Rudy van Duijnhoven reports from the Kings Classic in Co. Leitrim…

Prior to the four days of the competition, the King’s Classic, started on Tuesday last week, as the Lol Higgings Memorial 2022 was fished on the Monday on the same pegs as the Classic. The sectors were on Lough Scur, Garadice Lake and Eonish. Theresa Kennedy’s Glenview House was this year the epicentre for both competitions, here the nets were being disinfected and the draws and the prize giving took place here as well. Participants were staying at different B & B’s and hotels in the area. The directions to the different sectors were put up by the staff of the Inland Fisheries Ireland. The King’s Classic is supported and/or sponsored by Shimano (main sponsor), Tourism Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Berlok Groundbait, Tackle Guru and Country Leitrim.

The Lol Higgings Memorial competition lasted five hours, from eleven o’clock to four o’clock, after which staff from Inland Fisheries Ireland took care of weighing the catches. The weather had been almost un-Irishly beautiful, dry, sunny or only slightly overcast, about twenty degrees and a little wind which only occasionally picked up. On the different sectors the fishermen sometimes switched between the pole and the feeder rod. If the takes on the pole dropped off for a while, perhaps because a pike was active on the swim that sometimes managed to steal a fish, a feeder was placed at a distance again. The pole seemed to produce the highest catch weights, although the bigger fish were often caught on the feeder rod. The results of the Lol Higgings Memorial would be announced on the Friday, at the same time as the results of the King’s Classic. Steelworks ( sponsored a plateau for the winner of the Lol Higgings Memorial.

Big Tench from Lough Scur

On Monday evening at Glenview House around 6.30pm a draw took place for the order of the sectors for the different competitors. The draw for the peg numbers would take place each day at eight o’clock in the morning, also at Glenview House. On Tuesday it was even warmer than on Monday. After the draw at Glenview House at 8am, the competitors soon left for the various sectors. The sectors on Eonish seemed to be producing good fish, especially with the pole, including for Willem Multem. On Connoly Shores, on Garadice Lake, the feeder rod in particular produced the most fish. Andrew Higgins, wearing shorts and with his boots full of water, gathered a nice weight of 9,500 grams. Only Francis McGoldrick came close with 7,920 grams.

The second day brought some more wind and at least on Garadice Lake some lesser catches, but the other sectors seem to remain constant or even improve. In sector A, Marco Hofman had a lot of perch on his fishing spot, but these fish gave him the sector win in the end, while André Schipper took the second place in this sector with the pole, followed by Martin Snijders on 50 grams. In sector D, also on Eonish Lake, Willem van der Helm got off to a great start, collecting almost twice as much weight with the pole than Leo Koot, who had a slower start, and young Charlie Richards came third. Simon Willsmore won his sector on Garadice Lake this day as well, second was André Multem, third Sipke Goldstein. Arjan Klop lived up to his Dutch name and beat everyone on Lough Scur. Francis McGoldrick came in second, Rien Verhoeckx third.

Fish and weed for Marco Hofman on Garadice Lake

The wind was again much lighter on the third day of the King’s Classic, but the catches were clearly better than the day before! After the presentation of the sector prizes from the previous day and the drawing of the peg numbers, the calm soon returned to Glenview House. Simon Willsmore was again unstoppable on Lough Scur, The Rocks. With over fourteen kilograms, he was well ahead of Sepke Golstein and André Multem, who had over eleven kilograms each. Anne-Jurgen Golstein’s three tench, plus many fine roach and hybrids, helped him to a fourth place with over ten kilograms. On Connoly Shore, Marco Hofman now had to acknowledge his superiority to Peter Kruithof, the difference being only 140 grams… Third place here was for Tom Sexton with five kilograms. Francis McGoldrick did well in sector D on Eonish Lake with almost eight kilograms of fish, Andrew Higgins came in second and Martin Marico third with over six and five kilograms respectively. Willem van der Helm also won his section this day, sector A on Eonish Lake, with almost fifteen kilograms of roach and hybrids. Peter van de Walle came in second and Leo Koot third, both with over twelve kilograms.

Simon Willsmore in action on Lough Scur

On the fourth and final day of the King’s Classic, the road to the final victory was still open to several participants. Martin Marico won sector A on Eonish with 8,700 grams, second was Luk Lubbers with 8,500 grams and third Francis McGoldrick with 7,600 grams. Willem van der Helm won his sector B on Garadice Lake again, with 12,800 grams. Leo Koot came in second with 10,800 grams and Johan Backaert third with 7,700 grams. Sector C on Lough Scur, The Rocks, was again won by Marco Hofman with 14,500 grams, second was André Schipper with 13,400 grams and third Willem Multem with 10,600 grams. Sipke Goldstein did good business in sector D on Eonish, with 7,200 grams he took first place, second was André Multem with 6,550 grams and third Simon Willsmore with 3,800 grams.

On the Friday evening, the results of the Lol Higgings Memorial and the King’s Classic (for which the worst result of one of the days was cancelled) were announced and the prizes presented.

Willem van der Helm, the festival winner, shows a roach from Eonish

Lol Higgings Memorial:

  1. Willem van der Helm, 15,300 grams
  2. André Multem, 15,250 grams
  3. Marco Hofman, 13,950 grams
  4. Peter van de Walle, 13,750 grams
  5. Marnik Vekeman, 10,950 gramsFinal results King’s Classic 2022:
    1. Willem van der Helm, 3 points, 47,900 grams
    2. Simon Willsmore, 3 points, 42,590 grams
    3. Marco Hofman, 3 points, 38.450 grams
    4. Leo Koot, 5 points, 34.500 grams
    5. Francis McGoldrick, 5 points, 30,820 grams
    6. Sipke Goldstein, 6 points, 25,300 grams
    7. André Multem, 6 points, 25,210 grams
    8. Andrew Higgins, 7 points, 22,700 grams
    9. Martin Marico, 7 points, 18,660 grams
    10. André Schippers, 8 points, 29,800 grams

    For more information about the next edition of the King’s Classic in 2023, which is provisionally scheduled for the same week, please visit the website