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40th Anniversary Classic Fishing Festival - 2015

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  • 40th Anniversary Classic Fishing Festival - 2015

    I had a fantastic time this year at 'The Classic' - 7th in the King of the Erne and 38th in the classic, was lying in 16th going into the last day but drew very badly on the friday so that put me out of a chance of framing. That said some guys did have some awful draws so what I have done is tried to collate some thoughts of my own and those of other anglers into an open letter to Eddie McGovern at Fermanagh District Council - I have done this purely to provoke debate and get more input from the anglers that fish the event and those that haven't been for a few years - it would be nice to see next years event as the best ever.

    If you have any ideas or want to communicate them to the organisers - please comment below, I'm not saying my ideas are right, just a starting point.

    Eddie has promised to read the suggestions and do his best to try and impliment the most popular.


    MY LETTER


    Open letter to Eddie McGovern of Fermanagh District Council regarding the Classic Fishing Festival

    Over the years many anglers, myself included, have spoken to you with ideas to improve the running and enjoyment of this match for all the participants. I understand that your time and the amount of resource dedicated to this match is limited, but as next year is the 40th anniversary of The Classic the time has come for change and implementation of many of the good ideas put forward by the anglers

    As a previous winner and participant for over 20 years I believe that gives me the right to bring these concerns into a public discussion purely in the hope that with the 40th anniversary next year there is a real desire to run the best ever event.

    The Classic is 'the' festival that everyone wants to win, there are concerns however that the inclusion of lough acrussel and other land locked lakes is diminishing the quality of the event as a whole along with inclusion of stretches of poor sections more often with long walks - we anglers come to fish for migratory roach, perch and bream - not tench as in a commercial fishery. Several of the local anglers asked why we bother coming year after year to what they consider some of the worst sections that could possibly be put in.

    None of the anglers who come are getting any younger, this means walks need to be kept to a minimum, Eddie I hope you can take a trip down south and have a look at what is being done at Muckno and Garradice where roads are being put right along the waters edge - I'm not saying that you need to do that, we have our own platforms these days and just need access to the waters edge with a reasonably short walk.

    To solve the above problem I believe there are lots of sections we have used in the past where rather than a large number of anglers be placed you just peg 5 or 10 people. Obviously this has been impractical in the past as it would require too many stewards - you could get around this by assigning one experienced steward 2 or 3 of these smaller sections and he simply drives between them at the end of the match and weighs them all in, after all it takes most of us 45 minutes to an hour to pack our gear away so we wouldn't be packed up and waiting to be weighed anyway.

    Everyone is always asking why can we not have some new actions - all it would take is to find some deep water on the lough, it needs to be the deeper water as with the water still being so clear (like tap water) the shallow sections just don't fish with the sun on them - Trory is a prime example with it fishing once the sun drops. So can you please assign a task to someone like Willie Wheeler or David Burleigh or a group of anglers who fish the waters regularly to find a handful of 5 peg sections with deep water that can be potential new sections (derryad quay being a prime example near new bridges - deep water and park behind the pegs with loads of fish but only probably 5 pegs).

    That brings me onto the issue of the 'trout line' which has been a very contentious subject. It's my opinion that when we buy a licence and permit (and it's not cheap bearing in mind we are there for 1 or 2 weeks) we should be entitled to fish anywhere on the lough. In the past there have been occasional uses of sections on the 'other' side of the line - and they have fished well ... I'm sure trout anglers wouldn't really have a problem with us using 1 or 2 sections for a week in deep water - we are not even fishing where the majority of trout live (shallower bays or up in the water) - any tiny amount of inconvenience to the game anglers should be massively outweighed by the benefit to tourism in the area when much improved match fishing is reported by putting better sections in. We have been up and down with fish finders several years and found enormous shoals of fish above the trout line - more importantly close to the shore in deep water - if The Classic is to grow and be an ongoing success then it is important to find the fish and deep water with reasonable access - this may require the odd access point being put in (but this would be a far better use of any money than spending on putting platforms onto lakes that are land locked and will simply not stand 6 to 10 matches on the trot.

    This year we have seen a marked improvement in the fishing in the town with lots of small fish there to catch - whether this is to do mainly with the weather or the fact that the river flowed is hard to say. One thing is for sure and that is when it flows more fish are caught, is it not possible to arrange for levels to be more closely controlled and water run off during the day encouraging fish to feed (I know this is a long shot but perhaps it is as we see the flow change during matches).

