Angling Notes: Perseverance proves key at Lough Melvin Open

Winners Fechin McMorrow jnr and James Cox caught five fish


The 37th Lough Melvin Open Trout Championships was again an outstanding success with more than 300 competitors from across Ireland, Scotland and the UK seeking to outwit their rivals in this four-day team event of top-class angling.

While Melvin is unique in its selection of trout species, which include sonaghan, gillaroo, ferox and brown trout, the championships focused solely on the sonaghan. These dark-bodied, relatively small fish, are to be found in the deeps feeding on daphnia and emerging insects.

If there was one word required to catch these daring creatures it would be “perservance”. Long drifts will pay dividends eventually and when it comes to suitable flies, virtually any recognised pattern will work on their day.

Such was the case for the winning duo of Fechin McMorrow jnr and James Cox who, on their qualifying day, managed five fish (three and two). However, on finals day, it was Cox who triumphed with four fish for 1.260kg, sufficient to win the championships.

Long drifts

Cox, landscape gardener and sponsor of the championships from Mulleek, Co Fermanagh, said: “We had long drifts across Ross’s Point on the Rossinver side of Garrison Bay. I caught all my fish on a Gorgeous George and Legs 11.”

For their efforts, the pair each received a cheque for £2,250 (€2,668) and pieces of Galway Crystal.

Jonathan Craven from Athlone also did well with a magnificent trout of 2kg (4lb 4oz) on a Golden Olive Bumble in Farrell’s Bay and, on the same day, Kieran Biggins, Ballinrobe, landed a trout of 1.33kg (2lb 8oz) on a Gorgeous George in Garrison Bay.

The Melvin Anglers’ Association is thriving in every sense of the word. Their relatively new clubhouse on the shores of the lough is a sight to behold and easily the finest in the country.

Encouraging youth into angling is also high on their agenda. Recently, a fly-tying class conducted by committee members attracted 40 youngsters. And a second session brought the group to Birchwood Fishery, Drumquin, where they tested their newly tied flies with favourable results.

Addressing the large crowd at the prizegiving, club president, Michael Gilroy, said: “Sincere thanks to all those who travelled long distances and to our many sponsors, especially Spar for the ‘goodie bags’ for each angler. Thanks also to my hard-working committee ‘things don’t just happen!’”

Results: 1, James Cox/Fechin McMorrow jnr; 2, Peter McKenna/Paul Rooney; 3, James Doherty/John Brennan; 4, Dermot Brewster/Hugh McCloy snr; 5, Martin Connor/Daniel Quinn.

Meeting on trout production

Inland Fisheries IrelandNational Anglers Representative Association

As a result of these discussions, the board has agreed to defer its proposal indefinitely. However, the parties recognised that there are significant economic, environmental and biological issues surrounding the current production facilities which need to be addressed.

IFI is committed to seeking funding for a comprehensive strategy to meet current and future trout production needs, contingent on obtaining the significant investment required.

Parties to the discussions agreed to continue to work closely together to deliver this strategy.

The board wish to acknowledge those who made submissions to the public consultation on exiting from freshwater trout production. This consultation process is now closed.

All-Ireland Junior Championships

The Co Cavan venue was chosen to bring out the skills in the young anglers to fish a variety of methods. Top weight went to Eoin Rogers of Carrickmacross AC with 3.8kg.

Nine U-23’s, 11 U-18’s and nine U-14’s fished alongside eight novices for the championship trophy, with the top three in each section awarded a selection of tackle prizes sponsored by Tubertini UK Ltd.

At close of play all were provided with refreshments and the presentation of prizes followed in Minnies of Killeshandra. Running costs of the event were supported by NCFFI for junior development.

Results: Novice: 1, C Donnelly, 1.65kg. Under 14: 1, E Rogers, 3.8kg. Under 18: 1, C Flynn, 1.82kg. Under 23: 1, J Edwards, 2.42kg.

On Sunday, the Junior Inter-Provincial Championships fished the same venue. Three provinces fielded five teams of five, with Ulster winning the day and retaining the title. Team members Stephan Patterson, Jordan Hall, Harry Whitehead, Conor Gaughan and Aaron Galbraith won two sections and came second in three to achieve a fantastic score of eight points.

Cross-Border Peace Cup

Northern IrelandNewtownardsJim Shannon

Angler’s lucky escape

The RNLI’s Respect the Water Campaign advises all anglers to wear lifejackets when deep-water wading.

Belmullet Boat Competition

J BarrettKillalaJ CunninghamC BurkeB HollandBelfast

Species caught included pollack, coalfish, ballan wrasse, red and grey gurnard, whiting, dab, flounder, ling, ray, cod, John Dory, pouting, gurnard and shad.

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