Crossmolina Whit Weekend 2024

I was fortunate to have been able to take part in the annual Whit Weekender on Lough Conn this June bank holiday.

Of the 80+ anglers and boatmen taking part, DTAA was very well represented by myself (Declan), Gerry Heaslip, Willie Scully, Donal Rafferty, Chris Meadows, Cathal McDonnell, Terry O’Keeffe, Anthony Mc Grattan and Hubert Smith.

Conditions were good in terms of wind if a little too much sun on the Saturday. Sunday had much better cloud cover but the fish were hard got.

I fished with Conn & Cullin angler and Irish international Joe Ferguson on day 1 and had a nice keeper in the middle of Mayo. There were fish on both sides but I had my keeper on the Gallagher’s Bay side to a dry claret hopper on a size 12 hook. We also met fish earlier in the day at Rinmore, and fished later in Castlehill Bay and Woodford where I rose a nice fish in the last half hour. I finished in 3 place with my one fish (the second heaviest!). The heat was won by Denis Goulding with two fish and Stephen Brown with one coming in second position.

On Sunday I was out with local angler Brian Gallagher (we know Brian and Joe of course from the annual Crossmolina weekend). Starting off at Woodford (in a gentle south easterly breeze) we saw a nice hatch of may flies and some small fish moving to them but not a lot of action besides a couple of follows. We then headed over towards Castlehill Bay. There were about 6 boats in there. Even though it’s getting late for that Bay, there are still good fish in it and always a chance of a keeper and getting into the prizes. I rose a fish and caught a perch, and much weed before we headed across to the middle of Mayo. With the wind coming from the West, we drifted perpendicular to the Western side, and went up and down a few times, meeting fish to both wets and dries, but nothing stuck.

We left there at around 4.30 and headed across to Tolan’s where, it turned out, a lot of the other competitors were set up. We saw free rising fish but did not manage to get any fish in the boat. I’d say that half the boats were in Tolan’s, lined up to drift across it from the West.

13 fish measured on Saturday with the better conditions of Sunday returning 16 fish over 13″. Stephen Brown came first place and took home a lovely Sheelin boat, Peter Roche was 2nd, Denis Goulding in 3rd and Colm McAndrew in 4th and heaviest fish went to Ian Wise. I finished up in 8th place with my fish from the day before, haunted by the thought that the fish I lost in Gallagher’s could have made all the difference; such is fishing. We’ll be back again next year. Thanks to Orla and Padraig and all the organisers for an excellent and fun weekend of fishing.

Declan McKibben, Treasurer

Dublin takes the ‘Bowl’ in a close run contest and the Pratt Cup goes to PJ!

Crossmolina, May 2024 – As dawn broke over the serene waters of Lough Conn, the gentle hum of nature was accompanied by the eager chatter and unwavering optimism of anglers from across Ireland. The weekend of May 4th and 5th marked the continuation of an angling tradition that has been a highlight in the calendars of fishing enthusiasts for over fifty years: the friendly fishing competition between Dublin Trout Anglers and Lough Conn and Cullin Anglers. Despite the optimism and good conditions on Day 1, it was a couple of days tough fishing on Lough Conn. The best of the fishing was on the first day with a consistent light wind and some fly activity offering the assembled anglers many chances.

The competition kicked off on Saturday 4th with 36 anglers vying for the prestigious Dublin Bowl. Most anglers measured (and released) fish that counted and it was a close run thing but the Dublin team concluded the day with a significant lead, outpacing their Mayo rivals by over 40 cm in total length of fish caught.

Top place went to Noel Shiels fishing for Mayo, followed by our Captain (and Ireland International) Dave Canning, and Cathal McDonnel in 3rd (DTAA Secretary but fishing for the Mayo side on Saturday), Fran Nugent was in 4th place (one of his 3 fish was 46cm and is pictured below), and then Donal Raftery in 5th. Noel and Dave made the long trip to Cullin and it paid off with 9 fish that measured and many over 13″.

Fran’s fish was caught in Cloghan’s on a tiny dry fly and measured 46cm (one of Dave Canning’s fish was also 46cm)

The winners gallery is set out below.

Captain Dave Canning graciously received the Dublin Bowl and expressed his gratitude to the organisers (Orla and Padraig) on behalf of DTAA.

