Match ace Wayne Swinscoe reflects on the Fermoy Festival Week and proves you should never ever give up!
The Fermoy Festival Week takes place on the River Blackwater on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a two-day event on the Garden Centre stretch of Inniscarra Resevoir on the in-between days.
As we drove south towards County Cork the weatherman had unfortunately got it right; rain and wind had replaced six weeks of nice sunny days. Welcome to Ireland!
On approaching the river it looked grim; over a foot down, gin clear and there was no water going over the weir in front of our hotel. Never mind, we were in Ireland and I was sure we would still catch some fish and enjoy ourselves.
Over a few pints that night we decided to have alook at Inniscarra lough the next day, because there would be a practice match on the river on Sunday. After a few hours on Inniscarra I’d had 45lb of hybrids and few roach on casters and worms on the pole, fishing at 10m in up to 12ft of water. A nice start to the week and I’d learned a bit for the two dayer…
Sunday on the river I drew peg 13, just upstream of the hotel, so not far to walk! I had fished this festival on the river last year and never really got to grips with it, so it was going to be a learning curve again. To cut the story short I won the match with 10lb of dace and a few trout. I caught mostly on the whip, including some nice dace to 8oz. It fished hard, however, as 6lb was second, but nonetheless a good confidence booster for me!
Monday was the start of the actual festival on the river. There’s always talk of drawing the ‘right’ section rotation, as some sections fish ok early and other better later in the week. Well, according to the experts, I hadn’t got it! Five hours later they looked to be right, with heavy rain and a facing gale I struggled to put 4lb on the scales from a poor peg in B Section. Never mind, we’ll be bagging on Inniscarra the next day, I hoped!
Tuesday I was on the Garden Centre stretch on Inniscarra and I’d drawn where I fancied, right next to where I framed last year. Five hours later the wheels had come off! I had just 600 grams and was ‘chip shopped’ (battered both sides). Doesn’t fishing like to kick you where it hurts? l wasn’t best pleased but a nice 12oz ribeye with all the trimmings and a few beers later changed the mood.
Wednesday I was back on the river. The constant rain had brought the level up a bit, but not enough to improve things seriously. Peg 10 in C Section was my destination and looking at the previous day’s results I wasn’t really inspired. As I walked along the river waiting for my tackle to be delivered to my peg by the tractor there were plenty of fish topping, however. I’d also got plenty of room and after plumbing up to find 10-11ft of water I decided to fish three methods: the pole, the bolo at 11m and a waggler down the middle. The fishing was hard but interesting. I ended up with 60 dace and a few trout for 8lb. That was enough to win the whole of C Section!
Thursday, back on Inniscarra, I drew just past the wires where it had not been too good. The lough was flat calm and after plumbing up at 13 metres I was struggling to find 10 feet of water. I therefore decided to set the feeder up to catch hybrids at 20 reel turns, where I had 18 feet of water.
After an hour on the feeder and only three hybrids in the net I decided to pick the pole up. I’d fed quite positively and was soon catching hybrids steadily. Then, out of the blue, I had a bream. The lad at the next peg lost one and then caught one on the feeder, so l knew I had to have look on the feeder, too. Twenty seconds after my feeder had settled I was playing a bream myself. The next two hours brought me 20 more before a quiet spell, then they returned at the death. I ended up with 27 kilos, which helped me to win the day and also the two-day Inniscarra Festival. How times change!
Friday was the final day of the river festival and I needed an absolute flyer. I drew peg 3 in A Section. This was not the area I wanted and after four hours with the rain teeming down I started the slow pack up, not troubling the scalesman.
Reflecting on the week, it had been very up and down for me. I’d made a few mistakes and had a bit of luck along the way. I’d won a few quid, enjoyed the company, the food and the beer and, of course, the Irish hospitality. Well done to Tommy Lawton for running the week. I’d recommend it to anyone!