logo » athlone sports news archive

This is an archived sports news article (Posted: Wednesday April 21, 2010). ×

Lough Ree International Pike Angling Festival is here to stay

Day one and the anglers prepare to launch from Coosan Point%2C Lough Ree
Day one and the anglers prepare to launch from Coosan Point, Lough Ree

Ireland’s latest angling event was a resounding success fished over three days on the vast 16 mile long lough at Athlone - and to win any of the six prizes each day it was necessary to catch a pike of 18lb or more!

More than 60 anglers - from Germany, France, England, Northern Ireland and Ireland - competed from boats launched from Coosan Point and Hodson Bay as they battled to catch the biggest fish and win the €3,000 first prize and share in a total cash prize fund of €10,000

Marc Lombard from France won the best overseas prize at the The Lough Ree International Pike Angling Festival
Marc Lombard from France won the best overseas prize.

The champion for 2010 is Kevin Foley from Clare who caught a terrific pike measuring 106 cms on the final day – estimated to weigh 24lb. The 26-year-old was trolling with his best fishing pal Kevin Foley and his only “take” of the festival came at lunchtime on Friday when a massive fish struck at the frozen dead rainbow trout.  For the next 10 minutes there was an almighty battle and just as the landing net slipped under the pike, the swivel broke. Kevin certainly had the biggest smile later when he stepped up to receive the winner’s cheque from the Mayor of Athlone, Mark Cooney, who has been involved in with the Pike festival since its inception.

There was a conservation slant to the new festival and rather than weigh the fish, which often means placing them in some sort of container and the sailing to the shore with the fish, anglers had to measure and photograph the fish on specially supplied boards, then release the catch immediately. It reduces the stress and damage caused to pike.

“I came to the Lough Ree Festival because of the measuring system”, said 61 year old Wicklow sign maker Pat Byrne, who used to travel across the country to compete in such events. “This is the way forward because it protects our pike stocks. I had virtually stopped competition in pike matches but would fish any event using some sort of measuring system”. Pat featured strongly in the prize list with the biggest pike (103 cms) on the first day, second place on day two (98cms) and fourth spot (90cms) on the third day.  He and his boat partner John McDonagh shared a haul of €1,800 in prize money despite not having fished the lake previously!

The runner-up was local angler Adrian Quinn from Athlone who bagged a pike of 104cms while trolling in the mouth of the River Shannon at the Sunken Island near to the yacht club. The 35 year old Dunne’s Store manager had his own till ringing to the tune of €1,500 by using of buoyant brightly coloured lure on part of the river that would have been unfishable at normal water levels, but on this day it was perfect and his gamble paid off handsomely.

Mayor Mark Cooney%2C winner Kevin Foley%2C  third Pat Byrne%2C runner-up Adrian Quinn and Marie McCormack%2C Client service officer with Failte Ireland

(L to R) Mayor Mark Cooney, winner Kevin Foley,  third Pat Byrne, runner-up Adrian Quinn and Marie McCormack, Client service officer with Failte Ireland.

Fáilte Ireland and Waterways Ireland  sponsored and organised the festival in association with Athlone Town Council to highlight the outstanding angling potential offered by the River Shannon and Lough Ree



Kevin Foley        Ennis            106cm                
Adrian Quinn     Athlone        104cm                
Pat Byrne         Wicklow        103.5cm                

Day One

Pat Byrne         Wicklow        103.5cm                
Joe McDermott     Longford        101cm                
Leo Behan         Athlone        100cm                
John McDonagh     Wicklow        94cm                    
Joe McDermott     Longford        90cm                    
Dominic Conway     Athlone        89cm                    

Day Two

Adrian Quinn     Athlone        104cm                
Pat Byrne         Wicklow        98cm                    
Leo Behan         Athlone        97cm                    
Marc Lombard     France        95cm                    
Eoin O’Neill         Athlone        92cm                    
Joe McEntegart     Longford        91.5cm                

Day Three

Peter Smyth         Trim            99cm                    
Leo Behan        Athlone        95cm                
Brendan Hora    Meath            91cm                    
Pat Byrne        Wicklow        90cm                    
Conor Hannan    Athlone        88cm                    
Mick Flanaghan    Mullingar        87cm                        

(Note) Attempting to estimate the weight of a pike from its length is risky simply due to a number of factors, but as a rough guide, a pike measuring 100 centimetres may weigh 23lb.

Send article