The top quality of pike angling on Lough Derg was underlined on Sunday last when in excess of 40 fish were weighed in the Lough Derg Angler Association’s Open Competition, which was hosted by Garrykennedy Fishing Club.

The winner of the €500 first prize, with a fine fish of 19lbs, was visiting Belgian angler, Ben Beernaert, who said that he and his friends had been coming to stay in the Lough Derg area for many years because of the top quality fishing available on the lake.

Ben Beernaerd and Paul Bourke with this 19 lbs Pike at Williamstown Harbour
Ben Beernaerd and Paul Bourke with this 19 lbs Pike at Williamstown Harbour

Shane creamer (Garrykennedy Angling Club) said that the conditions were not ideal for pike angling; however, there were absolutely no complaints.  The competition began at 11am and many of the boats went out onto the lake with a slight fog on the lake and the sky a little overcast.  However, by noon and up until 6pm when the competition ended, the bright, sun reflective conditions on the lake presented some additional challenges for the pike anglers – which they adapted tactics to and overcame.

Derg ranks among the top pike lakes in Europe, and there is few who know it better than the Portroe angling guide Paul Bourke of Irish Fishing Tours ( who introduced the winning angler over some of the best fishing spots on the lake. As a result, Ben Beernaert and Paul managed to weigh in a top total of nine pike, including one of 13lbs 6ozs which secured the Portroe man fourth position overall.

Lough Derg
Bright sunshine and clear skies made for tough conditions

The prize giving ceremony took place in Garrykennedy Fishing Club’s headquarters, where the Chairman of the Lough Derg Anglers, Mick Gough, paid tribute to the Garrykennedy club for the great work members put in to hosting the highly successful competition.

Garrykenny Club Chairman Shane Creamer, who spearheaded the organisation of the event, thanked the fifty plus anglers who took part from all counties bordering the lake, and the team of weighmasters, including a number from Inland Fisheries Ireland, who spent the day weighing and releasing captured fish at various points around the lake. He also thanked all the sponsors, including Bond’s angling shop in Limerick; Herman’s angling shop in Ballina; Newsfayre in Nenagh, Mal McCormack and Garry Kenny, Portumna.

The prize winners were as follows:

  1. Ben Beernaert, Belgium, 19lbs.
  2. Paul Hanly, Ballina/Killaloe, 15lbs 14½ozs.
  3.  John Kennedy, Garrykennedy, 15 lbs 2ozs.
  4. Paul Bourke, Garrykennedy, 13lbs 6ozs.
  5. Charlie Lyons, St Flannan’s, Killaloe, 12lbs 6ozs
  6.  Eddie Hynes, Bunglasha.
  7. Mike Reddan, St Flannan’s
  8.  John Bray
  9. Eddie McGrath, Garrykenney and Dromineer.
  10. Tommy Buggy, Kilkenny.
  11. Shane Lancaster, Ballina-Killaloe
  12.  Keelin O’ Connor, Garrykennedy.