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