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Mark Downes hooks £1,000 prize after topping huge Erne Open line-up

By Vic Thomas

Sensas UK angler Mark Downes held off the challenge from 209 other matchmen to win the 2017 Bobby Smithers Memorial Erne Open title.

Mark's winning weight of 22.640Kgs was landed from Peg G1 on the Round O section and he banked the top prize of £1,000.

Runner-up was Phil Boothby who caught 20.110Kgs from Peg G4 for a prize of £700 and third was Rod Scott who lifted £500 with 17.850Kgs from Peg P1 on the Sligo Road section.

The first salmon of the year has been landed on the Lower Bann's Carnroe Fishery by Bertie Hanna. The excellent springer tipped the scales at 14lbs and there is a good showing of fresh fish at present.

Catch and Release remains compulsory for salmon and sea trout angling in the DAERA area and there are limitations on fishing methods. These regulations have been adopted in full for the past five years and a reminder of the main points are:

• No barbed hooks may be used - hooks must have the barb flattened or removed.

• Only double or single hooks may be used, no trebles.

• No worming is permitted.

• Fly fishing, spinning and prawn fishing are the only methods allowed.

Russell wins with 6.270kg haul

Keith Russell took the honours at the second round of the Lower Bann Angling Association’s Summer League.

On a windswept Agivey River, Keith bravely fished the long pole, landing a mixed bag of hybrids and roach for a winning weight of 6.270kg. Phillip Hartin was second with 4.940kg and Colin Elder was third with 3.930kg.

There has been a great week’s fishing at Duncrun Lakes near Limavady.

Greg Nicholas was top of the catch list with 43 trout to 6lb, David Robinson banked 35 to 5lb and Mal Irwin grassed 25 for a new personal best which included a magnificent 10 pounder.

Newry Canal Match Group have announced a series of midweek evening matches.

Starting Wednesday, May 17, there will be five matches in total and the remaining dates are May 31, June 14, June 28 and July 5.

All the matches will be fished up in the town on the Buttercrane, Tax Office, Sands Mill and Violet Hill sections. The draw for pegs each night will be at 5pm with fishing from 6pm-9pm.

For more info, get in contact at newrycanalmatchgroup@gmail.com or 0044(0)7980840181.

The one that didn't get away

Eighty four anglers from all over Ireland competed in the first independent qualifying competition of the 2017-18 GO HIRE National Pike Championships on three connected lakes at Lough Gowna.

Hot and flat calm conditions are not usually very good for pike fishing but nevertheless over 150 pike, mostly small, were caught and returned alive.

Local knowledge proved decisive with Lough Gowna’s Paul Comiskey coming out on top with seven pike for 33lb 9oz. David Murphy (12 pike for 25lb 8oz), Henry McGauley (six for 25lb 7oz), Aivaras Zelepugas (eight for 22lb 10oz) and Terry Kane (three for 21lb 6oz, including the best fish of the day at 11lb 6oz) will accompany Paul in the Grand Final next year.

The next qualifier will be held on the River Finn on June 11, with fishing from 11am until 4pm. For more details, contact Sean Markey on 087 3667198.

Belfast Telegraph

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