Monday 14th May
The 2018 Waterways Ireland Classic Fishing Festival got off to a steady start on Monday on the shores of Lough Erne in the Fermanagh Lakelands, with the sun shining brightly on the 240 anglers occupying fishing sections from Bellanaleck on the upper lough to Boa Island on the lower lough.
The days top weight of 32 kgs 530 gms was caught on the Cornagrade section by Andrew Hampson from Chapel Allerton, which earned him the top daily prize of £500. Second was another Classic regular, Tony Hopkins from Gowna with 28 kg 120 gms, caught from peg 1 right in front of Enniskillen Castle at the Broadmeadow section. In third spot was Stuart Harford from Worcester, who landed 25kgs 750gms from peg 14 at Rossahilly, with double Classic winner John Potters from Lisbellaw in fourth place with 23kgs 850gms, also on the Rossahilly section.
The action continued on Tuesday with the first day of the King of the Erne competition and the next Classic fishing day is on Wednesday. The weather was predicted to heat up as the week progresses, adding to the unpredictability of the event. All of the anglers lined up again on Wednesday morning, hoping to reel in the top prize of £5,000 and the Crystal Chalice, or some of the many other cash prizes and trophies on offer.
Wednesday 16th May 2018
The fishing continued on the shores of Lough Erne, with some new names coming on to the leader-board. The top four weights all came from different sections, on different parts of the Erne system.
The days top weight of 23.440 kgs 440gms was caught by Derbyshire angler Chris Simpson from peg 1 on Broadmeadow, which earned him the top daily prize of £500. Second was Cameron Hughes from Derby, with 16 kg 080 gms, caught from peg 14 at the Ely Lodge section. In third spot was previous Classic winner Malcom Brown from Coventry , who landed 19 kgs 680 gms from the Rossahilly section, with Classic regular Dara Finnegan in fourth with 13kgs 980gms, also on the Rossahilly section.
The action continued on Thursday with the second and final day of the King of the Erne competition and the final Classic fishing day is on Friday. Monday’s winner Andrew Hampson was carrying just over one Kilo advantage over his nearest rival, Tony Jordan, but many of the anglers in the top ten were hoping that they could draw a ‘flier’ on Friday that will net them the top prize of £5,000 and the Crystal Chalice.
Friday 18th May 2018
The 2018 Fermanagh Classic Fishing Festival, sponsored by Waterways Ireland, reached a thrilling finale today on the sun-soaked shores of Lough Erne. It had been a very close contest, with just over a kilo separating the top two anglers going into the final day’s fishing. Tony Hopkins of Lough Gowna emerged victorious, his catch of 3 kg 420 gms on Cleenish Bridge being enough to get him into top place on the leaderboard, with a total over the three days of 36 kg 240 gms, netting him the winner’s cheque of £5,000 and the coveted crystal chalice.
In second place overall was Andrew Hampson of Chapel Allerton, whose total catch of 34 kgs 580 gms earned him £2,000 and the runner’s up crystal trophy. Third was Worcester angler Stuart Harford with a total of 27 kg 560 gms, which landed him £1,500 and a crystal sports trophy. Fourth overall was Stefan Engert from Germany , whose 27 kg 540 gms was enough to secure him £1,000 and a Belleek trophy. Two times previous Classic winner John Potters was fifth with 26 kgs 930 gms and Nottingham angler Rob Parker came home in sixth, with 25 kg 540 gms.
The winners of the hotly contested team event, the Waterways Ireland Masters, were ‘Wakefield Trinity’, with ‘Dickie’s Arsenal’ second and ‘Family Affair’ in third place.
Fridays daily winner was Rob Parker from Nottingham, with German visitor Stefan Engert second, Craig Fletcher from Bath third and Cavan angler Peadar Harten in fourth.
The Classic is sponsored for the sixteenth year by Waterways Ireland and is organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, in conjunction with the Inland Fisheries Division of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
For further information please contact Katrina McGirr, Waterways Ireland, on 00353 71 96 50560 or Eddie McGovern, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, on 0300 303 1777.
You can download the full festival report here