The IFI Ballinamore Tourism Angling Festival took place from Monday 20th to Friday 24th May 2013.  The many loughs of Leitrim close to Ballinamore have led the town to previously host the Dutch King of Clubs in recent years. This time the five days angling was based on Haughton’s and Church Shores of Lake Garadice.  An immense natural water covering 389 hectares surrounded by great scenery providing easy access for anglers who can park at their swims.

40-50lb catches were reported by local anglers the week prior to the match but temperatures had dropped and the competitors were faced with icy cold rain and winds only warming up a little towards the end of the week.  The catches were fair, with hybrids dominating the match, the numbers of roach caught increased towards the end of the week and there was a welcome appearance of a 4lb bream for Bob Nudd.  Too windy for the pole most catches were on the feeder with the swims at Haughton’s Shore and D Section at Church (higher peg numbers) producing the higher yields.

Some famous faces appeared, former World Champions and expert match anglers such as Dickie Carr over from the UK along with Bob Nudd MBE, Kevin Ashurst , Bas Smith, Cathal Hughes and Tony Kersley all drawing the same section.  Other participants included anglers from Cavan, Monaghan, Galway and Fermanagh as well as 4 visiting anglers from England. Steve Abraham had a clear lead the first two days but then it became a very close match and the open draw on the final day kept everyone in suspense right to the end, with Cathal Hughes’ best festival weight of 10.240kg coming on the last day.

The prize fund of €2950 was shared amongst the anglers with payouts by section each day, the best daily catch and the top 5 festival winners.  €250 sponsorship was provided by local businesses and €500 worth of great tackle sponsored by Inland Fisheries.  Inland Fisheries also provided superb support with the weigh-in of the anglers daily by Ted Sweeney and Seamus McWeeney and in accordance with the IFI focus on the spread of invasive species the ‘no dip no draw’ policy was engaged.

The week ended with Smyth’s Bar & Restaurant hosting the presentation evening with Terry Shortt presenting the anglers with their prizes.

John Potters won the weight only festival 2.5kg ahead with 32.790kg and took away fabulous prize money along with a Preston Dutch Master River rod.  Other superb tackle prizes accompanied € payouts for 2nd place Cathal Hughes, Galway 30.180kg, third place Francis McGoldrick, Cavan 29.780kg, fourth place Steve Abraham, Fermanagh 28.050kg and in fifth Dickie Carr, England with 27.820kg.

The match organisers would like to thank the Ballinamore Tourism & Angling Association, Gabriel Owens and Ciaran Smyth along with the Commercial Hotel who hosted the daily draw for their support of this event and Eunan Sweeney for the photography.

If you would like to attend this relaxed and enjoyable festival in 2014 please call + 44 7711 607200 or visit