John Chambers reports from the National Pike Championship Final which was held on the River Shannon near Drumshambo in Co. Leitrim  ( from

Minister of state for Fisheries, Fergus O'Dowd TD presenting winner Joe McDermott with the winners trophy

Joe McDermott is the new National Pike Champion. He was the runaway winner with a super bag of fish which was better that 2nd and 3rd put together. He caught all his pike on artificial baits. Joe is well known for the number of boat pike competitions he wins.
The event was based in the Lough Allen Hotel in Drumshanbo in County Leitrim. Bernie and the staff there really looked after us very well. The bed and breakfast rate was an excellent €35 per person and they even offered a free room only rate tonight if anyone wanted to stay on. I think that they may have been very happy with the bar takings on Friday and Saturday nights.
The top 5 anglers from 10 independent qualifiers and the stewards qualifier could fish in the final. This year only 3 anglers caught at one of the qualifiers so 53 could fish and all 53 turned up.
The competition venue was disclosed on Friday night. There had been a lot of rain over the previous few days so water levels were up. Catches were not expected to be good as a result. We have noted over the years that pike fishing can be poor when there is a lot of “fresh water”.
We had a long shoreline and anglers were generally well spread out. Some areas fished a lot better than others. The best pike caught was Fran Crosbie`s 11-05.
73 people attended the presentation dinner.  Inland Fisheries Minister Fergus O`Dowd was our guest of honour.  He gave a short speech ourtlining what he was doing to completely update our outdated inland fisheries legislation.
The top 10 anglers who will represent Ireland in the International Challenge in England next October are:
1st Joe McDermott
2nd. Sean Markey
3rd Derek Mohan
4th Alan Heasley
5th Fran Crosbie
6th Andrej Duran
7th Jimmy Clarke
8th Eugene McCabe
9th Eddie Mcgurke
10th Jody Kiernan

Most agree that this is a very strong team who must have a great chance of retaining the Challenge Cup against England in England later this year.

Minister of state for Fisheries Fergus O'Dowd TD with all ten winners