Angling Notes: Four-times winner Uprichard reigns again on Lough Melvin

The village of Garrison in Co Fermanagh comes alive for the Lough Melvin Open Trout Angling Championship

Brian Uprichard (second left) with Cecil Marshall, winners of the 2013 Lough Melvin fly fishing championship, flanked by club president Gerry Regan (left) and chairman Terry McGovern

Brian Uprichard (second left) with Cecil Marshall, winners of the 2013 Lough Melvin fly fishing championship, flanked by club president Gerry Regan (left) and chairman Terry McGovern

 

To win the Lough Melvin Open Trout Angling Championship once in a lifetime is a major achievement. To win the championship four times is almost beyond comprehension and may never be surpassed.

Well, that is precisely what Brian Uprichard achieved last weekend when he coasted home with boating partner Cecil Marshall to take the much-coveted title and the wonderful prize of a pair of 19ft Burke boats along with their Galway Crystal trophies.

Uprichard, who runs a family oil distribution business from Waringstown in Co Down, previously won the championship in 1997, 1999 and 2012. This year, he teamed with 1991 winner Marshall, from Co Sligo, to qualify on Thursday with four fish, and then, on finals day, managed five good fish to claim the title.

“We fished the Melvin Deeps all day with a selection of Gorgeous George variants and Sooty Olives. It must be more than a coincidence but my boating partners for the four wins have all come from Connaught,” Brian joked.

The village of Garrison in Co Fermanagh came alive for the four-day event as 292 anglers gathered from all corners of Ireland and further afield to pittheir angling prowess against the wily sonaghan trout of Lough Melvin.

On this my first visit to Garrison and Lough Melvin, I was taken aback by the warm welcome I received and the camaraderie among anglers both on and off the water. The new clubhouse, officially opened earlier this year, meets all present-day requirements and is testimony to a hard-working committee.

For my qualifying day I caught just one counter,
which unfortunately missed the cut. However, I enjoyed some pleasure fishing with angling guide Andrew Boyd from Headford. For guiding services, especially on Corrib, contact Andrew at 086-343 2812.

The heaviest fish overall, a magnificent brown trout of 1.3kg (2.95lb), fell to Seán McKearney from Dungannon while fishing the Bilberry Island stretch on a Silver Daddy. Club angler Freddie Steele also brought in a seldom-seen char.

Of course it was the sonaghan trout which dominated catches. These relatively small fish give a terrific account of themselves and are found in areas of open, deep water, where they feed on mid-water planktonic organisms.

Addressing the large contingent of local supporters and anglers at the presentation of prizes, the club’s president, retired secondary school principal Gerry Regan, said: “We really appreciate your participation in our rather unique competition. I hope you appreciate the efforts of our club in providing this excellent clubhouse. It was very enjoyable to play host to such a varied entry of competitors – all rogues, honest! On Melvin you are all equal and I hope you will return for many years to come.”

Chairman Terry McGovern added: “This is a very special year in the history of the organisation as we have just completed our new clubhouse. Sincere thanks to all those who helped in any way, and to our sponsors; without their support this competition would not be as successful.”

On a sad note, long-serving member Archie Knipe, a butcher from Cookestown, passed away on the morning of the competition. “He always attended finals day and sponsored the ‘mystery weight prize’,” Terry said. As a mark of respect, a minute’s silence was observed in his memory.

Ann Gallagher accepted a cheque for £400 from the Melvin and Garrison AC, proceeds from an earlier club competition towards the Chest, Heart and Stroke NI Association.

Well done to Terry McGovern and his hard-working committee for a well organised four-day festival. Can’t wait for another attempt at those sonaghan trout next year!

Results: 1, B Uprichard/C Marshall; 2, G Macseain/T Carroll; 3, J Cox/F White; 4, D Kenna/C Cahill; 5, O Dillon/C Duddy.

The Mayfly Hotel Salmon Charity Cup, in aid of Mayo Cancer Support Association Ltd, will be held this Saturday (Sept 7th) on the River Moy. Ten beats on the river will be open to competitors, with fishing from 9am to 6pm.

Entry fee of €25 (juniors are free) includes fishing permit, BBQ, charity auction and live music in the Mayfly Hotel,
Foxford. Contact: info@mayflyhotel.com or tel: 094-9256 518.

angling@irishtimes.com