Day 2 Sunday 5th May was for the Pratt Cup:

Sunday was more of a day for admiring the scenery or catching up on much needed sleep. Flat calm like a mirror was how the lake presented as we set off at 11am. It stayed like this for an hour or so and then a soft south westerly breeze caused a promising ripple on the more exposed areas. But the wind would drop and pick up again like it didn’t really know what it was doing. There was very little fly life to be seen, the odd mayfly, occasional olive, some sedges even and some buzzer in Cloghan’s (more on that shortly). After lunch the wind came around more easterly and then north easterly and the temperature dropped. It seemed that more coarse fish were caught than trout! Castlehill Bay was a write off altogether. Only 10 anglers returned fish.

PJ O’Driscoll and Chris Meadows were fishing in Cloghan’s and clearly cracked the code. Chris didn’t boat any fish over 13″ but PJ had 2 and it was the buzzer imitations and method that worked for him. This got PJ into top position followed by Paul Delaney with two fish. PJ is no stranger to such achievements regularly taking 1st place in DTAA competitions (there were two last year as I recall) and some astounding fish (he won the Pasker and LM Byrne cups in 2023, see here to read about it)

Third place went to Joe Ferguson with one fish who fished Cullin with his son Cian who also boated a keeper and deservedly won a special junior competitor prize:

The coveted Ronnie Miley trophy went to Noel Shiels who was the most successful angler from both teams over the two days. Noel was 1st Saturday and  4th place Sunday, earning him 17 points.

DTAA members Niall O Hearcain and Pat Foley were also fishing Conn on the Sunday as part of a fishing tour they’re doing this week. Niall and Pat managed to boat at least three keepers in Bog Bay which all came to a size 12 Wulff. Niall shared this magnificent picture of one of their fish (49cm; an outstanding fish)

In addition to the fishing, the Crossmolina weekend is about friendship and the craic, a chance to reconnect with old pals and make new friends.

Huge thanks to Orla and Padraig for organising the weekend and for hosting us so generously. Big thanks too to our Conn and Cullin friends who boated us for the weekend.

As mentioned earlier Sunday was more for sight seeing. Below is a sample of what was on offer:

Credit to Mark McAllister for sharing the photo of ‘symmetrical’ Lough Conn on Sunday.

Crossmolina 2024, C’mon the Dubs!

Weather conditions are close to perfect, if a little chilly, for this May bank holiday’s annual weekender with the Lough Conn and Cullin Anglers. A score of eager DTAA members have been looking forward with great optimism to what for many of us is the best fishing and craic weekend of the year.

It didn’t go our way last year (you can read it about it here) so the Dublin side has been in training all Winter, tying flies, discussing tactics, renewing gear and day dreaming about Lough Conn.

As usual we are grateful to our generous hosts Padraig and Orla who really push the boat out (excuse the pun) to make us feel most welcome and to the Conn and Cullin anglers who guide us around the lake for the weekend, putting up with our lies and excuses and putting us over fish. We appreciate the effort they put in and we can only hope that our good humour and company can in some way reward their patience! DTAA International angler Dave Canning captains the Dubs this year. C’mon the Dubs!

Anna Livia Cup 2024

Fished again this year at Bohernabreena rather than the traditional River Liffey venue, 15 DTAA members took part in the Anna Livia Cup

Plenty of stockies to be had as well as wild browns. Gary Coakley finished in top place with 2 fine fish for 5.24 Lbs, Gerry Heaslip came second and Alan Doherty in third place. Special weight prize went to James Doyle. Variable winds made fishing difficult at times, and there was little fly life till later in the day. Overall the fishing was good with two over 3Lbs.

This win puts Gary into joint 2nd place (with Eoin Dunne) on the overall leaderboard for Angler of the Year with two competitions down and five more to go. DTAA Secretary Cathal McDonnell has a nice 4 point lead at this stage but there are many more opportunities for other competitors to shorten the gap over the remainder of the season :

Corcoran Cup: 6 DTAA Anglers through

The Leinster Qualifier, also known as the Corcoran Cup was fished yesterday in bright sunshine and no wind on Lough Owel. DTAA member Brian Conway had an amazing fish in excess of 10 pounds and took top position (10.3 Lbs). Also qualifying were President Fran Nugent, John O’Neill, Willie Scully, Dave Canning and Secretary Cathal McDonnell.

