledger of his illegal catches. Over a seven-year period, 373 dated entries of fish capture were made detailing the number and weights, which included 989 sea trout and 302 salmon.

The illegal fishing by Rees and his associates between 2013 and 2020 has led to the loss of an estimated 686,534 salmon eggs and 2,285,164 sea trout eggs.

Ann Weedy, Mid Wales operations manager, said: “The impact of this illegal operation is staggering. This case should stand as a warning to would-be offenders that we will pursue every case where there is evidence of wrongdoing, and if we can demonstrate that a significant financial gain has been made, we will look to confiscate that gain.”

If you have an angling story to share, please send to me at angling@irishtimes.com.