This annual event held on Saturday 11th October was organised by the Ulster Coarse Fishing Federation a provincial council of the NCFFI and sponsored by Waterways Ireland and Shakespeare Tackle with additional support from Irish Bait & Tackle and Magherafelt District Council. This year the venue was, courtesy of Bann Systems Ltd, the Lower River Bann at Magherafelt District Council’s coarse angling facility near Portglenone.

Schools from across Northern Ireland were invited to enter teams of 4 anglers of any ability and places were quickly filled. 20 schools entered the event from the four corners of the Province.

Erne integrated
Erne integrated

Weather conditions on the day were good for the match and the 80 competitors, but unfortunately there was little or no flow on the river which made the angling difficult. Tactics were largely determined by the experience of the anglers present; those juniors with some experience and tackle fished the whip or pole while others used feeder tactics. Weights, because of the conditions were lower than last year with the best recorded weight of 2.080 kg by James O’Doherty from Erne Integrated College.

NCFFI - 2014-10-11 16.22.33 com[pA panel of UCFF certified coaches and officials were on the bank to help the less experienced armed with ample supplies of swim-feeders, hooks and bits & pieces supplied by Shakespeare Tackle and with fresh maggots from Irish Bait & Tackle nearly everyone caught fish.

For many of the competitors it was their first time angling and with roach, gudgeon, perch and some small skimmers caught it is sure to release the angling bug in our juniors who all enjoyed the day!

Winner James O'Doherty comp
Winner James O’Doherty comp

Congratulations to Coleraine Academical Institution whose team took first place in the competition with 12 points with the school awarded with a Silver Plate. Runners up were Dromore High School with 16 points and in third place Erne Integrated College with 17 points.

NCFFI - 2014-10-11 15.11.22 compMagherafelt District Council hosted the presentation at the Parochial Hall in Bellaghy held after the competition. Councillor Kate McEldowney was present to award the winners with their tackle prizes, vouchers, medals and trophies valued at over £1,500.

1st place Coleraine Academical Institution, – Each team member received a Shakespeare Agility feeder rod, a Gold medal and a tackle voucher valued at £30. The school received a silver plate.

2nd place Dromore High School – Each team member received an Agility fishing reel, a Silver medal and a tackle voucher valued at £20.

3rd place Erne Integrated College – Each team member received a Shakespeare Keepnet, a Bronze medal and a tackle voucher valued at £15.

Tackle prizes were also awarded to the individual angler with the best weight in their section as follows;

Individual Winner

James O’Doherty Erne –  Integrated College, 2.080 kg

Section A

Paul Cunningham  – Coleraine Academical Inst. 1.150 kg

Section B

John Hyland – Dromore High School 0.330 kg

Section C

James Cunningham – Coleraine Academical Inst. 1.550 kg

Section D

Oliver Ferris – Dromore High School 0.370 kg

The UCFF would like to thank all the sponsors for this event encouraging the promotion of angling as a sport and pastime in Northern Ireland but also to the coaches, parents & teachers who were on hand to assist.

All our members of the UCFF work on a voluntary basis to introduce juniors to their sport. It has been rewarding to receive the following feedback;

Once again, many thanks for organising a wonderful day. Indeed two of our Team, who despite never having fished at all before, and not catching on the day, have decided to try Coarse Angling seriously! Hope to see you next year” Phil Arnold – Omagh High School

Just to say my lads and dads enjoyed the day. You can’t put a price on the value of that experience together. Moreover congratulations to you and your team on such a professional event and I would participate in future events or similar if offered . Thanks again. ” Gary Todd – Loughshore

“Thanks. We all had a good day and thank you and your team for the opportunity. I was very impressed with the patience shown by the members of your team and the time they gave to helping the kids. Hope to perform better next year. It has further fired the interest for such fishing with several of the boys we took along” Gavin Pyper – Ballymena Academy

Participating schools: Coleraine Academical Institution, Dromore High School, Erne Integrated College, RBAI, De La Salle, Loughshore, Saintfield High School, Bangor Grammar, Newtownbreda, Omagh High School, Magherafelt High and Ballymena

NCFFI - Waterways Ireland School competition 2014