I left home South of Bristol at around 04:30 on Saturday morning 2nd September to pick up Steve in Kingswood North Bristol for 05:15 ish and were we were to meet up with Tony and Andy in the other van.
Everyone was on time and we headed up to Holyhead for the 13:50 Ferry. We allowed ourselves plenty of time taking the advice from Professional Trucker Andy (aka Turtle) as there was a couple of long stretches of road works.
We got to Holyhead with 90 minutes to spare (took a break on the A55), the Ferry left on time and we got talking to a couple of Midlands anglers who were heading up to fish the World Pairs. They did not realise they needed Euro's for the toll roads so I exchanged 20 euros for £20 for them.
The Ferry docked in Dublin just after 17:00 and we headed up the M50, M3 and N3 towards Cavan and then on to Arvagh arriving at the Breffni Arms at 19:20. We have stayed here every time as the rooms are comfortable, the food is fantastic as well as the hosts Philomela and Eamonn Gray who can't do enough for you.
A quick wash and brush up and we were down in the bar for food and Guinness, think it was nearly 01:00 we got to bed or perhaps later so a long day.
There was an Open Match on the Sunday which we did not enter. Instead we had a lie in and a leisurely full Irish breakfast before heading down to the local Garty Lough off the main street and 2 mins walk away.
We have fished this Lough a few times now and last year done 50lb bags of roach on the waggler.
The French boys also decided to fish this Lough and beat us to the pegs we were going to fish but we got in OK with Steve fishing on the slipway and Tony and I wading around the back of the old swimming pool and police station.
Steve was into roach straight away while it took Tony and I around 30 minutes to get them feeding were we were. Probably due to the fact that no one usually fishes the spot we were.
Tony in the foreground and the French foreign Legion further down
Spraying hemp and caster and fishing about 6 foot deep 25 metres out it was a roach a chuck. Looking down I couldn't see the French guys catching much. There was a quiet spell for a while and I think the pike moved in. Still had 28lb dead including a small brown trout and took 2 euros each off Tony and Steve.
Smile says it all
80 anglers were in this years Festival and they all converge at the Breffni Arms on the Sunday nigh to do the ''Rotational Draw'' i.e. what Lough you will fish each of the 5 days. I must just mention that the money is well spread out and you have a very good chance of picking up something. Entry fee was 150 euro plus an extra 20 euro to cover the boat mens costs and insurance.
The rotation draw took place about 21:45 as it can't go ahead until everyone had paid up. Van draws are done first and as we had our tackle spread over 2 vans I went and drawed for all of us.
We ended up with.......
Mon E Section - Rockfield and Glasshouse Loughs
Tue A Section - Gulladoo lough
Wed B Section - Rossduff which is part of the Lough Gowna system
Thur C Section - Corfree ----------------''---------------------------------
Fri D Section - Dernafest ----------------''--------------------------------
A few more beers and then off to bed and a 07:30 breakfast in the morning.
Monday 4th Sept.
We all stood in our different Section Lines just before 09:00 ready to draw our pegs but not before dipping our nets and getting the ''no dip no draw'' ticket from the Inland Fisheries Officer.
Steve lost his dip ticket...wonder where it could be?
Into the E Section draw bag and I pulled out peg 3 on Rockfield, Steve had 9 on Rockfield and Tong had a peg on Glasshouse.
Peg 1 was the fancied peg on Rockfield so I was not far away. Bream can show up here but they are usually rare with the best chance being the pole for roach and hybrids.
peg 3 Rockfield
It was top 4 deep on the pole at 11 metres so I stuck with this line and also set up a shallow rig as the usual method is cup in a few balls then loose feed over the top. The Feeder was also set up for fishing 60 turns using a Window Feeder. I caught fish on all rigs and lines but only ended up with 3kg 500grms. Steve done better off unfancied peg 9 catching one proper bream which contributed to a 4kg 500grm weight giving him 3rd in section and a 40 euro pick up. E Section was won with 7kg 200grms. So fished hard. Tony weighed 1kg 400grms on Glasshouse and was not the bottom weight!
Tuesday 5th Sept.
A Section today and Steve and Tony drew lower Gulladoo (steps) while I was on a section of the Lough called Gulladoo Cross. I drew peg 6 in the middle which I fancied as there are a lot of small roach here. I still set up the tip but never used it and fished 3 foot in 7 feet of water all day spraying caster and hemp. I ended up with over 200 roach for 7kg 860grms and 3rd in section, so a 40 euro pick up. The section was won with 10kg 970grms.
Should have fished the whip.
Steve and Tony did no good although Steve did have another proper bream and a few skimmers for 4kg 350.
Wednesday 6th September.
Ross duff today and I drew peg 14. The weather was a bit overcast and gusting but I still set all the usual gear up.
I caught on the pole at full depth (top 5) for about 2 hours at 13 metres before throwing the towel in as it became too hard to hold the pole. Out on the tip I had a few fish and only got pipped by 100 grams for 3rd in Section.
My catch and photo bombed by ''Tiny'' a little blind dog owned by Eric Ball from Nottingham.
Eric and Tiny.
Steve had 2kg 800 and Tony 3kg 600.
B Section was won with 8kg 550.
Thursday 7th September.
Corfree today and a boat ride to the pegs, well for Tony and I, Steve drew a crap shallow peg and stayed on dry land.
Tony giving the ''royal wave''
Poor day for me and I struggled mostly on the tip for 4kg 450 off peg 13 catching mainly perch. I made a bad decision by not fishing the pole for a few hours.
Tony and Steve also struggled. The Section was won with 7kg 600.
Friday 8th September.
The last day of the Festival and a boat ride on Dernafest. There was a bit of confusion on the boats as some anglers jumped the que and messed up a common sense approach of 2 or 3 anglers going together and who were on adjacent pegs but... no point in getting wound up.....grrrrrrrr
Peg 18 for me this year, I was second on this lough last year from peg 7. Due to being almost last on the boat along with Wayne Easter on peg 17 both of us had limited time to set up so only a couple of pole rigs and a feeder.
I had fish straight away on top 4 deep at 11 metres but this soon died as it did last year. i lost a big hybrid about 2 hours in which was to cost me later. Wane was fishing the same as me and we were more or less fish for fish all the way through the match. Looking down past him there was not a lot being caught and I could tell from the moans above me it was fishing poor. I stuck at it, mainly on the pole trying to entice a bite and only spent 30 mins on the tip resulting in 5 bites and 4 fish.
I ended up with 3kg 060 to Waynes 3kg 950 and enough to pick up 50 euro for 2nd in mini section.
Tony also picked up 40 euro for 3rd in mini section.
The Section was won with 7kg 250 (hybrids turned up late on the pole).
Heres how my Section Rotation looked at the end of the week.
The top 3 over the week were....
and here they are...
Full results as follows....
So finished halfway and a big improvement on last year. These venues take some getting used to and I suppose thats why most of the competing anglers stick to this Festival. some of them have been fishing these venues 3 weeks a year for 30 years.
Really good week though and we will return but not next Sept as its my 40th wedding anniversary but there is a couple of Festivals in June on the same venues we may fish instead.
On the way home my slave cylinder went on the clutch at Keele Services on the M6 and I did not get home until 05:30 after landing in Holyhead at 18:40. All fixed now as under warranty so ready to go again lol.
Next match for me is the Bristol Commercial House Round 2 on the King Sedgemoor Drain 24th Sept.