Angling Notes: Gibbons sweeps the boards in wonderful Clonbur

Welcome return of the Burke Open Fly Fishing Competition on Lough Mask

Clonbur in Co Galway took centre stage last week for the return of the Burke Open Fly Fishing Competition on Lough Mask.

Over 120 anglers from across the country converged on this tranquil Gaeltacht village to participate in what is considered the first major fly fishing competition of the year.

“It’s great to be back. Can’t wait to get going again,” was a chant overheard time and time again. Accommodation capacity was at a premium which, no doubt, provided a tremendous boost to the local economy.

The two-day event was postponed for the past three years initially as a mark of respect for the tragic drowning of our fellow angler, Sean Moloney, and, for the last two years, due to the Covid pandemic.


Burke’s Bar and Restaurant in the main street was pivotal to this much sought-after festival which not only entailed top-notch fishing but also tremendous camaraderie among anglers, local Irish music sessions and the award-winning food. Pig-on-the-spit was definitely the icing on the cake.

A collection from the anglers towards the Corrib and Mask Search and Rescue unit realised the welcome sum of €1,015. The voluntary organisation operates under the umbrella of the Irish Coast Guard, Irish Water Safety and Irish Red Cross, and on call 24/7, 365 days a year.

As for the fishing, the two days were completely different weather-wise. Flat calm conditions and persistent sunshine prevailed on the first day. Yet, 40 anglers managed to catch at least one fish. Mayfly was prevalent close to the Inishowen shoreline and some anglers found success there on dry fly.

The second day was a different ‘kettle of fish’ with strong blustery winds, rain and a dramatic drop in temperature. Needless to say the fishing picked up resulting in a substantial increase in fish catches, particularly for those with one fish (including yours truly!).

Over dinner, proprietor Tomás Burke thanked all those present for their perseverance since 2018 and with a minute’s silence paid tribute to those no longer with us including his two brothers Colm and Eoin, his dad Ciarán, Sean Moloney and all those who passed away in the intervening years.

Local knowledge is always an important asset when it comes to gaining a head start over rivals. This certainly rang through for local angler and Ashford Castle employee, Mark Gibbons who swept the board with the heaviest fish and heaviest weight over the two days.

On the first day he caught three fish including a cracking trout over 3lb and a further two next day to finish with an overall weight of 3,619kg to scoop top prize in both categories. Fishing close to the canal and Inishocht Bay he caught all his fish on three small silver daddies.

Results: 1: M Gibbons, 3,619kg; 2: J O'Connell, 3,520kg; 3: P Hoare, 3,131kg; 4: R Gibbons, 3,014; 5: P Lehane, 2,958kg.

A big thank you to the Burke family and staff for a wonderful few days in Clonbur.

All-Ireland Feeder Club Championships
The National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (Ncffi) invites member clubs to present a team at the 2022 All-Ireland Feeder Club Championships. The five-person team event will take place on 30th April/1st May at Lough Muckno, Co Monaghan. Bait limits apply.

Entry open to NCFFI member clubs only is €125 per team. Registration in advance on-line only to collect the €25 pegging/administration fee. €100 pools collected on the day will be shared among teams and top three individuals.

The championship will also serve to select the two club teams to represent Ireland at the World Feeder Club Championships in 2023.

Entry is €225 per team. The €25 pegging/administration fee will be collected at registration alongside the €100 to be awarded to the qualifying teams. A further €100 pool is payable on the day.

All clubs are invited to take part in the championships. Eligibility rules apply only to those who wish to qualify to represent Ireland with the option to present a team that includes two foreign nationals. Book in at Entry closes 22nd April, 2022.

Spring Fair at Ardaire Springs Angling Centre
Don't forget to visit the Spring Fair at Ardaire Springs Angling Centre in Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May, 2022. Throughout the two days a 'who's who' of renowned celebrities will deliver talks on angling-related topics and provide free demonstrations.

The younger generation will have an abundance of activities to enjoy including fly casting and fly tying lessons. Ample free parking and onsite catering will also be available.

For further details, visit or check out Facebook.

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