East Belfast Coarse Angling Club are the proud holders of the Bobby Smither’s Cup and the NCFFI All-Ireland Club Champions of 2018!
The two-day match also serves to select the team to represent Ireland at the World Club Championships and was fished to FIPS-ed rules. East Belfast will now travel to Croatia to represent Ireland at the FIPSed World Club Championships in 2019.
The Ulster club entered the challenge presenting A and B teams fishing their home water against another seven club teams from across the provinces all keen for the title. The A team members David Gibson, father & Son Aaron Nabc Hutchman & Paul Hutchman, Ron Jordan and Gary Radcliffe were victorious. With a total of 29 points they were just ahead of the current title holders BSI Sensas who represented Ireland at the World Championships in Hungary earlier this year. In third place were VDE Erne Anglers with 37 points.
The teams of five fished in perfect weather conditions with low water levels with little flow with an upstream north wind on Sunday. The venue produced a tough match on Saturday with all sections improving for Sunday with a lot more fish showing and of a better stamp. Some gudgeon and perch showed but roach dominated. Most fish fell to short line tactics at 11-13m, with some anglers fortunate to catch on the whip.
East Belfast A 29 points
BSI Sensas Ireland 32 points
ERNE Anglers 37 points
Tubertini Yellow 41 points
East Belfast B 57 points
Lurgan Coarse Angling Club 60 points
Fermoy AC 62 points
Erne Anglers Green 63 points
Tubertini Black 69 points
East Belfast’s Aaron Hutchman former Irish U25 Youth International and Erne Anglers’s Tony Hopkins both secured first and second in section with Tony finishing with the bigger weight of 19.180kg to be the top individual. James O’Doherty had 4 points along with BSI Sensas’s Conor Browne but his top match weight of weight of 25.530kg secured him the third-place individual.
The NCFFI would like to congratulate the winners, all those who took part, the fishery owners the Honourable Irish Society and to Tubertini Match Club for hosting the match. Thank you to sponsors Waterways Ireland and to Mid Ulster Council for providing welcome refreshments at the Wild Duck Inn.
The NCFFI has secured the hosting of the FIPSed European Championships for Ireland in 2019 and the Lower River Bann at Portglenone is the proposed venue and development plans to extend the match stretch are in progress. Applications are open until 31st of August and those wishing to apply to fish on the team can contact International Float Team Manager Vincent Walsh on 087 256 3669. The Lower River Bann is also home to the annual Ulster Schools Competition and the popular The Bann Bonanza Festival.