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#ANGLING - An "eagle-eyed" angler in Co Cork received a free eye test after his remarkable find of a wedding ring in the water last week.

Seventy-five-year-old Pat O'Flaherty spotted the €400 gold band - complete with its red box - in the River Lee, garnering him a front-page story in the Irish Examiner and a free eye test from Specsavers.

They put me in the chair and did all the tests and told me I have 20:20 vision," he said.

The owner of the ring has yet to be traced, despite much speculation as to how it ended up in the Lee in the first place. If unclaimed, O'Flaherty intends to auction the ring for charity.

In other angling news, West Cork's Courtmacsherry Angling Centre hosted members of the Bradford Sea Angling Club in the UK last weekend.

Poor weather meant that the group was restricted to inshore fishing on the Friday and Saturday, but the Sunday saw a catch of ling up to 23lbs as well as pollack, coalfish, cod, haddock and whiting.

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#INLAND WATERWAYS - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officially launched the Lough O’Flynn and Upper Suck Angling Guide at the Old Stonehouse Restaurant in Ballinlough recently.

The guide opens to Lough O'Flynn, a 300-acre limestone lake situated 2km from Ballinlough and one of IFI’s many managed lakes requiring a permit.

This lake holds a stock of wild brown trout and is also stocked with brown trout each year which provides an excellent opportunity for all kinds of anglers and those wishing to take up the sport to learn how to fish for trout.

Meanwhile, the centrefold of the guide showcases the Upper Suck catchment from Lough O’Flynn through Co Roscommon and Galway until the Shiven tributary joins, along which good quality coarse, pike and trout angling can be expected.

With breathtaking scenery, this is the perfect place for anglers who can fish almost undisturbed from dawn till dusk.

There are also a considerable number of sections dedicated to anglers with disabilities, such as the Donamon angling stretch which has 30 fishing stands available with individual car parking bays and toilet facilities. This section has proven extremely popular, and IFI says it is committed to ensuring that sections like Donamon continue to open fishing up for everyone.

Amanda Mooney, director at IFI, said: “The guide offers a great source of information on angling hotspots for various types of species, access points and facilities, legislation and safety.

"All in all everything you need for planning a fishing trip. The guide and angling promotion in general supports local businesses and communities in sustaining jobs.”

The Lough O’Flynn and Upper Suck Angling Guide is available from IFI outlets and local permit agents in Ballinlough, Co Roscommon.

Inland Fisheries Ireland also marked the retirement of John Ryan, assistant inspector for Lough O’Flynn and the Suck catchment, after 41 years of service.

Ryan was involved in many areas and aspects of fisheries throughout his career, and was particularly noted for his positive engagement with various groups from angling clubs and development associations to local authorities, businesses and communities.

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#INLAND WATERWAYS - A new study on the River Barrow and its environs recommends the development of "activity hubs, tourist trails and new angling and boat facilities", The Irish Times reports.

Waterways Ireland and Fáilte Ireland commissioned the Barrow Corridor Recreational, Tourism and Commercial Identification Survey to find ways to exploit the area's "undeveloped potential" for tourism.

The survey covered the river itself as well as its estuary and the Barrow branch of the Grand Canal. Its findings pointed to a number of areas where development is already being actioned, such as in boating and cruising, nature and wildlife, and angling.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan, who launched the study in Carlow yesterday, hailed the co-operation of the agencies and county councils involved.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#ANGLING - Northern Ireland river anglers are taking a novel approach to lobbying Stormont over salmon exploitation by harnessing the power of social networking.

According to the News Letter, the NoSalmonNets campaigners "have swapped their fishing rods for laptop computers", using Facebook to attract support for their campaign to bring an end to the offshore netting of wild salmon stocks.

As previously reported on, Northern Ireland's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has called for a voluntary ban on offshore salmon fishing, following new research that shows a significant drop in their numbers in the North's rivers.

Seamus Donnelly of NoSalmonNets has welcomed DCAL's recent decision to stop issusing licences for commercial salmon nets that may "contravene European law" off Antrim's north coast, made in an effort to protect salmon stocks in the Foyle river system.

Donnelly explained that the campaign was borne from frustration at the apparent inaction by the NI Executive over the protection of salmon.

“One of the keys to our success has to be Facebook," he said. "The internet has an unlimited reach and we took advantage of that.”

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#ANGLINGWaterways Ireland and Fáilte Ireland have come together to establish a higher profile for the excellent wild fishing that is available in the Lakelands & Inland Waterway Region. They have established the Lakelands & Inland Waterways World Pairs Event which brings Ireland's angling into big-money stakes with a staggering £60,000 prize package.

The World Pairs Event will see the winning duo pocket £30,000 for their efforts, with second getting £10,000, third £5,000 and fourth down to 12th place overall each getting £1,000, along with a raft of tackle prizes.

Only the best 160 pairs will be competing ensuring the cream of the angling world, the tightest competition imaginable. The match costs just £90 per pair to enter and has already attracted interest from America, Holland, Germany as well as in the UK.

An event with a difference, the match is split between venues in the north and south of Ireland and across rivers and lakes, which will mean all-round skills on float, feeder and pole will be a necessity.

"Each angler will take it in turns to fish either side of the border, with the overall places decided on weight, rather than points," said organiser Kevin Locke. He added "This will be the richest match fishing event in the world, and with all the prize money from the four days, plus practice opens before the main event which amounts to over £70,000, this is the most lucrative match ever,"

Speaking on behalf of the sponsors, Martin Dennany, co-chair of Ireland's Lakelands & Inland Waterways said: "This event is an opportunity to highlight the wonderful fishing available in Ireland, particularly in the Lakelands & Inland Waterways region. It will cover Fermanagh, Monaghan, Cavan and Leitrim; all areas well known to the domestic and international angler. By using both lakes and the Erne and Shannon Rivers we aim to put Irish fishing at the forefront of wild angling worldwide."

