Monday saw the commencement of the 2017 Classic Fishing Festival in County Fermanagh, the forty second year of Ireland’s premier coarse fishing competition. Two Hundred and forty anglers lined the sun-drenched banks of the Erne, each one hoping to net the week’s winning haul of fish that would land them the top prize of £5,000 and a crystal chalice, or some of the many other cash prizes on offer during the competition.
Following day one of the competition, one angler has laid down the gauntlet to his fellow competitors, with a very impressive first day catch of 32 kg 590 gms. Fishing on the fancied Portora section, Ross-on-Wye angler Craig Brown netted £500 and a healthy lead for his efforts. In second place after day one is Stuart Northop from St Neots with 24 kg 360 gms, caught at the Inishmore Viaduct Section.
With the Broadmeadow and Killyhevlin sections fishing well, they have also produced the third and fourth spots on the results table. Another English visitor, Mathew Wise lies in third with 23 kg 780 gms from peg 1 at the Broadmeadow and Irish angler Dara Finnegan is fourth with 22 kg 070 gms from peg 4 at Killyhevlin. Top local angler is Keith Murphy from Tempo in 17 place, with a first day catch of 14 kg 540 gm from the Portora section.
The weather conditions leading up the festival and the low level of Lough Erne were ideal for sunbathing rather than fishing, but the organisers are very pleased with the first day’s catches. Expectations will be high for day two of the competition, when anglers gather for the draw at the Lakeland forum in Enniskillen on Wednesday morning.
The Classic is sponsored by Waterways Ireland and is organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in conjunction with the Inland Fisheries Division of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
For information contact Katrina McGirr, Waterways Ireland on +353(0)71 95 50560 or Eddie McGovern, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on 0300 3031777.