The first fresh run salmon of 2017 has finally been landed after the first ever fish-less January in Ireland since record began.
Dublin angler Ronan O'Connor grassed the fish on the Cork Blackwater at Careysville. The springer was caught on a Flying 'C' and weighed in at 7lbs.
And the onlg wait has led Shane Gallagher, owner of the world famous River Drowes Fishery in Co Leitrim/Donegal, to lament: "A number of fresh fish have been hooked and lost but the reality of early Spring fishing is that more people have played golf on the moon than have caught a fresh salmon in Ireland this season!
"Last year's Autumn run was almost non-existent and last season's improved grilse run, came after two poor years. It is difficult to remain optimistic about the future of Irish salmon angling when more than half our rivers are closed to anglers and salmon licence sales have almost halved since 2002.
"That we have allowed Irish salmon fishing to deteriorate to such an extent is a failure of fishery owners like myself, angler representative associations and Inland Fisheries.
"The last time there was any unity of purpose among those who care about Irish salmon, it culminated in the successful campaign to end the Irish mixed stock fishery. The last year of drift net fishing in 2006 saw a harvest of just over 70,000 salmon. Despite great expectations the last 10 years have seen a further steady decline in salmon numbers across the country.
"The imperative now is to identify conclusively the causes for the continued decline, identify how best these causes can be effectively addressed and implement the management policies needed to address these issues, be it at a marine or catchment level.
"The one positive that may come out of this dearth of salmon is that it may be the impetus needed for people to sit up and take notice that we can no longer take the presence of Irish salmon for granted."
After a slow start for most anglers, things did pick up and, for the second match in succession, Gary Cummings made the best of a good draw on peg 88 and fished seven metres to hand to land 176 fish for a winning weight of 13.480Kgs. Johnny Keith fished long pole short line from peg 42 for 10.550Kgs and third was Jeff Walker on peg 87 with 9.500Kgs.
John Taggart still leads the overall League from Derek Buckley and Aaron Hutchman.
Anglers should check in from 9.30am at the Fisherman`s Rest in Bawnboy for fishing from 11.00am until 4.00pm. For more details phone Jody Kiernan on 00 353 87 9886408.
The Cookstown lake fished superbly with over 150 fish caught with most of them weighing 7lbs and over, with quite a few double figure catches including the biggest of the day at 14lbs!
Second was Larry Gibb, third, Noel Kelly, fourth, Richie McCrudden and fifth, Vaclav Preissler.