Two practice opens will run before the main action gets underway on Tuesday, September 11. Organisers are launching the event officially after the Waterways Ireland Classic in May, but tickets are already on sale, with Kevin the man to contact on +44 (0)7736 129627. The closing date for entries is Friday, August 17.

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#INLAND WATERWAYS - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has announced the results of studies on the genetic makeup of brown trout stocks in the Suir and Boyne river catchments.

These studies form part of a wider scheme looking at Ireland's larger riverine catchments - assisted by the Office of Public Works, geneticists from UCD and trout anglers across Ireland - and involve a chemical analysis of scale samples from fish known as 'micro-satellite DNA analysis'.

The results from the Suir and Boyne are described by IFI as "quite amazing" and "of significant value" to managing the fisheries in these areas.

In both catchments, the first step saw trout stock samples of young fish examined genetically, and they were shown to be discrete - in other words, fish from any given tributary were found to be genetically different to those from others.

The next step involved samples of adult fish from the main river, contributed by anglers, which were then related to the different tributary genetic types.

Summary results from the Suir and Boyne show that there are respectively seven and five distinct families of trout in the catchment area; that most fish born in tributaries migrate to the main stem till adulthood before returning to their tributaries to spawn; that numbers migrating from individual tributaries are variable, but fish don't cross into adjacent catchment areas; and that there movement of young trout along the river system is "extraordinary", with fish often migrating from near the source to the mouth.

More details on findings for the Suir catchment and Boyne catchment are available on the IFI website.

Published in Inland Waterways

#ANGLING - A prize pool of more than £60,000 (€71,500) will be up for grabs at the Lakeland and Inland Waterways Ireland World Pairs Championship, coming to the border counties this September.

Described by the organisers as "a pairs match the type of which has never been seen before", the competition will run from 9-15 September at various locations in Monaghan, Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh.

The format of the match is based purely on total weight of the pair of anglers over the four competition days. On the off days there will be further open matches so anglers can make the most of the great fishing available in Ireland during September.

The exact sections and format of the match are yet to be disclosed, as much depends on the numbers of anglers attending - although the prize pool is guaranteed.

Entry per pair is £90 (£45 per angler) with discounts for booking through one of the official travel companies.

"You dont need to be 'venue experts' to win this match," say the organisers, "you just need to be able to catch roach and bream, and there are some massive shoals of them to be found in the lakes and rivers that the event will be staged on."

The organisers add: "Absolutely anyone can enter and you are all in with a chance of winning - while fishing in the beautiful surroundings of the Irish countryside."

For more information, entry forms and travel arrangements, visit the Talk Angling forum or contact Kevin Lockee at 07736 129 627.

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#ANGLING - Two Newtownabbey anglers are part of a six-man Northern Ireland team competing at the 2012 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships, which started yesterday in Tasmania.

The Newtonabbey Times reports that Kenny Ferguson and team captain Alan R McDade set out for the Australian island last Wednesday for the competition that runs till 19 February.

They join Campbell Baird and Harvey Hutchinson from Carrickfergus, Banbridge angler Neil Cardwell and Harry McAteer Jr from Belfast for the week-long contest.

The six - who qualified from contests held throughout Ireland organised by the Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland - also comprise the first full team that Northern Ireland has entered in the competition.

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#ANGLING - Junior Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Fergus O'Dowd T.D. will be arriving at the The Ireland Angling Show 2012 this Saturday (11th of February at 2pm). At 2.30pm the Minister will officially launch two new publications 'A Guide to Sea Angling on the East Coast' and 'Guide to Coarse Angling in The Erne and South Donegal' at the Dublin Angling Initiative Stand exhibiting at the event.

There will be a free copy for all in attendance at the launch.

New to the 2012 event is special guest, John Wilson, from Norfolk who will be in attendance all day on Saturday & Sunday 11th & 12th of February. He has fished in over 60 countries and filmed for television in over 30 of them. Making a total of 150 half hour angling programmes, including no less than 17 consecutive yearly series for Anglia Television. Two years ago he was awarded an MBE for his broadcasting and writing by Prince Charles.

Familiar angling personalities such as Charles Jardine, Hywel Morgan , Stevie Munn, Julian Chidgey (Fox Int.), Mary Gavin Hughes (European Sea Angling Champion 2011), Jim Clohessy (Sea Angling), Norman Dunlop and a host of other experts from the angling fraternity will also be in attendance

The Ireland Angling Show, organised by Donegal based Mara Media covers all aspects of Sea Angling, Game and Coarse fishing with activities and demonstrations to suit both expert and novice anglers alike. A great day out for all the family there will be a "Meet & Greet" area where visitors can seek advice and chat with their favourite celebrities, a selection of top fly tying experts from across Europe will showcase their skills, and a designated area hosted by the Dublin Angling Initiative aimed at encouraging youngsters to pick up a rod.

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#ANGLING - The National Disabled Angling Facility at Aughrim in Co Wicklow is to remain open following an 11th-hour agreement last month, The Irish Times reports.

A deal reached between Fás, Siptu and the centre's staff will retain all 23 jobs with a 25% pay cut and see the premises stay open until a "review" is published in March.

Opened by then President Mary Robinson in 1996, the facility is operated as a Community Employment Fás scheme and has been an invaluable amenity for disabled anglers nationwide.

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