Angling Notes: specimen fish hunters enjoy awards presentation

RTÉ’s Fergal Keane emphasises need for anglers to be more collectively proactive

The Irish Specimen Fish Committee (ISFC) awards presentation for 2019 took place recently in the Clayton Hotel near Dublin Airport. The day represents the highlight for those anglers fortunate to catch specimen fish during the year.

Although no new records were established in 2019, it was a good year for specimens with 578 claims processed. A total of 48 were rejected for non-compliance with rules and a further 17 require further scrutiny.

Four species dominated, namely smooth-hound (106), twaite shad (82), spurdog (74) and common skate (42).

Two of the aforementioned were of particular interest to specimen hunters – the entire smooth-hound catch was apprehended in Co Wicklow; and, with regard to twaite shad, the river Barrow at St Mullins during May once again came up trumps (with the exception of four).

In September, Joe Cooney caught a streaked gurnard weighing 548g near Roches Point, Co Cork. This is a rare species and while a few have been caught in recent years in the south east, the ISFC will, if the trend continues, include it on the Irish specimen list.

The Dr Michael Kennedy award for the best specimen mullet went to Ian Mulligan for a 3.63kg thick-lipped mullet at Rosscarbery, Co Cork, while Evan Collins won the Dr AEJ Went award for the best young angler with a 1.06kg megrim, fishing out of Union Hall, Co Cork.

The guest speaker, RTÉ's Fergal Keane, based his talk on angling matters, emphasising the need for anglers to be more collectively proactive. Lobbying local politicians on issues such as pollution, invasive species and inshore commercial fishing was a positive way to tackle problem areas. "Votes count at election time!" he said.

As an example, he suggested an area from Dalkey to Dublin Bay could be zoned off specifically for sea anglers.

Chairman Robert Rosell presented Hugh O'Rorke with a framed picture in appreciation of his unceasing dedication as ISFC auditor for the past 15 years. Mr O'Rorke was also a member of the committee representing sea angling for many years.

Copies of the report are available at and in print from Inland Fisheries Ireland, 3044 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24.

Illegal fishing conviction

Two men recently appeared in court on charges relating to illegal net fishing for salmon in the Lower River Nore. The incident occurred at a remote area on the tidal section, about 8km downstream of Inistioge, Co Kilkenny.

Fisheries officers used a mobile scout camera (CCTV) to capture video and still images of both men using a net and a cot (small wooden boat) to illegally catch eight wild salmon.

Fines and costs totalling €1,500 were imposed on each man.

South Eastern River Basin District director David McInerney said: “This conviction highlights that illegal salmon fishing will not be tolerated and is a serious environmental crime.”

The Nore is closed for harvesting of salmon since 2014 and open only on a catch and release basis for salmon angling.

Lough Corrib

Angling pressure on Lough Corrib was again quiet due to heavy rainfall and high winds, but some anglers did manage to get out in sheltered areas. In the Cornamona area, Peter Walsh had one trout for 1.5kg on the bricin.

John Somerville and Andrew Boyd landed two on wet fly and rose two more. Mark Ryan caught and released a 3.25kg trout on the troll while Stephen Barry and Robert Molloy landed two on Saturday and on Sunday, a further three, best 2kg.

Calling all beginners

Jason O'Riordan (IFFF CI and Mackenzie Pro Team Ireland) and Ken Whelan (AAPGAI, GAIA and NAGC) have arranged a fly fishing day for beginners at Courtlough Fishery, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on Saturday, March 21st, from 9.30am to 4pm.

The course will cover matching rods, lines and reels; casting instruction; fly fishing for trout; feeding patterns in rivers and loughs; fly fishing for other species; biosecurity; health and safety; matching the hatch and fly fishing demos; and practise what you’ve learned during the session.

The price for adults is €80 and for juveniles (over 12 and accompanied by an adult) is €60. Juveniles must bring a life jacket. Lunch is not included but there is a cabin on the shores of the lake where participants can make tea, coffee, etc.

To book, contact: +353867835900/+353872965712; or