Lough Swilly Tope/Whitefish Festival

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Lough Swilly Tope/Whitefish Festival

Postby JGF » Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:33 am

Headed out from Rathmullan tomorrow & Sunday with ArthurG & the crew from Swilly S.A.C. to fish this competition. Will bring the camera so hopefully between ArthurG and myself we can get a report sorted with a few pics for next week.
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Postby arthurg » Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:40 pm

What he didn't say was that he is going drinking in Letterkenny with ArthurG and Hugo on Saturday night so any photos taken on Sunday could be a bit blurred!!!

Reports to follow.

The 39th Rathmullan Tope & Whitefish Festival - 4 &

Postby arthurg » Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:13 pm

I hope this report makes sense as I don’t have long to write it. The nurses say they are taking me back to the padded cell in ten minutes. I tried phoning Pat for his version of events but must have dialled a wrong number and ended up in one of these fangled call-centre, answering-machine thingies. The voice said “If you are calling for marijuana, press the hash button.” It went right over my head as well! Anyway, I’m on my own, must rush, here goes:

I was getting excited. The 39th Rathmullan Whitefish and Tope festival weekend, run by my own club Lough Swilly S.A.C., was fast approaching. The entry was strong. Long-lost friends were booked to come from all corners of the globe ……………… well, one guy came from Jersey …………… or maybe that was ‘wore a jersey’. Can’t remember; I needed a wee sherry to calm the excitement you see and things got a bit hazy. I wanted to look my best, so went out to buy a new pair of camouflage trousers ……………….. couldn’t find any! Not the best of starts.

More concerns were raised at the pier, though we tried to keep them quiet so as not to cause alarm. Wanting to make sure that nothing was left to chance, Niall (skipper and custodian of the Enterprise & Swilly Explorer) had left a note the previous evening of wee faults that he wanted the marine engineer to sort out before the big weekend. When we got aboard we found the following replies to Niall’s messages:

Niall: “Something loose in engine.”
Engineer: “Tightened something in engine.”

Niall: “Evidence of leak in head manifold.”
Engineer: “Evidence removed.”

Niall: “Suspected crack in windscreen”
Engineer: “I suspect you’re right.”

Niall: “I think the engine is ‘missing’.”
Engineer: “You’ll find it under the big cover on the deck.”

Niall: “Marine radio volume unbelievably loud.”
Engineer: “Volume set to a more believable level.”

Niall: “Boat handling funny.”
Engineer: “Boat warned to straighten up, sail properly, and be serious.”

Niall: “Sonar equipment ‘hums’.”
Engineer: “Reprogrammed sonar equipment with lyrics.”

See drink – it’s a curse! Wee note for the future – never get the engineer out on a Friday evening!

Apart from the local boats, Des Mills had come over from Culdaff and Michael McVeigh and Sammy Scott had sailed round from Downings which, incidentally, is the best way to get round from Downings in a boat. The Sea-Angling-Ireland website was well represented with ‘Dingbat’ coming up from Ballyshannon, ‘JGF’ making the trip from Portglenone and myself all taking part. Indeed, there may have been others, but putting real names to monikers is sometimes difficult. Occasional poster and regular reader ‘EQ’ missed out due to a bout of pneumonia. What a poor excuse. Yer a big girl’s blouse Eunan.

Saturday Whitefish Report:

I was drawn along with JGF on Michael McVeigh’s boat, ‘The Rosguill’. I have to say that no-one could have been disappointed with the standard of any of the boats as they are all first class. Gone are the none-too-distant days when we really took chances on arguably dodgy, certainly uncomfortable, and more often than not, boats that didn’t even have the basic safety requirements for taking groups out to sea.

All the ‘whitefish’ boats had reasonable first days with the usual range of Swilly species caught – Gurnards, Dogs, Coalies, Pollock, Flats, Pouting, Wrasse, etc. One unusual catch on the Saturday was a Spurdog caught by Hugo McLaughlin – not many of them caught in the Swilly. Another unusual catch was a Megrim caught by Michael ‘Specimen’ Vambeck. He carefully looked after it all day and lovingly carried it back ashore to have it weighed, pausing only for a minute outside The White Harte where he had to make a quick stop to rehydrate himself. The ‘specimen’ fish was carefully placed outside the hostelry while Michael went indoors. On his return it was noticed that the fish had mysteriously disappeared with only some shredded paper left in the original position. It was pointed out to the forlorn Michael that there was a particularly happy looking mongrel merrily skipping down the pier. Unbeknown to Michael, and indeed the rest of us, it was Kevin from the pub who had pulled the stunt. His verdict ………….. it tasted lovely!

