This year saw the NCFFI make its base for Ireland’s National Coarse Angling Championships Ballybay in County Monaghan.  The market town which sits on the shores of Lough Major was chosen for its accessibility to a number of nearby competition angling venues which has the Dromore system on its doorstep.  The Ballybay Angling Association have recently enjoyed excellent fishing at their festivals and offered to host the event on their productive waters.


Recent wet weather dampened the spirits of some anglers but 113 arrived at the Riverdale hotel to register for the competition in a torrential downpour of rain.  This was to continue throughout the day with short sunny spells in-between and did impact on weights of fish recorded during the day.

Local venues fished included Lough Major, White Lake, Lough Egish, Corkeeran and Lough Sillan in County Cavan.  After the all important net dip, anglers headed inside to make the draw for their peg for the day.  This year to facilitate those travelling from afar, a car draw was introduced with the competitors provided with maps and driving directions additionally supplemented with road signage.

The long running National Championships now in it’s 56th year is open to everyone and attracts those from all communities representing a range of clubs across Ireland; also joined by the visiting angler from the UK., Irish internationals, aspiring juniors, festival goers and those out for a good days fishing all contributing to the buzz in the draw hall.  Sadly some anglers from the southern end of Ireland did not travel on the day to this lovely northernmost venue in Co. Monaghan.

Predicting where the top weight was going to come from was difficult.  Lough Egish and it’s fine stamp of roach was a contender and several top anglers were drawn there.  A smaller venue, Corkeeran Lake, which recently produced a 26 kg. weight during a recent festival or the unknown of Lough Major which had not been used by the competition anglers for a while. During the competition, most anglers used two main methods to fish at most sections on these great loughs.  Feeder fishing at longer range was one method building up a swim at distance hopefully for bream and also alternating feeding bait into an inside swim which most anglers fished with long pole and short line.  Anglers mainly switched between the two baited areas during the five hours fishing.  The usual baits were all employed including blends of groundbaits, hemp, maggots, casters and worms that anglers used on the day.  At most sections on the loughs, small fish of mainly roach, some hybrids and perch formed the main bulk of catches weighed in.  The smaller Corkeeran lough did produce a few bigger bream but sadly only smaller numbers were recorded on the day.

After five hours of fishing, Vaidas Jagela from Dublin and a member of the Go & Catch Feeder Fishing Club took the title with a great 20.300 kg. net of roach all caught on a 6 metre and 4 metre whips.  Vaidas was able to take his great catch of small fish on this deadly method on an inside swim that was full of fish.   A delighted Vaidas for whom Ireland has been home for the last twelve years was immensely proud to take the title explaining that he and his club members regularly hold their own competitions in order to gain the experience required to reach the standard to fish alongside the Irish anglers.  All venues fished well with very good nets of smaller fish recorded on the day and competition was keen among the anglers for the vital section wins.  One feature which contributed to the competitive nature of the match was that the winner from every five anglers earned a cash payout at the end.  On all venues, many catches of over 10 kilos of small fish were taken on the day with all anglers catching fish at all pegs which contributed to a great match.  Sadly the bigger bream which reside at all of these venues did not feed this day.

Just two ladies joined the anglers this year with current holder Mary Tigwell unable to defend her title.  The honour went to Sheila Bromley of Ballybay Angling Association who just pipped 13 year old Roisin Bohan from Country Leitrim who was putting in some practise ahead of her trials for the Irish Youth team.

The anglers were treated afterwards to food and refreshments at the Riverdale Hotel in Ballybay and the winners dually collected their trophies and cash at the end of a very successful championships.  Great thanks are due to Ballybay Angling Association, Riverdale Hotel Ballybay, Inland Fisheries Ireland IFI, Irish Bait & Tackle Limited and Paul Bourke.

Next up is the NCFFI Championships for Clubs which takes place on the Grand Canal the weekend of the 13th & 14th of August.  The event includes an optional entry for those teams who wish to qualify to represent Ireland at the World Clubs Championships in France in 2017.  Contact Gavin Walsh on 087 613 9551. The Junior version of the All Ireland championships will be held in Killeshandra, Co. Cavan on the 27th of August – call Sean Ward on 086 811 5526 to book

The NCFFI is a member of the Angling Council of Ireland and the National Governing Body for Coarse and Predator angling as recognised by Sport Ireland and SportNI.