Lurgan Summer League and Teams Match – Cathal Hughes Match Diary

Following on from the Inniscarra festival, the next match I had planned was the Ballybay Inter Club Teams of Four that was to be held on Lough Muckno.

Lough Muckno is almost three hours from home, so I decided to make the drive worthwhile and book onto the Lurgan Summer league match that was held on the Saturday.  I’ve fished for the Lurgan Match Team now for over twenty years, but it’s rare that I get to fish any of their league matches, so I was looking forward to having a bit of banter with the lads. I was also hoping to learn something useful for the team match the following day.

The draw was a little different form the norm, as those that are fishing the league get to draw first while the blow-ins have to wait until everyone else has drawn, which is fair enough. I decided not to draw and just wait and take the last peg in the bag.  Nobody seemed too surprised when 164 on Black Island was left for me! This was a decent feeder peg and one that I felt would give me a good chance working a few things out.

After a quick chat with local expert Jacko, who was on peg 170, I decided on a two line attack.  A close line fished at 30 turns, where there was a count of 19 and the far line was at 45 turns where I had a count of 23. My plan was to feed both swims differently and try and work out which was best.

I felt that my best chance of catching some bonus fish would be on the far line so I fed this with some chopped worm and caster. My inside line was fed cautiously with just a few pinkies and casters. These two feeding strategy’s should give me a fair idea what worked best.

My groundbait for the day was just a bag of Pro Natural mixed with some brown crumb crushed Hemp and vanilla. I also mixed in a bottle of CSL Natural which I feel gives a better chance of catching some bigger fish. Along with the groundbait my bait list comprised of maggots (both floating and sinking), Pinkies, worm, hemp and caster.

When fishing two lines like this I like to start on the bonus line and get a good bed of feed down before concentrating on the main line. This gives me the confidence later in the match to give it a good try knowing that it has been fed properly.

The match went exactly as planned, which was very satisfying as usually one line can produce much more than the other.  I caught mainly Hybrids at 45 turns where I’d feed worm along three very welcome bonus skimmers. On the closer line I caught a mixture of roach and smaller hybrids, so hopefully what was learnt would be of benefit to the team mate that drew this section the following day.

I was pleased to find out that my 6.5kgs was enough to put me second in the match, just a few hundred grams behind winner Jim McAllister.

Next up was the team match and I was secretly hoping to be told I’d be going the Black Island section. Fellow Bait -Tech angler Philip Jackson (Jacko) is the team captain and rather than unfairly place his anglers, he lets us draw for our respective sections.  I was first to draw and typically drew the short straw. Concra Wood was my destination and going on previous team matches was the least favoured section.

It was now up to Jacko to draw me a decent peg or at the very least draw me a peg in the high numbers. As good friends do, he did both, I was well happy with peg 95. There are better pegs in the section, but there’s also a lot worse.

With no real team plan to stick to, I decided on an all out feeder approach.  I did contemplate putting up a pole, but very strong left to right winds I put me off the idea. Three feeder rods were assembled, one for fishing at 75 turns in case it fished really hard and the other two were for a 50 turn chuck. I would have liked to fish a little closer but I felt that I would be better fishing further out than those pegged around me.  My groundbait mix and bait was exactly the same as the day before.

The under tow was seriously strong which made seeing the tiny bites very hard. Alternating between hook baits kept fish coming regularly, but the size of them was a concern.  A decent size hybrid would be worth mega points, so I made the decision to fish for one for five minutes every half an hour.  Luckily this decision paid off and by the end of the match I’d snared two, along with about fifty roach for a weight off 4.350kgs. This was enough for me to finish second in the 29 peg section, behind Irish feeder International Richard Pratt.

Having a long drive home in front of me, I wasn’t able to attend the presentation, but Jacko kept me informed as the results came in. Our team points were looking good. I was 2nd, Jacko 3rd, Jim McAllister 5th and Johnny Keith 6th.  This gave us a total of 16 points which was good enough to win the match ahead of Kingfisher Superteam who totalled 19.

With a magazine feature planned next weekend and a coaching session the following weekend, my next match looks like being at the Muckno Easter festivals. 7 days in a row, yahoo!

Tight Lines,

Cathal Hughes

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