In any two-day competition I think it is vital that many of the competitors are in contention going into the second day. This was certainly the case in the whitefish competition as only one or two fish separated about half the field. As will become apparent later, there was all to play for going into the second day of the Tope festival as well!

Saturday Tope Report:

Seventeen anglers fished for Tope………………………….. End of report.

Come on now boys and girls, what a shameful performance. Not one, not even one wee undernourished, suicidal tope to talk about. What were you’s all playing at? Now I accept that some of you’s had excuses, for instance Danny Divito probably had jet-lag after presumably jetting in from Beverly Hills (Niall asked for equal sympathy after travelling from Beverley Hills, but I know his game!), and the wimmin were, well, just wimmin, so you couldn’t expect too much there, but the rest of you’s………. hang your heads in shame. Now at this juncture I must point out that it is not in my psyche to make fun of people or set them up for ridicule, but did I mention that Dingbat was fishing for Tope? Draw your own conclusions!

Sunday Whitefish Report:

I was rubbish. There I was, all excited about being in contention – I had even beat Pat McGinty on the Saturday for God’s sake – and I blew up. The pressure got to me and I was poor. The scores on the Saturday had been around the 130 / 140 mark and it turned out that over 300 would be needed to be in contention overall. On Sunday I never even broke the ton. Too much time watching Vambeck methinks!

Anyway, lots of good fishing elsewhere. Nothing too dramatic or outlandish to report; largely just more of the same just in greater quantities. Surprisingly another Megrim was caught, this time by Willie Dillon, though this one was returned alive to fight another day …………….. or more likely spend its final days searching in vain for its partner that was so mercilessly despatched to the pan yesterday by Michael before being unceremoniously scooped up into a huge net by one of the inshore trawlers. The cruel instincts of the hunter gatherer …………………………………….. but as I said, Kevin mentioned that it tasted lovely so what the hell. (If any wee emotional girls or Eunan are reading this then it’s not true, I’m only kidding. No fish die, the hooks don’t have points any more, fish don’t feel pain, fish fingers and fish suppers don’t come from real fish, and the divers have told us the fish all live in happy families on the sea bed in harmony with all the other species. That ‘Finding Nemo’ has a lot to answer for.)

When the final hooter blasted to signal the end of the day (I just made that bit up – there was no hooter) all the boats returned to shore with those who had fished well waiting with baited breath to see if they had plucked a prize. I don’t know about you the reader (and I know there’s one at least because my mammy tells me she is amazed that I can write so much considering the medication), but I for one wouldn’t want to kiss anyone who had baited breath! Can you imagine smooching up to the cabin boy for a wee bit of tongue-twisting-olympics only for a durty big ragworm to snake its way into your gullet? Come to think of it, can you imagine smooching up to the cabin boy?

Sunday Tope Report

And the headlines read: ‘SUNDAY TOPE SHOCKER’.

Eight men went back to sea in an attempt to catch the elusive tope. Not one, not two, three or four, not even five, but SIX tope were registered with another eight escaping. See what happens when there’s no wimmin to distract you’s! Now it’s not everyday that a major film star fishes with us so we’ve got to make the most of it, and in fairness Danny himself played a blinder. Like the true legend he is, he managed to take three of the tope. I can only say; and there’s no better way to say it other than borrowing and adapting some of the best lines spoken by the great man previously, from ‘The Rainmaker’ – “He was totally unqualified to catch the tope of a lifetime …………….. but every underdog has his day” and today, Danny, this was certainly yours. It is only right and fitting for someone who has starred in a film called “Big Fish” should land the spoils in this one (and don’t let anyone say that Amos Calloway was a small part – it was vital, pivotal to the whole story, Danny you’re a star).

The Results

In the Whitefish Competition, Corney Devlin, flying under the Lough Swilly flag of convenience but who had flown in from Jersey took the prize and plaudits with a commendable two days fishing. Corney is a native of Letterkenny and always does well on his trips home. A close second was Noel Kinnear representing Causeway Coast with Charlie Devlin, Lough Swilly, not far behind in third.

