Leitrim teen makes history as Ireland’s first youth world coarse fishing champion

Angling Notes: Charlie Richards (17) secures coveted title at FIPSed championships in Slovenia

Ireland has a new world champion in coarse fishing. Charlie Richards from Co Leitrim has created history for Ireland by becoming the first youth angler to secure this coveted title following his superb performance at the 35th Fédération Internationale Péche Sportive en Eau Douce (FIPSed) championships on the river Sava in Slovenia.

Competing against 14 nations, Team Ireland consisted of seasoned juniors Rhys Walsh and John Browne, along with 17-year-old Richards and two first-timers on the international circuit, Brian Clarke and Donagh McSherry.

The team did well during practice week, catching the bonus fish required to compete against teams experienced in catching small fish, mainly bleak with small vimba and chub. It was Richards who, during the competition weekend, managed to hold his own in the small fish category, netting small carp of 70g to 90g, the equivalent to 10-12 bleak.

Third on day one, he went on to claim pole position with 6kg 48g on day two, to finish with 8kg 512g. This helped stretch his advantage as he finished an equal four points with England’s Callum Jennings 7kg 791g and Slovenian Kemen Rožič Šoštar.


The Co Leitrim native, who made his debut on the world stage with the Under-15 squad in Spain 2019, has now entered the history books for Irish coarse angling as the first youth gold medallist. The late Bobby Smithers achieved the same accolade in 1984 in the senior category.

The team, led by manager Gavin Walsh and coach James O’Doherty, and the parents of those participating, were assisted with funding from the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (NCFFI) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Groundbait was sponsored by Sensas.

The team, led by manager Gavin Walsh and coach James O’Doherty, and the parents of those participating, were assisted with funding from the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (NCFFI) and Inland Fisheries Ireland. Groundbait was sponsored by Sensas.d keep coarse angling sport relevant.”

NCFFI has represented coarse and predator angling across the island since 1963. The federation presents up to nine teams on the world stage annually and has hosted six world championships since 2013, including the world youth championships in 2017 on Inniscarra lake in Co Cork.

IFI issues thermal stress warning

Inland Fisheries Ireland has issued a warning that there is a high risk of fish kills due to thermal stress and reduced oxygen levels in lakes and rivers during this excessive heat spell. Also known as deoxygenation, reduced oxygen levels make it very difficult for fish to breathe and survive, it said.

Anglers are being asked to stop using “keep nets” as they may cause unintentional distress to fish, and those who practice “catch and release” are asked not to fish during the heatwave.

IFI’s head of operations, Dr Greg Forde, said: “We’re encouraging the public to report any sightings of fish suffering thermal stress to our 24-hour confidential hotline on 0818 34 74 24. It is also a good time to remind those using pesticides that these should be used only as a last resort and always respecting statutory ‘no use’ zones, being mindful of ditches, streams, ponds, rivers, lakes and springs. Even a very small amount of pesticide can be highly toxic to the aquatic environment,” he added.

Big day at Belturbet Summer Festival

An enormous first-day weight of 46kg 550g from the Co Cavan lakes at the Belturbet Summer Festival of coarse angling was enough to take visiting angler Wayne Easter from Lincolnshire through to a festival win with 65kg 175g over four days.

A close battle for second place ensued between Julian Kendrick with 55.225kg and Dave Pickering on 55kg 156g.

The Belturbet Angling & Conservation Club organises two festivals each year in this prolific lakeland area, and the next event is scheduled for September.

Young anglers sharpen their skills

Royal Enfield Coarse Angling Club is midway through a programme of sessions on the bank, open to enthusiastic young anglers. The weekly training includes a competition, with all enjoying catches including some nice tench.

In Fermanagh, Erne anglers recently held a three-day summer camp offering 30 youngsters seeking to improve their skills morning or afternoon sessions at Garvary Fishery.

A variety of species were caught, with those in attendance reaching level 1 and 2 skills awards.

Supported by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Daera Inland Fisheries, the event is the first of two summer camps. The second took place at Meadowbrook Fishery from August 9th to 11th.

These sessions were conducted by coaches, delivering a six-step pathway to introduce novice anglers to a lifetime passion for angling. The qualification is developed by NCFFI coach tutors and accredited by Sport Ireland Coaching.

Public consultation on lakes

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed that a public consultation on the long-term management of the Great Western Lakes got under way last Tuesday and is urging the angling community and those who use the lakes, or live nearby, to make a submission.

Covering loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra (in Galway), Conn and Cullin (in Mayo), Arrow (in Sligo and Roscommon) and Sheelin (in Cavan, Meath and Westmeath), the draft plan aims to address some of the factors that impact on the ecological wellbeing and status of native fish stocks.

The lakes have long been designated, as a matter of policy, to be managed primarily as wild brown trout waters. Therefore, the proposed management programme will protect, conserve and, where possible, enhance their natural attributes and native biodiversity.

In turn, this will optimise the potential of the lakes as sustainable wild brown trout fisheries and, in some cases, Atlantic salmon fisheries. Other species such as eels, char and ferox trout are also reflected in the proposed programme.

The draft plan is available at fisheriesireland.ie/westernlakesplan or IFI offices in Galway, Ballina or Limerick. Deadline for submissions is 5pm on Tuesday September 20th and those making a submission are being encouraged to use the online questionnaire. Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.

During the consultation period, a series of open evenings will take place to discuss, seek clarification and ask questions on the plan with IFI representatives.

IFI’s Suzanne Campion said: “It’s clear that all seven lakes share a series of pressures which are impacting on their ecosystem stability and native fish stocks. These include declining water quality, fisheries habitat loss, invasive species and the detrimental effects of climate change.

“We are urging anyone with an interest in the Great Western Lakes to read the draft plan and have their say before the September 20th deadline.”

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