    Having discussed with other anglers we came up with a list of sections and peg numbers - the more important thing would be to put more pegs in the town sections if the fish are running, personally I would prefer it if the classic was to become a 5 day match because you have more chance of some reasonable pegs (the king of the Erne could be the Saturday / Sunday the weekend proceeding) and then there is the matter of fishing times 1pm to 6pm doesn't really help and makes it harder to go out in the evening, surely 12pm - 5pm would be a compromise.

    Here are a list of sections we came up with and suggested numbers:


    Airport 15
    Troy 10
    Cornagrade 15
    Portora 20
    Broadmeadow 15
    Sligo Road 10
    Killadeas 10
    Cleenish Bridge 5
    Cleenish Island 5
    Crime River 10
    Boa Island 10
    Belle Isle 5
    Derryad Quay 5
    New bridges 5
    Schools 5
    Goat island 10
    White Island 10
    Ely lodge 10
    Rosscairn 10
    Portora Lock 5
    Camma bay 5
    Dolans Ring 5
    Bellenaleck 5
    Derrycharra 10
    Corradilla Quay 5
    Layby 5
    Killadeas to Right 5
    Maho 10
    Castle Archdale 10
    Gingers 5
    Viaduct 5
    Lockees bay 5
    Devenish Island 10
    Bozzies bay 10

    That gives at least 280 pegs without putting too many on any section and not many bad walks. There is also a lot of deep water at Tully Castle and room for loads of pegs.

    A few other suggestions from anglers were ;

    Introduce a prize for under 25's and over 65's.

    Introduce a pre baiting period of 1 hour prior to the start of the matches to make sure more bait goes into the system.

    As it is going to be the 40th anniversary I hope some of these suggestions can be put in place - I'm sure other anglers will also want to have their say and maybe I'm way off with some suggestions but in my opinion by far the best thing you could do would be to have lots of smaller sections with shorter walks and better fishing.
    Simon Young
    Admin
    Talk Angling UK fishing chat and tackle
    web design Doncaster - Limitless Digital

  • #2
    Classic

    Originally posted by Oneabung View Post
    I had a fantastic time this year at 'The Classic' - 7th in the King of the Erne and 38th in the classic, was lying in 16th going into the last day but drew very badly on the friday so that put me out of a chance of framing. That said some guys did have some awful draws so what I have done is tried to collate some thoughts of my own and those of other anglers into an open letter to Eddie McGovern at Fermanagh District Council - I have done this purely to provoke debate and get more input from the anglers that fish the event and those that haven't been for a few years - it would be nice to see next years event as the best ever.

    If you have any ideas or want to communicate them to the organisers - please comment below, I'm not saying my ideas are right, just a starting point.

    Eddie has promised to read the suggestions and do his best to try and impliment the most popular.


    MY LETTER


    Open letter to Eddie McGovern of Fermanagh District Council regarding the Classic Fishing Festival

    Over the years many anglers, myself included, have spoken to you with ideas to improve the running and enjoyment of this match for all the participants. I understand that your time and the amount of resource dedicated to this match is limited, but as next year is the 40th anniversary of The Classic the time has come for change and implementation of many of the good ideas put forward by the anglers

    As a previous winner and participant for over 20 years I believe that gives me the right to bring these concerns into a public discussion purely in the hope that with the 40th anniversary next year there is a real desire to run the best ever event.

    The Classic is 'the' festival that everyone wants to win, there are concerns however that the inclusion of lough acrussel and other land locked lakes is diminishing the quality of the event as a whole along with inclusion of stretches of poor sections more often with long walks - we anglers come to fish for migratory roach, perch and bream - not tench as in a commercial fishery. Several of the local anglers asked why we bother coming year after year to what they consider some of the worst sections that could possibly be put in.

    None of the anglers who come are getting any younger, this means walks need to be kept to a minimum, Eddie I hope you can take a trip down south and have a look at what is being done at Muckno and Garradice where roads are being put right along the waters edge - I'm not saying that you need to do that, we have our own platforms these days and just need access to the waters edge with a reasonably short walk.