In the prestigious Tope Competition, Paul Divito (White Wave) flew to first place with three good tope all taken on the Sunday. [Ed. - What’s this ‘Paul’ all about – it’s Danny, I’m sure it is!]. Ian Snowdon of Culdaff was second with two tope and Derek Quinn, another home-grown Lough Swilly man was third with one tope.

Young Stephen McCormack won the Junior Whitefish category ……………. Well it would be mildly concerning if I wrote “Old Stephen McCormack won the Junior ………” Stephen is fishing well in the Lough Swilly S.A.C. league, currently holding his own in sixth place overall, never mind leading the juniors, so if he stays within the sport he is one that will certainly be seen often in the years to come.

Each year we have a prize for the ‘Best Skipper – Whitefish’ and ‘Best Skipper – Tope’. Michael McVeigh, who reversed into the pontoon on the way out, managed to line everyone up along the full length of the boat on one side then had every one of us fishing ‘under’ the boat against the drift, caught the diver’s marker rope around his prop at the wreck, had to limp home on one engine, then unceremoniously cut through the lines of all the youngsters fishing at the pier on his return was pipped at the post by Cecil Brown who was skippering the Enterprise. In fairness, I enjoy fishing on The Rosguill and maybe if I’d have done better on the Sunday, Michael would have had a better chance of winning the skipper’s prize. [Some nurse is shouting at me to stop grovelling – what on earth does she mean?]. Des Mills with his ‘Barracuda’ took the skippers prize for tope.

The celebrations went on long into the night. Really long into the night! In fact we were so happy at winning nothing, some of us never got home until the next day. I’m even convinced that some had gone on to win other competitions before we got home from this one! Let me assure you that the doctor’s were not impressed and have insisted that a qualified nurse accompanies me on future day-releases. Doesn’t sound too much of a hardship.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the festival and we are hoping for a bumper turnout. In Paul’s winning speech he has asked that we get 100 anglers fishing for Tope, so please, make a date in your diary for the 3rd & 4th June (bank holiday weekend here in the South). We’ll go out of our way to make everyone welcome.

Postby JGF » Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:48 pm

I'll have to agree with arthurg's summation of the weekend - as it was my first official boat competition it was all a bit more frantic than my usual boat experience - plenty of time to concentrate on just a few specific species rather than madly chopping & changing rigs to target the next quarry - i suppose this is what makes a good match angler - being able to adapt and have the next rig ready in a flash. I got my eyes well & truly opened!

Thankfully arthur forgot to slate me for abandoning them in Rathmullan to drive home for a match i had to play in - though the craic was good, and even better on the Sunday night i believe.

Swilly Club are great craic and most welcoming, as were the other anglers.

Will definitely fish the festival next year and would encourage more of you to do the same - and targetting the Tope next time.
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Great report

Postby bigkev » Tue Jun 14, 2005 8:49 pm

Great report lads.Sounds like a ball
I always enjoyed fishing with mike mcveigh, so its nice seeing him get a mention, if a bit irreverently.
Always look forward to your reports arthur, keep it up
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Postby arthurg » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:27 am

Cheers Kev, I was a wee bit worried that they don't quite fit into the usual genre of fishing reports - sometimes they barely mention fish! Anyway, its good to hear that you enjoy them.

I really enjoy fishing with (though not against) Michael. I think he has a right good boat and he certainly does his best to put you on the fish. I'd recommend his boat to anyone and hope to get out with him a couple of times over the season myself .......................... if he lets me!

On next years Rathmullan Tope festival - I really hope a good load of guys (and even wimmin) who frequent this board make the effort to take part. I'll be adgering you's increasingly nearer the time, but I really think you's would enjoy it and if I can get to Caherciveen and Courtmacsherry, there's no excuse for anyone else not making at least one effort to get up to Rathmullan.

Why don't you's all start putting a spare fiver a week away now and it'll give you's something to look forward to next June?

Thanks again Kev.

Tight lines.

Postby dingbat » Sun Jun 19, 2005 5:20 pm

sob sob. done it again this year . I could make all the excuses. There were wimmin on board. I was on the wrong boat, we went to the wrong marks. The skipper did not know what he was doing( I would not dare say that about Sammy Scott.)We should have drifted, and more baloney like that. The truth is We did not even get a run over the two days. Even a suicidle red gurnet gave himself up on a side of mackerel and a 6/0 hook. Francis Patton had good Thornback's, Dogs, and even a 10lb Congor. Again sob sob no Tope.

See you all thgether again next year for something similar but better,
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