Angling notes: New wheelchair facility on Lough Mask delights users

Anglers with disabilities invited to avail of the resource which includes a specially prepared boat

 

“THIS is by far the best wheelchair facility for boat angling access I have come across in the country,” declared Timothy “Timo” O’Sullivan at this year’s two-day trout angling competition on Lough Mask.

During the close season, Burke’s Bay, on the outskirts of Clonbur, Co Galway, was completely transformed with an entire concrete slipway to accommodate up to 12 boats and a hoist strategically positioned at two elevations to cater for water levels.

Timo, from Killarney, was the first wheelchair user to test the facility and along with his friend and helper Phil Horan, were delighted with the set-up. “We were both on our boat in a jiff and out enjoying ourselves fishing for the two days,” Phil said.

There is an open invitation to anglers with disabilities to avail of the resource which includes a specially prepared boat to enjoy the fishing on Lough Mask. (Tel. 087-909 9593 for further details.)

As for the competition itself, suffice to say it was again a huge success. Now in its fourth year, the event continues to grow in stature and now attracts 110 anglers from across Ireland. The village of Clonbur and surrounding area got a terrific boost with bed spaces in high demand.

There is also a waiting list due to the fact that the pork dinner from the “pig on the spit” can just about feed the current hungry revellers! Supply of boats and boatmen is also a factor.

Weather over the two days could best be described as a mixed bag. First day, virtually no wind and plenty of blue skies forcing anglers to opt for DI3/5 lines with a humungus or similar lure on the tail. This, in turn, resulted in better quality fish as witnessed by the overall winner.

All change for the second day. Dull and overcast with a good wave. Back to traditional wet flies, ie Cock Robin, Fiery Brown, Gorgeous George, etc on intermediate line. And the trout responded in big numbers, albeit smaller.

Certainly in and around the Kilbride shoreline there was terrific sport to be had. I will admit, however, that many of the trout were undersized, but this bodes well for the future of the lake.

With a three-fish bag limit, 107 (Day1) and 157 (Day 2) trout were presented for weigh-in, which in percentage terms for 220 anglers is 1.2 fish per angler over the two days. Mike O’Shea from Killorglin, Co Kerry, caught the heaviest trout at 1.677kg.

My boating partner was the renowned Mike Hegarty who steers to the “quarries” at every opportunity. Together, we managed three trout (2+1) and lost count of those just short of the 33cm (13in) acceptable size limit. (Thanks Mike for a most enjoyable few days.)

Back at Burke’s Lounge and Restaurant in Clonbur, the pivotal centre of the competition, the usual céad míle fáilte was afforded to each and every competitor. After a superb dinner, a musical evening followed led by Cyril Boggins. As one angler commented: “The highlight of the competition for me was the music session.”

For the second time, Nigel Greene from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, took top honours with four fish weighing 3.68kg. “I honestly didn’t think I would win with one fish today but my three yesterday for 2.99kg were just enough,” he said.

Results: 1, Nigel Greene, 4 fish, 3.68kg; 2, Thomas Carroll, 6f, 3.51; 3, Mike O’Shea, 4f, 3.47; 4, Jimmy Slattery, 4f, 3.16; 5, Alfie Hughes; 5f, 3.15. Junior angler: Daithí Ryan (12), 2f, 0.821.

IFI support for angling events

Those in line for funding include 19 international events; 15 teams travelling abroad; 28 coaching events; 16 national events and one seminar.

IFI’s Suzanne Campion said: “We are committed to supporting these groups in helping to increase participation in angling and to position Ireland as a premier national and international angling destination.”

For more information on the scheme, visit: fisheriesireland.ie/Angling-Information/sponsorship-programme.html .

Knockaderry Lake development

Old lodge re-opens

Full details can be found on facebook.com/rabbitislandloughcorrib.

angling@irishtimes.com

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