The long and toughly contested Killybegs Mariners SAC shore league 2023/24 came to its conclusion at the weekend as 21 anglers lined up on the north side of Rossnowlagh for an expected night of good fishing.

The weather earlier in the day included glorious heat for the competitors, but the night session was more of an anti climax – with a wintery and drizzly westerly breeze that seemed to move the fish from this normally very productive venue out to deeper waters. This left many anglers frantically changing traces and trying a variety of baits but still unable to coax in a fish.

With more than half the anglers drawing a frustrating blank on the night, every single fish was a precious bonus for those lucky enough to get them.

Gavin Dorrian’s unassailable lead going into this final leg meant that he was already guaranteed championship top spot, but he still worked hard and managed to be one of the few to get a flounder of 32cm on the night and won himself the ‘longest flattie’ pool.

Meanwhile, John Cunningham, lying in second place overall going into this leg, consolidated his position by winning this outing with two flounders and a turbot.

In joint second on the night was Darren Rawdon, with two flounders, and Brendan Green with a smashing 40cm flounder – a fish of real quality on a night of generally poor quantity.

Finishing off the night was the ‘lucky peg’ and on this occasion it was Prionsias Doherty whose blank fishing night turned into a profitable one at the end.

It will be interesting to see the final league table positions when the scores are calculated to see who has managed to nip into the third place prize behind Gavin and John as the men that had been lying in 3rd & 4th place in the table respectively both blanked in this final outing, this may have left the door open for someone further down to pip them to the post…

All in all it was perhaps a disappointing finish to the league but it has been a fantastic season, and one of the closest fought ever. Everyone will be eagerly awaiting the kick off of the 2024/25 league next September…

Sea angling in Donegal