Report from the Carrick-on-Shannon Angling Festival, County Leitrim

Tony Kearsley celebrates a perfect score of 4
Tony Kearsley, winner of the Carrick on Shannon Festival, celebrates a perfect score of 4

Tony Kersley stamped his name well and truly on the Carrick-on-Shannon Angling Festival honours list by scoring his fourth win on the River Shannon and lakes of County Leitrim.

The 50 year old Irishman from Enniskillen, almost direct from the World Feeder Championship, has fished the five day event eight times with four wins, runner-up three times and suffered a total blow-out on the other occasion. His latest win in a line-up of 66 matchmen from Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Holland, earned him the first prize of €1,000.

The Carrick festival is the only surviving festival based on points and Tony’s approach is governed entirely on doing what is necessary to win the section and therefore gaining the lowest number of points.  There are five fishing days and each angler counts his best four scores.

Kiltybardan Lough near to Ballinamore was the opener for Kersley and he won with a catch of 7.380k  (16lb) thanks to a mix of 140 roach, skimmer bream and hybrids, using a straight lead and casting into 7m with single red maggot on a size 14 hook.

Tony Kearsley and a catch of coarse fish
Tony won day four with a 21lb catch of hybrids and roach

Next day he moved to the Mudflats stretch of the River Shannon at Carrick and came first with 12.060k (26lb).  For the first two hours he used a straight bomb with catapulted balls of groundbait at about 25m, then for the remaining three hours he worked with a small feeder at the same distance while working through six pints of casters. His catch was 90 per cent roach and the rest hybrids.

Day three meant that Tony was on the shallow Heron’s Shore of Lough Allen. Fishing into nothing more than a metre in gale force winds, he chose a cage feeder because the fish were up in the water and this allowed him to use a 1.3m hook length while catching mostly roach on single caster.  He weighed-in with 7.360k (16lb) and by now had chalked up a perfect total score of three points.

His fourth match took our champion to Lough Scur pump house where (as if he needed it!) drew the end peg at the base of the new access steps. Apart from the last 15 minutes of pole fishing, this match was won with a 9m pole, a quarter gramme rig at half depth in 2m depth, going through three pints of loose fed casters to catch hybrids and roach for 9.880 (21lb).

The fifth and final day took Tony to Holy Island (Barney’s Shore) on Lough Allen. This very shallow flat-calm section of lake performed poorly every day and some pegs didn’t produce a fish in difficult conditions and he finished seventh, which didn’t matter because he already had a perfect score of four points.

Overall Result:

  1. Tony Kersley (Tubertini Enniskillen) 4pts
  2. Nick Harrison (Arvagh) 5pts
  3. Toon Van Osch (Holland) 6pts
  4. John Balcombe (Enniskillen) 6pts
  5. Brian Chatterton (Sheffield) 7pts
  6. Ian Young (Sheffield) 8pts

The festival runner-up was former UK angler Nicky Harrison, now living in Arvagh, County Cavan, who returned a very creditable 5 points.  He tally was D1 Holy Island first; D2 on Kiltybardan second; D3 Shannon Mudflats first and D4 Heron’s Shore first.
Dave Houghton
Active Irish Angling
Holiday and information service
Tel: 0151 324 4744 or 00 353 (0)71 9642743