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World champion Donna O'Sullivan aims to make splash in Belfast

By Vic Thomas

Published 07/05/2016

Prize guy: Gerry Jones from Derrygonnelly won the Upper Erne European Predator Challenge with a superb pike of 18lb 10ozs
Prize guy: Gerry Jones from Derrygonnelly won the Upper Erne European Predator Challenge with a superb pike of 18lb 10ozs

World champion Donna O'Sullivan, from the USA, is among the many 'big fish' caught by the Celtic Spey Casting Challenge at the Waterworks Park in Belfast today and tomorrow.

The competition will start at 11am and run through until 9pm and then tomorrow from 9am onwards.

The aim of this international competition, organised by the Families at the Waterworks group and supported by Belfast City Council and the Housing Executive, is to raise the profile of Spey Casting as a sport.

It has attracted entries from across the globe and is open for everyone to attend free of charge.

Around 250 young people from across the community attended coaching sessions yesterday when some of the competitors, including Donna, joined local fishing club members to coach schools and youth groups ahead of the competition.

Donna has been involved in the sport for 20 years and said: "There are not too many females who compete in fly casting events, but we do have many fly casting clubs in the USA where a lot of women and some girls are members for recreational fishing. I would love to teach some women and girls how to fly cast and start enjoying fly fishing in the rivers and lakes in your area."

Jim Devlin, Project Manager for Families at the Waterworks, said: "I'm very excited about the Celtic Spey Casting Challenge. Thanks to Edward Cassidy, Dermot Drain and Michael Griffin from the Waterworks Trout and Casting Club, we have made it happen.

"Spey casters from around the world will show their skills and hopefully break a record or two.

"It's the first time anything like this has been held in Northern Ireland."

The one that didn't get away

The third Upper Erne European Predator Challenge has been  won by local man Gerry Jones from Derrygonnelly with a fantastic pike of 18lb 10ozs.

Colin Rutherford finished second with a fish of 18lb 4ozs and third was Ronan Murray with one of 17lb 4ozs.

Numbers were up 20 per cent on last year with 105 anglers and 60 boats participating over two days in perfect angling weather.

The starting point was the Watermill Fishing Lodge at Kilmore Quay, Lisnaskea, with a fishing area on the Upper Lough from Derryadd up to Nann Island.

DCAL Inland Fisheries provided six weighing stations, three land based and three mobile on the water, and enforced the strict catch and release policy.

As well as £6,670 in prize money, the event also included a fantastic prize of weekend accommodation and angling — sponsored by the Watermill Fishing Lodge — for the heaviest bag which was won by Joe McDermott and Marc McCord from Co Longford.

Invite extended to predator anglers all over the world

The National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland has invited predator anglers from all over the world to compete in the ninth World Boat Angling Championships in October.

The event takes place on the mighty Lough Ree, the second largest lake on the Shannon System, and will also include a section of the river.

Interested anglers are asked to refer to the dedicated event website at

This contains details of entry, the full programme and local accommodation.

All enquiries should be sent by email to

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