    To solve the above problem I believe there are lots of sections we have used in the past where rather than a large number of anglers be placed you just peg 5 or 10 people. Obviously this has been impractical in the past as it would require too many stewards - you could get around this by assigning one experienced steward 2 or 3 of these smaller sections and he simply drives between them at the end of the match and weighs them all in, after all it takes most of us 45 minutes to an hour to pack our gear away so we wouldn't be packed up and waiting to be weighed anyway.

    Everyone is always asking why can we not have some new actions - all it would take is to find some deep water on the lough, it needs to be the deeper water as with the water still being so clear (like tap water) the shallow sections just don't fish with the sun on them - Trory is a prime example with it fishing once the sun drops. So can you please assign a task to someone like Willie Wheeler or David Burleigh or a group of anglers who fish the waters regularly to find a handful of 5 peg sections with deep water that can be potential new sections (derryad quay being a prime example near new bridges - deep water and park behind the pegs with loads of fish but only probably 5 pegs).

    That brings me onto the issue of the 'trout line' which has been a very contentious subject. It's my opinion that when we buy a licence and permit (and it's not cheap bearing in mind we are there for 1 or 2 weeks) we should be entitled to fish anywhere on the lough. In the past there have been occasional uses of sections on the 'other' side of the line - and they have fished well ... I'm sure trout anglers wouldn't really have a problem with us using 1 or 2 sections for a week in deep water - we are not even fishing where the majority of trout live (shallower bays or up in the water) - any tiny amount of inconvenience to the game anglers should be massively outweighed by the benefit to tourism in the area when much improved match fishing is reported by putting better sections in. We have been up and down with fish finders several years and found enormous shoals of fish above the trout line - more importantly close to the shore in deep water - if The Classic is to grow and be an ongoing success then it is important to find the fish and deep water with reasonable access - this may require the odd access point being put in (but this would be a far better use of any money than spending on putting platforms onto lakes that are land locked and will simply not stand 6 to 10 matches on the trot.

    This year we have seen a marked improvement in the fishing in the town with lots of small fish there to catch - whether this is to do mainly with the weather or the fact that the river flowed is hard to say. One thing is for sure and that is when it flows more fish are caught, is it not possible to arrange for levels to be more closely controlled and water run off during the day encouraging fish to feed (I know this is a long shot but perhaps it is as we see the flow change during matches).

    Having discussed with other anglers we came up with a list of sections and peg numbers - the more important thing would be to put more pegs in the town sections if the fish are running, personally I would prefer it if the classic was to become a 5 day match because you have more chance of some reasonable pegs (the king of the Erne could be the Saturday / Sunday the weekend proceeding) and then there is the matter of fishing times 1pm to 6pm doesn't really help and makes it harder to go out in the evening, surely 12pm - 5pm would be a compromise.

    Here are a list of sections we came up with and suggested numbers:


    Airport 15
    Troy 10
    Cornagrade 15
    Portora 20
    Broadmeadow 15
    Sligo Road 10
    Killadeas 10
    Cleenish Bridge 5
    Cleenish Island 5
    Crime River 10
    Boa Island 10
    Belle Isle 5
    Derryad Quay 5
    New bridges 5
    Schools 5
    Goat island 10
    White Island 10
    Ely lodge 10
    Rosscairn 10
    Portora Lock 5
    Camma bay 5
    Dolans Ring 5
    Bellenaleck 5
    Derrycharra 10
    Corradilla Quay 5
    Layby 5
    Killadeas to Right 5
    Maho 10
    Castle Archdale 10
    Gingers 5
    Viaduct 5
    Lockees bay 5
    Devenish Island 10
    Bozzies bay 10

    That gives at least 280 pegs without putting too many on any section and not many bad walks. There is also a lot of deep water at Tully Castle and room for loads of pegs.

    A few other suggestions from anglers were ;

    Introduce a prize for under 25's and over 65's.

    Introduce a pre baiting period of 1 hour prior to the start of the matches to make sure more bait goes into the system.

    As it is going to be the 40th anniversary I hope some of these suggestions can be put in place - I'm sure other anglers will also want to have their say and maybe I'm way off with some suggestions but in my opinion by far the best thing you could do would be to have lots of smaller sections with shorter walks and better fishing.
    Some very good points raised and I totally agree about not using the tench lake. The Classic should be about roach, bream, perch and hybrids, not tench.
    Good to see the town sections fishing well, hoping to get back next year.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Simon - what a great idea and you make many valid points.

