A competitive week of angling in the wildest of conditions met the international competitors at the 2019 edition of the World Pairs Angling championships. This unique event, this year challenged by all the elements, showcased the angling skills of the competitors on some of the best natural fishing venues of Europe in this area of North West Ireland. The competition saw an increased number of new faces and up to 30 Germans compete alongside those from Belgium, the Netherlands, Serbia, Luxembourg, the UK and Ireland.
Pairs angling for a win from separate sections daily keeps the match exciting and all eyes were on Thursday’s top three to see if they could hold their positions for the championships. Friday ended with a joint 130.735 kg for Andy Leathers (Browning Hot Rods) and Will Freeman (Preston Innovations) for the prestigious title and the €10,000 prize.
Low pressure, with above average wind gusts and periods of heavy and prolonged rain, pushed the fish into shallow water. This gave tougher conditions for the feeder anglers and allowed pole specialists tocompete better than some years, yet still the average weight was in excess of 7 kg per competitor each day. Drawn in the County Leitrim 5 section on the last day, Andy Leathers was on end peg 39, at Church Shore on Lough Garadice, a moody venue that had seen few weights break 10 kg during the week. Will Freeman drew tricky peg 3 on Connolly’s Shore, but with the prospect of managing to top the 10 kg mark. Together, the intrepid duo put 25.700 kg on the scales at the final whistle. This proved enough to hold off the challenge from two pairs of former winners.
A fantastic last day performance by River Wye ace Hadrian Whittle declared him the 2019 DAIWA Cup winner with 67.390 kg. Hadrian takes home the prestigious Daiwa Cup along with £1,000 prize money and a tackle voucher to the value of £1,500. After an incredible display on peg 8 on Connolly’s Shore, to weigh 21.400 kg, Hadrian said ‘I knew I had to get past weeds that were growing out to 8 m. The wind was such that it would destroy a normal long pole, so I telescoped the last section of my Daiwa Air whip through my spare landing net handle. It was a bombproof set up and allowed me to catch for most of the match.’ While others struggled for decent feeder weights, this innovative piece of angling was enough to catapult the Ross-on-Wye star to the top of the leaderboard.
ishing for a total Pairs prize pot of €20,650, the annual competition is played out in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and the Fermanagh Lakelands region from the Lower Lough Erne through County Cavan to Lough Scur on the Shannon-Erne Waterway in County Leitrim. The five-day competition, which sees anglers fish a different venue every day, continues to renew interest in the natural fishing opportunities in Ireland highlighting the unique and challenging angling in the most scenic of settings. Seen as the billboard for coarse fishing in Ireland, the competition continues to attract new faces to the Irish match scene, with a reported increase in both festival participation and pleasure anglers taking holidays.
Convenience is key for this competition and the smooth running which sees many of the visiting anglers share transport. Volunteers and staff from Inland Fisheries Ireland, IFI, Fermanagh Omagh Council and Ballinamore Angling & Tourism Group enable the organisers to facilitate three draw hubs across the counties bringing the anglers closer to the venue to draw their peg whilst picking up fresh bait supplies. Venues such as Lough Garadice where you can park at your swim are included but this is wild angling and to reach some of the best fishing transportation is required. Inland Fisheries Ireland, IFI and DAERA Inland Fisheries assist with the transportation of equipment where distance is involved, bringing the competitors on boats seeking Island stretches on the mighty Lough Erne. This all brings a real Irish angle to the competition along with some fun on the bank whilst operating within safety guidelines.
Running the event across the border is an important feature of the competition for Waterways Ireland, who contribute towards the €10,000 top prize. Fished across the three counties, the competition allows for a full range of accommodation choices for the visiting angler and many extend their stay to practice beforehand or take in another week’s festival fishing. This year the registration took place on the Sunday night at Shortts Heritage Bar in Ballinamore, County Leitrim, with the Grand Presentation held in the Lisgoole Suite at angler’s favourite, the Killyhevlin Hotel & Lodges in Enniskillen. Martin Greene, Commercial Sales Manager DAIWA Sports UK introduced the results and Michael McIntrye, Senior Engineer Waterways Ireland presented the Leitrim Crystal to the winners.
World Pairs Result
1: Will Freeman and Andy Leathers, 130.475 kg
2: Michael Buchwalder and Rod Scott, 125.475 kg
3: Adam Wakelin and Felix Schuermann, 116.590 kg
4: Kevin Green and Shaun Smart, 108.060 kg
5: Jens Koschnick and Thorsten Kusters, 106.000 kg
6: Gavin Butler and Alex Bates, 105.275 kg
7: Martin Green and Hadrian Whittle, 104.410 kg
8: Pemb Wrighting and Frankie Gianoncelli, 103.515 kg
9: Lee Kerry and Rob Wootton, 98.445 kg
10: Philip Jackson and Cathal Hughes, 93.995 kg
The event attracts the World’s elite pole and feeder anglers fishing in pairs but it’s also a match for anglers of all abilities, with an individual competition running inside endorsed by DAIWA Sports, the largest tackle company in the world. Sponsorship from Daiwa Sports UK supplements the £1000 top prize with a £1500 tackle voucher, plus more for the top ten DAIWA Cup winners. In all, the cash & voucher prize fund for the DAIWA Cup totalled £22,740, providing for a full payout on the cash entry and additionally covering mini section and county prizes throughout the week, replicating the popular Irish match festival format.
Daiwa Cup Individual Results
1: Hadrian Whittle, 67.390 kg
2: Gavin Butler, 66.590 kg
3: Will Freeman, 66.090 kg
4: Andy Leathers, 64.645 kg
5: Michael Buchwalder, 63.475 kg
6: Rod Scott, 62.000 kg
7: Adam Wakelin, 61.250 kg
8: Kevin Green, 59.230 kg
9: Dean Barlow, 57.090 kg
10: Felix Schuermann, 55.340 kg
Increasing their sponsorship to £8,000 DAIWA Sports presented vouchers of £300 to the top rod from each of the five county sections that didn’t score in the DAIWA Cup top ten, sharing the prize fund further round the competitors.
County Rotation Winner Results
Rotation 1: Frankie Gionanoncelli, 53.040 kg
Rotation 2: Jens Koschnick, 53.570 kg
Rotation 3: Dirk Ekkelenkamp, 53.400 kg
Rotation 4: Lee Edwards, 47,750 kg
Rotation 5: Steve Wheeldon, 52,880 kg
he organisers would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who took part, to Inland Fisheries Ireland IFI and DAERA Inland Fisheries for their services and professionalism throughout the week, Ballinamore Angling & Tourism Group and Waterways Ireland, Leitrim Council and Fermanagh & Omagh District Council for their sponsorship. To the landowners who kindly give access to the waters; The Irvine Estate, Manor Marine & Cottages, Leitrim Council, Lakelands Angling and Fishing Tackle & Bait and Irish Bait & Tackle for their fresh bait supplies daily.
Next year’s event will take place from Sunday 6th to Friday 11th September. In response to anglers feedback the 2020 edition will include a rolling registration on Sunday 5th, refreshed venues, strict monitoring of the 50cm wading rule and the introduction of a Competitors’ Committee. Booking details will be announced shortly.