Ever since the River Finn was host to the Junior Home Internationals in the late 90’s Clones has held an annual coarse angling festival on a selection of the numerous lakes in the area. The competition annually attracts visiting anglers to the region for an extended bank holiday weekend attracting anglers from across the island as well as those who travel over from England. This year was no different and 38 anglers travelled to fish the event.
The Creighton hotel plays host to the morning draw where breakfast is served and the results pondered over each evening. The all-important supplies of fresh bait were on-site from Irish Bait & Tackle Limited and Lakeside Angling, a key component for those taking part.
The festival was played out on four lakes by rotation in the Clones/Ballybay area with each venue providing ease of access and parking at your peg. Unsettled weather made for unpredictable fishing combined and combned with the crystal clear waters made for a challenging match on the varied venues to include Annaghmekerrig Lake, Bairds Shore and Bream Rock on White Lake and Mullinary also on the Dromore system. The pole dominated the match with less caught on the tip.
Taking the lead on a tough day one with 6.780kg, Newry angler Rory O’Neil led the festival throughout to finish in first place with 43.880kg. County Fermanagh anglers dominated the match and eleven fine tench for Phil McCaffrey on the final day at Mullinary Lake secured him the runner-up position finishing with 39.620kg, whilst a similar number of tench catapulted John Potters from 15th to 3rd position on the final day. Finishing 4th was Tony Kersley and in 5th place was visiting angler Mick Smith.
The weights varied day by day with top weights to include Mark Theedom (Tubertini) at Bream Rock on Saturday with 19.170kg, Kevin Ashurst with 12.500kg from Bairds Shore on Sunday and John Potters with 17.400kg on Monday also from Bream Rock. Pole angling legend Kevin Ashurst, celebrating his 80th Birthday attends the festival annually having close links to Clones it being the first place in Ireland his Dad Benny brought him to fish at 16 years of age.
Congratulations to the top 5, rotation and section winners and everyone who took part. Clones Coarse Anglers would like to thank Tyrone Guthrie Annaghmakerrig, local landowners, Clones/Ballybay Municipal Council for their support. Thanks to all this who took part and to Creighton Hotel Clones for their hospitality.
The festival will be held on Fri 31st July to Monday 3rd August in 2020.