      My number one change to Eddie - No Tench lake (heaven forbid if a Carp lake is ever considered) ever again.

      2) Access is key here as you say Simon we are not getting any younger and therefore improved access must be at the top of the list not only next year but the next several. Is there any funding available?. As anyone ever applied -Lottery?. European funds? etc.

      3) Yes - research new lower lough venues and encourage local anglers to visit leading up to the Classic to test the venues.

      4) I'm happy for landlocked lakes to be included as long as there is plenty of Silvers to be caught - Ross Lough is a prime example it just needs wooden platforms to make safe fishing.

      Simon has put forward many good points that will improve the Classic if taken seriously, if not, the future of the classic will be in jeopardy come 10 years as there just isn't the number of younger anglers replacing us stalwarts. So come on Eddie start planning now for the real milestone that this competition must reach - 50 years.

      Comment


      • #4
        You have covered many points there Simon, well done collating all that info and putting those points forward.

        My only query/complaint re this years festival is regarding the eel situation. I find it hard to understand how when an eel is caught it cannot be kept safely along with the rest of your catch then weighed. Surely the damage is done when the eel is hooked, keeping it then weighing it is not doing the fish any further harm. I know a few friends who caught sparingly during the festival who could have maybe doubled there daily weight had they been allowed to weigh in the eels they had caught. Any thoughts?

        Comment


        • #5
          Some good points well made Simon, hopefully they will be received in the manner you intended, constructive. Taken in context, these would improve the celebrations next year, but also have the potential to kick start the event again, given the renewed interest being generated by the guys South of the border. They must have taken a long look at the situation, and realised that , to do nothing, was to give in! The money invested is one thing, but it is surely the commitment by several individuals or bodies that is really making the difference at the moment, creating a real buzz that has been absent in Ireland for a decade or more. I watch with interest to see the response

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Simon

            Some very good points made here, certainly there was a lot of talk amongst the anglers regarding Lough Acrussel and how it doesn't sit right in the context of the event. In your list of pegs are a few sections I have not heard of and was wondering whereabouts the following are in relation to Enniskillen -

            Belle Isle, Goat Island, White island & Castle Archdale

            Regards ... Tone

            Comment


            • #7
              There could and perhaps should be something done about pegging, but although Simons letter is a starting point for some debate about the classic it by no means a solution to its problems. Many of the sections Simon is asking to be included have been sections used in the past that have been taken out because of anglers complaints about poor fishing and long walks or because the venue is too far away from town.

              Cleanish Island, Boat House stands (Simon calls it Cleanish bridges) and Bellenaleck were all regular sections in the past, all thrown out because of regular poor fishing, Belle Island if you didn't draw an end peg you had little chance of catching, Camma Bay is feast or famine and is generally full of water skiers at weekends stopping any pre main event matches, it also has never produced consistently for a full week often kicking off with a bang and getting worse for the rest of the week, Castle Archdale was tried on two separate occasions about 7 and 10 years ago and proved woeful.

              Simon asks for deeper water, then quotes Camma, Lockies and the Lay-by, all very shallow areas, deep water sections in May are not the definitive answer, Crom and Muckross both deep water sections used in the past are good from September onwards and were both removed from Classic lists because of poor spring fishing.

              Using islands like Goat, White and Devenish in the past has been hit and miss, on occasion they have thrown up weights for some of the anglers and proved rock hard for others, which is perhaps par for the course in match fishing on natural venues, the problem with 'the islands' in the past has been access, we have regularly heard the tails of the 'all in' being put back, sometimes by more than an hour, for the anglers drawn on them, resulting in some only getting back to town between 8 and 9 pm or later, this was the main reason that these sections were dropped.

              Fundamentally I support what Simon is asking but being pragmatic enough to offer reasoning as to why some of the venues he would like included are not quite as suitable as he thinks. One of the problems with the Erne has been the sanitation of the town centre sections by Fermanagh Council, cutting back rushes to a point where they have disappeared altogether in some sections, this has left barren areas where the fish once spawned, Queen Elizabeth Road, Broad meadow and the Sligo Road are prime examples of this, if the roach are to keep returning in numbers these spawning areas need to be preserved not totally destroyed has is the case now.

