Lough Conn and Cullin two day Competition

OH My God the Rain

Lough Conn has and always will have a special place in my heart and i always look forward to the Lough Conn and Cullin 2 day competition held on the June Bank Holiday Weekend. At this time of year the fishing can be tricky. The big hatches of Mayfly can be coming to and end or have stopped, saying that there will always be a few Mayfly hatching somewhere on the lake.. I have fished this competition for a long time and i can tell you sometimes the sport can be electric given the right conditions.

 

I had arrived on the thursday morning a few days before the competition to do some practice . When i drove the boat out of the harbour at 11 o'clock that thursday morning it was raining hard. As it was a bit blowy i headed for Massbrook point, not too far away and it always has a late hatch of fly. I had tied up a few emeergers to try  for the trip and suprisingly i had a fish on my very first cast. A small fish but a fish none the less. The  Mayfly started to hatch between 12.15pm and 12.30pm. Fish came to the surface consistantly over the next 3 hours, but no matter what i did, changing leader strenght, small flies, big flies , i only managed to put one fish in the boat i could call a keeper. At about 4pm i had boated more than a few fish but i just couldnt get the larger specimens,.I drifted back down the lake , fishing points as i went.  At 5.15pm i had enough it was still pouring out of the heavens, i was soaked through.

Thank god i was staying in the Anglers Shack. owned by my  good firend Eamonn Kelly, as soon as i got in the door i rushed to have a shower, i was cold to the bone.

 

Day 2 Practice

The following morning my Dad arrived and after breakfast we headed out. Massbrook was our intended spot. We waited for the fly to hatch and at 12:30 pm it did. Some fish came to the surface but not many. It seemed to be a lot quieter in that area than the day before. It rained all morning and into the afternoon, but finally at 4pm the clouds parted and the sun shone for the first time in days. It was so nice to feel the warmth of the sun. We headed for shore at 6pm. We had fish, but the elusive 13 inchers were hard to find.

Competition Day 1

On the morning of Day 1 of the competion we were met by lovely overcast conditions. It looked like the rain would stay away and the wind would not get up as bad as expected. I was drawn with Tipperary man Eddie O'Brien and he was willing to go where ever i wanted.

 

When the hooter sounded at 11am to mark the start of the competition. all the engines roared and we were off. We headed to the pumphouse. There were 5 or 6 boats doing the pins and it got a bit crowded. The first few drifts produced swirls and no more under my dries and Eddie hooked two nice fish but they were only briefly on.

Four drifts later things did not improve for either of us, splashy rises with very few Mayfly on the water, it was time for a move. We decided to go across the lake to Abbey Point to have our lunch.  There were no boats in the area and as we had our lunch i could see a few fish rise in the distance. 

I decided to go right up into Flannerys bay out of the wind and into shallow water. It was nice and quiet and i felt if we hooked a fish here, it could be a keeper. We rose a few fish on the first drift , we were now both on drys. On the second drift a lovely fish head and tailed on my point  fly which was a Wulf, i lifted and was met with solid resistance,the hook came out seconds later. 

We decided another drift was in order, Eddie had put 3 small fish in the boat but i had a feeling there were bigger fish about. In the same spot as the fish took on the  previous drift a big black head came up and down so slowly on my size 12 wulf on the top dropper, i lifted and the surface exploded.

The rod arched over and when the fish stopped trashing on the surface it ran toward the boat, it was a big fish, a possible boat winner on its own , but i felt there was something wrong .The fish ran to the right past the engine,  i  bent my rod hard and turned the fish, it was then i saw the silver. Happy and sad at the same time,  at least i had a salmon, i piled the pressure on not to waste time and he was in the bottom on the net quickly. It was then i saw it was a long lean kelt. A quick phorto and the fish was put back to hopefully make its way to the sea.

 

We drifted across various shallows on the way home and at the three pins below woodford Eddie connected with a trout the sucked in his fly. It took a dry wulf on the point. The fish splashed on the surface and i stuck the net under it. That fish was in the boat less than 5 seconds after being hooked. It was a beautiful golden Lough Conn trout of about 15 inches, I was delighted for Eddie. Unfortunately that was the last of the action for that day, apart from  a fish  that took Eddies fly while he was chatting to me. It happens me all the time , oh well. We landed at Gortner Abbey just before 6pm,

At the weigh in only 22 people out of 97 had caught fish that day, it prooved to be a hard day on the lake, even though the conditions were very good.

Tommy O'Farrell won the heat with 3 fish for 1.990 kg, Willian Craig was in second with 2 fish for 1.600kg after Day 1. 

That evening we had a Lovely Meal and then we all retired to Hineys to watch Liverpool in the champions League like we did 14 years previously. In the same spot i watched my Team win the Champions League for the fifth time, i saw them win that night for the 6th time. Many many pints were drunk that night in celebration.

 

Day 2- Weather turns for the worse

The weather forecast for Day 2 was for strong winds and they were right for once. Conditions were ok at 11am but the wind was to pick up. We were all called to the shelter as the Committe came to a  decision . Padraig on behalf of the Commitee regretably called the competition off due to safety reasons. There was a big cheer and applause as it was the right decision on the day.

The results from the day before stood and Tommy O'Farrell was crowned Champion 2019

Dinner was arranged for 1pm and at short notice Enda Hiney had everything ready at 1pm. Tommy and all the winners were presented with their prizes. Another great weekend on Lough Conn, fishing wasn't great, but it was great seeing all the lads again.

Many thanks to Orla, Padraig and the Committe for orgainising the event, see you all next year.

Hopefully the weather will be ok this week and i might get a chance to catch a fish somehwere.

Till next time take care and tight lines