Fly-fishing father and son flying the flag for Munster

Angling Notes: Thomas Sweeney and his son Darren have won in separate championships

While Munster rugby suffered a setback last weekend, the Sweeney family from Macroom, Co Cork kept the flag flying for the province with a fantastic win in angling circles for Thomas and his son Darren, in separate Munster championships.

The two competitions were held under the auspices of the Trout Anglers’ Federation of Ireland (TAFI) and Irish Trout Fly Fishing Association (ITFFA).

Darren Sweeney, at 17 years of age, simply loves fly fishing. Every opportunity he gets after school at De La Salle College in Macroom, he enjoys tying flies and fishing on his local lakes and rivers.

And so it was that last weekend he took part in the youth river championships on the Anner River and came away with a win against a strong field of Munster anglers. Nymphs of his own making achieved the desired result, with 10 trout (six on day one and four on the second day).


This was his first big win to date but no doubt his first of many.

Meanwhile his dad, Tom “Swanky” Sweeney, took part in the Munster lake championships on Lough Leane in Killarney. It was back in 1995 when he last won this event; however, with his new fly tying sensations, aptly named “the dancers”, there was a determination to prove a point.

The flies worked admirably, sufficient to entice seven trout and take top honours at this prestigious event.

Both Tom and son Darren will now go forward to represent Munster in separate all-Ireland finals later this year.

Angling for autism

After a two-year lapse, Dorrie Gibbons will again run the popular Cast a Line for Autism competition on loughs Corrib and Mask on Saturday July 23rd. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to the Irish Guide Dogs and St Anthony’s Special School in Castlebar. Entry fee is €50 per angler.

There are lots of fantastic prizes on offer and finger food will be available at weigh-in. Please do your best to take part in supporting this worthy cause.

Big catches on Lough Erne

The largest one-day open on the coarse calendar took place last Sunday on Lough Erne. A total of 152 anglers turned out in memory of Ireland’s gold medal winner Bobby Smithers.

Results: 1, M Stephens, 25.450kg; 2, M Hodgetts, 22.650kg; 3, L Harries, 16.650kg.

England international Steve Hemingway won the five-day Mahon’s Hotel festival with a stunning catch of 87.950kg. The areas fished on Erne had witnessed exceptional catches the previous week but the roach had run through, resulting in reduced weights.

A group of 40 anglers, mostly from the Northwich area in Cheshire, returned to the warm hospitality of Mahon’s Hotel in Irvinestown, Fermanagh for the annual Mini Mahon’s five-day coarse competition on the banks of Lough Erne.

The Erne system, alive with roach, hybrids and the occasional bream, made for some great river fishing. Ely Lodge, notorious for the one peg fished into the woods, produced a top weight of 31.780kg for Chris Haigh.

Regular festival-goer Peter Watson had the top catch on Thursday with 36kg of roach on the short line at 11.5m. All five sections fished well with almost 2,250kg of fish caught over the five days.

Darren Hogg from Manchester retained his lead from Wednesday with a catch of 13.420kg to win the competition overall with a massive total of 94.620kg. Peter Watson took second position with 93.900kg followed by Tony Green from the Erne Anglers AC on 91.300kg.

Match organiser Dave Williams thanked all who took part and included staff at Mahon’s Hotel for their hospitality, landowners and Fermanagh Omagh District Council for sponsorship.

Separately, the Erne system hosted the National Fire Services’ Angling Section who have held their Northern Ireland competition on the river for over 40 years.

Results: 1, Hampshire/N Wales/Leicester, 13pts; 2, London, 23pts; 3, Cambridgeshire, 25pts.

Back on board

BSI Sensas, the club founded by former world champion Bobby Smithers, welcomed back the Sensas Float Pairs to Inniscarra Lake after a two-year break. A total 833kg of fish were caught by 24 anglers from the Garden Centre and Graveyard sections representing an average weight per angler per day of over 17kg.

Tommy Lawton and Trevor Platt took top honours with 5 points for 85.480kg

The bank holiday weekend concluded with a one-day open which produced some enormous weights. Jon Jurj’s bonus bream secured him the match with 43.080kg, all on the whip.