Dan O’Neil reports was stewarding at the Thomastown Fly Fishing Competition at the weekend…

This weekend I was stewarding at the 2023 Thomastown angling competition that was held on the River Nore.

Water levels were certainly going to be challenging for the weekend but it was a sure thing that these competitors had a plan A, B, C, D and so on. Talking to some of the angler’s face to face was great as opposed to a text or an email. Looking around the yard of the scout’s den in Thomastown, which was our gathering point, you could feel the eagerness from both anglers and stewards as to where their chosen beats lay. Beats started at the Kings river and worked their way down through Mount Juliet and on in to Thomastown.

I was going to be stewarding on B1 which many of you may know as George’s wall. I, of course, couldn’t go without future steward, Angling critic and my son, Anthony.  Mesmerized by what he called the “FA cup final of fishing” Anthony looked at the Anglers with admiration which they all deserved, showing that level of obsessiveness for their sport.

anglers working a glide at Thomastown

As the time approached for first session Anthony had the measure set beside him, a bottle of water to wet the measure and his hands before the fish was placed in it to be measured and of course the score card. It wasn’t long before I heard “no way he has one already”. So we were 45-60 seconds in and the first fish was measured carefully and released. The session was very busy for Anthony and he measured and recorded many trout and even some dace.

Anthony carefully measuring a trout

The second session was very much the same but it was very interesting to see the difference in approach to the beat by each team. Both successful ways to approach but very different which I found interesting. The 3rd session on the Sunday morning I really enjoyed watching. The team worked hard on the lower reaches of the beat but as they came into the flat water the session just took off for them. It seemed to be trout after trout with both anglers hooking fish at the same time on numerous occasions.

changing tactics at Thomastown

The Thomastown competition seems to be gaining more and more traction. The anglers involved are superb and true ambassadors for the sport. I watched anglers run across the river at speed with a fish to save time but take extreme care and time when unhooking the fish to make sure it went back OK. Fish care was paramount to anglers and stewards. Every angler Anthony came in contact with gave him flies and spoke to him which was important, as a young angler he truly looks up to these guys and they made his day by taking the time to talk to and encourage him which was admirable.

A great event that brings angling life to Thomastown and surrounding areas. Well organised by the club and a weekend that is firmly set in many an anglers calendar.

A very well done to all competitors on what was heavy water in places,

Countdown is on for Thomastown Competition 2024.

Dan O Neill    A.P.G.A.I Ireland
Cadence UK and Ireland fly fishing Ambassador

Go Fishing…

South East Casting

Address Thomastown Kilkenny Ireland Mobile Phone: +353857652751