Well done and congratulations to Brian, Fran, John, Willie, Dave and Cathal.

Pasker 2024: Eoin Dunne is back!

Eagle eyed anglers and DTAA committee members were watching Met Eireann all week to get a sense of what conditions would be like on Saturday 13th April on Owel. With the original slot of 6th April cancelled due to storm Kathleen, hope and expectation were in abundance as we counted down the days to Saturday morning when many of us could finally get out for the first time and for the first DTAA club competition of the season: The Pasker Cup

The large turnout and the enthusiasm from DTAA members added to the excitement despite the blustery conditions with a south-westerly, later coming more westerly, of 30-35km making it challenging at times. It was a case of hugging the Western shore and finding a bit of shelter to make it possible to fish while avoiding frustrating knots, tangles and flies stuck on the hull or in the back of your boat partner’s hat.

Lough Owel Map from IFI

27 anglers set out from Tullaghans at 11am with the weigh in at 6pm. Irish international Eoin Dunne was back and took top spot with two fine fish for 5.875 Lbs. Second position went to DTAA Secretary Cathal McDonnell with his bag of two fish coming in at 5.22Lbs and Hubert Smith in third at 4.8Lbs. The special weight went to Sean Killeen.

With the wind the way it was, most anglers stayed close to the western shore from Srudarra, to Dolans, the Crannog, the Graveyard, the Kettle and the Corn fields. Fish were caught everywhere but nothing was really showing and the overall numbers were modest with only 8 of the 27 anglers returning fish, and many of the more experienced DTAA anglers blanking for the day.

Competition secretary Tom

Big thank you to the Competition sub committee: secretary Tom Hipwell, Boat manager Gerry Heaslip, Treasurer Declan McKibben and Trophy manager Clive Mills.

There will be 6 further DTAA competitions over the season. The next of which is the Anna Livia to be fished this year at Bohernabreena at the end of the month.

Interested in joining DTAA? Application form and details are here:

Full table of results below:

Great turnout for 2024 AGM to celebrate Gerry’s 4th Angler of the Year Win!

37 of us attended this years AGM last Friday 26th January at the Spa hotel. It was an opportunity to catch up with club mates and friends, to celebrate the angling and winners of the previous season’s competitions and to look forward to the season ahead. This was the highest turnout for an AGM since 2017 which is very encouraging. Pictured below are Sean Goulding and Noel Ross.

Outgoing DTAA President Gerry Heaslip chaired the meeting with DTAA Honorary Secretary Cathal McDonnell taking us through the agenda, previous minutes, motions and nominations for committee members and officers for then coming year. As Gerry has served his term as President, Fran Nugent was selected as incoming President. We thanked Gerry for his commitment to DTAA and his outstanding leadership as President.

Brian Coghlan, (Research Officer with the IFI National Barriers Programme) gave a very informative presentation on the topic of artificial barriers in Irish rivers and their negative impact on the river ecosystems and the fish in particular. This presentation is available here.

DTAA Competitions Secretary Tom Hipwell was unable to attend the meeting and Gary Coakley very ably delivered a short address on behalf of Tom, recognising the value and importance of the DTAA competition calendar to the social life of the association.

Having taken on the position during the AGM, DTAA President Fran Nugent awarded the trophies to those DTAA anglers who won the competitions during the year as well as the honours of angler of the year, best juvenile angler and the Ronnie Miley trophy.

Gerry Heaslip was the angler of the year. This is Gerry’s 4th time winning the David Ring Cup and steps into 2nd place in DTAA folklore on his own now. Fran Nugent had an amazing 7 wins with Gary Coakley and Paul Dunne on 3 wins each. This competition has been running since 1985
and the first winner of this coveted trophy was the one and only
Noel Ross.

Full details of competition winners and other laureates can be found in the 2023 Annual Report here.

As we anticipate the opening of the season (March in most cases, but mid February for those brave souls who will head out on Conn), you might be interested in the DTAA fly tying group on Whatsapp which is busily sharing patterns and techniques and inspiring us to get the vice out and get the fly boxes stocked for our planned outings. If you are interested in fly tying be sure to reach out to Tom Smith or Tom Hipwell.