Mayo man scoops world fishing title
SÉAMUS Kelly didn’t have far to travel to become a world champion — in fact he didn’t even have to leave his home county. The keen fisherman from Cloghans, near Ballina, clinched the coveted title of World Cup Trout Fly champion on Lough Mask last week.
The delighted winner received a prize worth over €10,000 and reported that he caught his two fish close to the Inishowen Rocks on a Green Deer Sedge. In so doing, he joined an elite list of winners in the annual World Cup Trout Fly Angling Championship, the fifty-first instalment of which took place on the scenic lake from Thursday, July 31, to Monday, August 4.
“Séamus is a well-known fisherman and would be regarded as an expert in north Mayo where he fishes on Lough Conn, where his family has a boat hire business and ghillie service. He was a popular winner and he has a great record of qualifying for the finals. This time around he came good,” remarked Denis Kelleher, competition PRO.
The prestigious event saw 676 anglers competing for the coveted title and devotees of the rod and line from all over the world converged on Ballinrobe for the hugely popular event that was reportedly worth over half a million to the local economy.
Mr Kelleher said the event was a huge success despite the introduction of new fishing regulations which threatened to cause havoc for the organising committee.
A new bye-law, restricting the catch of fish per day to four trout per angler, was signed off by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, just two days before the competition began. “We didn’t have arrangements put in place prior to the competition as we didn’t actually think it would be signed off on before then,” said Mr Kelleher.
“We had to change the rules a small bit but it worked out favourably.”
Mr Kelleher added that had the fishing conditions been more productive the new law would have caused problems and resulted in fish returning to the waters.
“The competition went extremely well. The fishing conditions weren’t ideal but if the weather and fishing conditions were predictable it wouldn’t be half as much fun. A lot of luck goes into the competition.”
Each of the anglers fished one day between Thursday and Sunday, with the top quarter from each heat going through to the final. There were 102 boats on Lough Mask on Monday as anglers from Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, France, Germany and Ireland battled for the top prize of a boat, trailer, outboard engine and trophy – valued at over €10,000.
In keeping with Mayo’s success on the day, overall winning boatman was Ballinrobe man Kevin Beattie who received a substantial cash prize along with the PJ Feerick Memorial Cup.
“The event is a great boost to the local economy and there is added value in the fact that many of those taking part and attending the festival stay on in the area for longer,” concluded Mr Kelleher.