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FLY FISHING HOME INTERNATIONAL  LOCH MASK, IRELAND

Orkney Trout Fishing Association were represented at the recent Spring Home International on Loch Mask, with Ken Kennedy joining the Scottish team for the journey to the West of Ireland.
The match was fished out of Coushlough and organised by Ballinrobe and District Angling Club for the Irish Fly Fishing Association. Organising an International is a big undertaking but the Ballinrobe club are well versed in this, with the Fly Fishing World Cup fished out of there every August, over four days, with up to 600 anglers competing.

Ken Kennedy

There were three official practise days, one hampered by strong winds, where there were areas out of bounds for safety reasons. The Scottish team were very well organised by manager Derek Keenan and left no stone unturned in their preparation for match day. The International was fished with total Catch and Release with only fish over 12” counting. The fish caught were measured by the boatman and carefully returned.
Match day arrived, and with it even more wind. There were words of delaying the start, but they eventually decided to go ahead with the 10am start. It was a tough day for many anglers with measuring fish hard to come by. The Irish team had been hoping for a big blow all week and they got their wish with huge waves running the length of Loch Mask. To put it in context, Loch Mask is about 30000 acres, ten times the size of our own Harray Loch, with boulders the size of a car all over the place, no place to be without a local boatman, who, it had to be said were brilliant all week.
The International Presentation Dinner that night confirmed that Ireland had indeed won the gold medal by a good margin, with their tactics, perfected over the previous weeks, excelling on the day. They were worthy winners of the team event and also had the top rod in Dave Egan, who boated 8 fish, superb angling.The three other home countries were in very close order, but it was Scotland who had landed the wooden spoon, a very disappointing result for all concerned. Scotland did take one other honour on the night with Andy Dunn receiving the Cup for landing the heaviest fish.
Participating at the highest level of fly fishing requires a huge commitment of both time and finance, especially coming from Orkney with the extra days of travel, ferries etc. Ken was very kindly sponsored by his employers, Bryan and Tony at RS Merriman’s Electrical Contractors and Bob from R Clouston, Building and Joinery Contractor. These people have no specific interest in fly fishing, but what they do have is a great interest and satisfaction in helping local sportsmen and women achieve their goals and ambitions, which is most commendable.