The 2013 Waterways Ireland Erne World Open Pike Fishing Classic took place over the weekend 04 – 06 October. The three day event consisted of one day Bank fishing competition, a Boat Fly fishing competition (both on Friday) and a separate two day Boat fishing Competition (Saturday and Sunday).
NCFFI - Oct (1)An excellent turnout of 338 entries of 160 different anglers from 16 different counties in Ireland were received, as well as a number of anglers from France. This is the eighth year of the event, which, from its inception, has been supported and sponsored by Waterways Ireland.
NCFFI - Oct (2)Despite high water temperatures on the river Erne competitors caught a record number of 239 Pike during the event; with four fish over 15lbs being caught over the weekend which included a fish of 21lbs which won the event. All fish were weighed and released unharmed.

The weekend started with the Bank and Fly events on Friday in excellent weather conditions. Frankie Roofe from Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh dominated the Fly event, which was fished downstream of Portora Lock Gates. Frankie took the £300 first prize with a fish of 9lbs 06ozs, while Stephen Martin from Omagh, Co Tyrone took second place with fish weighing 3lbs 10ozs. Colin Chartres from Fivemiletown, Co Tyrone took third prize with a fish weighing 1lbs 08oz. The nine anglers fishing caught a total of five fish.

NCFFI - Oct (4)The Bank event had 82 entries and took place on the river sections of Upper Lough Erne mainly and around Enniskillen town. Lisburn angler, Phillip Gibson took the top prize in the event of £1,000 with an excellent fish of 17lbs 10ozs from the Derrychara section of the river. Alwyn Johnston from Co Antrim (£400) was runner up with a fish weighing 12lbs 09ozs from the Cornagrade section, while Alan Curry Co Kildare (£300) claimed third prize with a fish weighing 11bs 10oz. Alan won the cumulative prize of £500 with a three fish catch totalling 24lbs 00ozs from the very productive Derrychara section. As well as a £2,900 prize fund for the Bank event, each of the 10 section winners were awarded a section crystal trophy.

Day one of the Boat event produced a 16lb 15oz fish for Co Longford angler Joe McDermott this big fish earned Joe the runner up overall prize of £1,500. Co Tyrone angler Tomasz Gabrysiak, caught a fish of 15lbs 10ozs, winning the top prize of £500 for the day. Five additional prizes ranging from £300 to £100 were paid out to anglers on the first day.

NCFFI - Oct (5)Day two of the boat event saw another two big fish landed with Joe McDermott catching a 16lbs 04ozs fish to place him third overall (£1,000) as well as big fish on day one.
Winner of the Boat event was David Sharpe from Belfast when he caught a 21lbs 00oz fish late in the day.
Day two winner was local angler Glen Hall from Lisbellaw winning the £500 daily prize with a fish weighing 13lbs 06ozs.

In the overall standings, David Sharpe’s fish weighing 21lbs 00oz, earned him the £3,000 top prize while the ever consistant Joe McDermott was second and third winning £2,500.

Father and son team Jason and Joe McDermott from Co Longford won the cumulative Boat prize (£500) with a record catch of 11fish weighing 113lbs 09ozs.

A 14 teams entered this year’s 4-Man Inter Club/County/International team event (with £1,000 going to the winning team), which was won by Team, Shannon Co Longford/Westmeath for the second year in a row. Joe McDermott, Jason McDermott, Barry and Fininan Darby caught a total of 17 fish weighing 134lbs 08ozs.

NCFFI - Oct (3)For the first time the Boat event included a section of the Lower Lough Erne which proved a resounding success with all three main prize listed fish coming from this area. The organisers plan to increase the area used for next year’s event.

The weekend concluded with a Prize Giving Ceremony in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen where Erne Anglers Club Secretary, Jack Tisdall, thanked the main sponsors, Waterways Ireland, for their continued support. He also thanked Fermanagh District Council and DCAL for their continued help and support in organising the event.

Jack commented: “The Waterways Ireland Erne World Pike Classic is without doubt the premier Pike Angling event in the world, with a total of £14,000 prize fund, and 160 anglers taking part over the weekend, despite the current economic climate proves we must be doing something right.”

Brian D’arcy, Waterways Ireland, presented the Boat Prizes and commented: “Waterways Ireland is very proud to be associated with this prestigious competition and congratulations to all the Anglers who participated in both the on-shore and the boat fishing events. Waterways Ireland is particularly pleased that this year’s event has grown so much in popularity, bringing competitors from both sides of the border, as well as from much further afield. We are delighted that so many, old friends and new, have experienced the outstanding fishing that the Erne has to offer.
we look forward to welcoming many anglers back next year to catch an even bigger pike, we know they are out there !”.

Councillor Alex Baird, Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, presented the prizes for the Fly event and commented: “Fermanagh District Council prides itself in developing events in the County and it is pleasing that our natural resources are being used in a sympathetic way to further develop our tourist product.
“This is the eighth time this event has been held in Fermanagh and I understand there is an excellent turnout of anglers despite the current economic climate. I believe the competition is one of the most prestigious pike angling events in the World and we hope that the standards set by the Erne event will be a benchmark for others.”

Seamus Connor DCAL, presented the Prizes for the Bank Event and commented: I am delighted with that a record number of fish caught and the large turnout of anglers supporting the event. The Pike Classic is organised through a partnership approach and DCAL is very pleased to be able to play a part in making the event happen. The Erne System is a World class fishery and is the perfect location to host the World Pike Competition.”

Keith Collen, Recreation Officer for Fermanagh District Council, went on to say: “The response to the Erne Competition has been outstanding; the anglers really enjoyed the 2013 event, although there are always a few things which we would reassess for future events. We believe that the Competition will go from strength to strength.”

All fish caught were successfully returned alive and unharmed to the Erne. The Organisers continually strive to ensure that fish welfare is paramount during the Competition and best practice was employed when handling the fish under the supervision of event stewards and DCAL staff.

The event was sponsored by Waterways Ireland and organised by the Erne Anglers Angling Club (affiliated to the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland), Fermanagh District Council and the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Inland Fisheries Division.

Compliments of Jack Tisdall,
International Event Committee