This annual event, organised by the Ulster Coarse Fishing Federation, sponsored by Waterways Ireland, Shakespeare/Mitchell Tackle, Irish Bait and Tackle, and Mid Ulster Council was held, on the Lower River Bann at Mid Ulster Council’s superb Coarse Angling facility in Portglenone on the 21st October 2017.
The anglers arrived for the draw in anticipation and excitement of what was to come with teams arriving from large distances across the province to compete for the coveted title of 2017 Schools Coarse Angling Competition Winners.
However, after a week of changeable weather that saw Storm Ophelia batter the province and then the threat of Storm Brian, the competitors were met with a coloured and high River Bann which wasn’t going to make the fishing easy. Whilst the day started brightly weather-wise the rain eventually arrived to make for difficult fishing conditions.
Â A panel of UCFF coaches and officials were on the bank side to help the less experienced along, and this together with ample supplies of swim-feeders and hooks supplied by Tony Burke and Shakespeare respectively, ensured that all the anglers were well prepared.
The fishing proved to be difficult. Feeder tactics was the method of choice for most on the day with some of the more experienced anglers fishing pole tactics. Fish were caught on both methods and whilst weights were down on previous years almost all the anglers did catch fish, given the inexperience of many of the competitors, roach, gudgeon, perch and a couple of small hybrids were weighed in and hopefully catching a fish or two might release the angling bug in a few more juniors.
The best recorded weight on the day was 1.870 kg by Dominykas Kuklys, using pole tactics, from Erne Integrated College, Enniskillen
At the presentation after the match, held in the Parochial Hall, Bellaghy and hosted by Mid Ulster District Council (Chairperson Kim Aston was present), the winners received tackle prizes, medals and trophies totalling more than £1,500. Prizes were distributed on a default basis with members of the top 3 teams unable to claim a section prize resulting in 17 anglers receiving prizes on the day. Each team also received a goodie bag courtesy of DAERA.
Prizes: 1st team Erne Integrated College (Team consisted of Dominykas Kuklys, Ciaran Murphy, Corey Agnew and Killian Maguire), – Each competitor received a Shakespeare Sigma feeder rod and a Gold medal. The school received a silver plate.
2nd team Dromoree High School (Team consisted of Imogen Johnston, Taylor Orr, Richard Dickson and Dylan Laffin) – Each competitor received a Mitchell reel and a Silver medal
3rd team Coleraine Grammar School (Team consisted of Paul Cunningham, Alex Hegarty, Connor Evans and Yani Racharov), – Each competitor received a Shakespeare Keep net and Landing net and a Bronze medal
1st Dominykas Kuklys, Erne Integrated College 1.870kg
2nd Corey Agnew, Erne Integrated College 1.300kg
3rd Imogen Johnston, Dromore High School 1,250kg
Dominykas Kuklys received a Shakespeare triple hard case holdall and the Individual Winner Trophy for his superb efforts. Corey Agnew and Imogen Johnston each received a Shakespeare Agility ground bait bowl.
Each angler received a Shakespeare Agility carryall
Section A: Charlie Olaphant, Belfast Boys Model School 0.900kg
Section B:Â Adam Nabir, Royal Belfast Academical Institute 0.680kg
Section C:Logan Ferguson, Breda 0.820
Section D:Â Callum Reid, Royal Belfast Academical Institute 0.800kg
A special spot prize was also given out on the day, chosen by the bankside officials. This went to Lewis Strain, Belfast Boysâ€™ Model School, who received a fishing reel