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.