DISABLED INTERNATIONAL ON LOUGH ANNAGH 2007

Recently, (23rd & 24th June) the International Fly Fishing Championship match of the U.K. for disabled anglers was held on Lough Annagh in County Cavan, Ireland. The local club managing the lough had made a good job of organising the event. It proved to be a humdinger of a match. We have learnt over many years of the wisdom of holding the Disabled Match over two days. (Could this be considered for the other International matches?) The Welsh team ran away with the competition on the first day with Dai Evans from Cwm Twrch, a member of the Tawe Angling Club being the star performer. He took the top prize for the biggest catch and also the biggest fish. Both Alan Amber (Captain) and Aurwel Griffiths, also members of Tawe Angling Club, had good catches. Other members of the Welsh team were Arthur Owen, Mitch Atherton and Edwyn Jones of Trawsfynydd A.C. ; Gordon Hampson, Seiont A.C.; Tevor Jones Rhayader A.C. As we feared, the results of day two, favoured the English Team and they ran away with the top overall team spot. Wales were a worthy second, Scotland were third and Ireland fourth. . It is accepted that Ireland has the best wild trout fishing in the home countries. The loughs are a pleasure to fish – but Lough Annagh is one lough that is being stocked with rainbow trout. Whoever thought that we would be going to Ireland to fish for stocked rainbow trout? The custom is expanding over there and Lough Owel is also destined to be stocked with rainbows. Undoubtedly, the rainbows will do well in the Irish Loughs and rivers. The group of anglers who were organising the International match had worked hard to get the boats and the fishery ready for the occasion. It is amazing that most Irish anglers who fish loughs own their own boats and are very adept at moving them from one fishery to another with no fuss at all. They merely load the boat onto a trailer, attach the trailer to the car and off they go. Things are definitely changing in Ireland. This was the first time – in hundreds of visits to the Emerald Isle over the last half century – that I had to purchase a permit to fish one of their loughs. Is this something that could spread to other loughs, I wonder? Compared with our permit prices for fishing reservoirs, it was very reasonable i.e €12 for a day’s permit. As someone who has visited Ireland annually for over fifty years, I may be accused of preaching about the good old days yet again. But I am sure that the fishing on offer there at the moment is certainly not as good as it was back in the Good Old Days. The modern hotels, palatial houses for B&Bs and up market stores that European money has helped to finance are extremely attractive but like most other countries pollution is becoming a problem on some of their fisheries. We the members of the Welsh party fished lough Sheelin for a day but although we were twelve in number not one of us managed to catch a single trout. The Irish Fishing Authorities have addressed the problem of the dearth of salmon and closed over a hundred rivers for salmon fishing – no doubt they will address the problem of pollution with equal efficiency