              Where I whole heartedly agree and fully support Simon is the water below the imaginary trout line, there are many, many areas that have half decent access and would benefit from the type of investment in facilities that we see being installed in the south, if only the game anglers and their governing bodies were educated to the fact that coarse fishing methods pose no threats to their quality of sport, however this is an issue that needs to be addressed with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure for Northern Ireland as well as, if not more than Fermanagh District Council.

              One thing for sure is no more money should be wasted providing stands/stages/walkway on unsuitable fishing venues like we see on Lough Accrussel.

              Up until 3 years ago I had fished the previous 23 Classics, with the exception of 1996 when my daughter was born, incidentally it fished its head off that year, there were roach everywhere, my old mate Billy Bywater was the winner and caught roach on all three days in winning the coveted title. I hope to be back next year, life doesn’t seem to be the same and time stands still for a week at the beginning of May when you no longer do something you loved so much in the past, I also would like to think someone takes notice of Simons suggestions as the positives from improving the fishing and access can only be increased revenue from tourism.
              Last edited by dam; 16th July 2014, 02:28 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Simon

                Have you had any response from Eddie or Jack ref the valid points you made.

                I do hope they have agreed to not use Lake Accrusal (Tench) next year.

                Comment


                • #9
                  To be honest them that run the Classic will only be putting pegs in THEY PICK imo,common sense don't come in to it,(remember the Buses)jeeez that mularky used to do everyones head in,Bus to Cornagrade and if you were not on the Bus you were not weighed in,Madness and its the same with the way they run it now,J.T puts sections in were fish don't live but is anything changed,No is the answer your looking for.I aint fishd it for a few years and I can tell you now 40th or not I wont be in any draw for THE CLASSIC,be lucky.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Loved the classic and the Mahons weeks, even shared your evening with you when you won it Simon, not been back since 2008.

                    BUT the thought of blanking on more than 1 day on a Weeks holiday really puts me off.

                    I hope Eddie listened and has considered some of your proposals and there's a return to the wonder year of 1996 and the year of F & M

                    Good Luck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I fish the erne alot in fact I'm on it tomorrow on 20 peg winter league and were struggling find sections with fish in them.the problem is its a very big natural venue which you just have to accept.if you think back to the big river matches In the past there was always areas you didn't wont to draw.its the same on the classic.some years you need to be in the town other times you want to be out on the lough.also it's becoming more roach/hybrid dominated for what ever reason the bream shoals aren't about anymore.the decision on sections is a hard one and I will pass on ones bungs list to jack.my opion is it should be fished on the erne and no land locked lakes included.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I aint fished it for many a year but them that still do tell me if they dont stop putting pegs in that are a complete waste of time it wont be long before there about as many fishing The Classic as your match,20.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The classic has maintained its attendance level very well over the years, most who go know the script that there will be many more bad pegs than good ones it happens in every branch of match fishing, most also know that its not just about fishing its about the social event that big festivals are great for, the biggest thing that I missed during my time away has not been about the fishing its about not seeing the countless friends made over the years - some I don't even remember their names, nor they mine, but when we see one another its like we have never been apart, the banter is special and the buzz being stood in the draw queue for the Classic or any big match and looking at the pain or joy on faces as they open their draw envelope is priceless.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Damian - absolutely spot on Pal.

                            Any one reading these reports but haven't been to Ireland before, but would love to give it a go. There's plenty of us on here to point you in the right direction.
                            Over the past decade or two I've introduce several anglers to the Classic and now they return every year. I can't promise you will catch loads of fish, but I'm confident you will find the whole experience exhilarating and you will become hooked.
                            Want more info drop me a PM.

                            AB

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I should have added something about what a special place Enniskillen during classic week is and how people who fish this great even view it, I want to tell you about three people that were special to me who were long time friends - mainly during those golden couple of weeks at the beginning of May, Pete Hodge, Dessy Southern and My local tackle shop owner and friend Peter Taylor, all three of them travelled over to Ireland to see and say goodbye to Friends while they were terminally ill, they all died shortly after their visits, there has probably been more that I didn't know that did the same and many who have just not returned for the same reason, a list too long to go into.

                              The three I mentioned loved being there so much they all needed to visit one more time and I for one thank them for doing so, this event is special and its 40th anniversary is a milestone event and I don't give a flying fig if I catch a fish at all just being there is everything.

                              Comment

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