The winter season is not yet over, but most local anglers will be thinking ahead towards a new season. The Mid-Ulster Angling Club has been busy over the past few months, putting in place some major changes for the March 1 start.
The local Council to have been busy planning and working on a series of improvements at Lough Fea. A special pier for disabled access is to be constructed at the “point” and a number of other piers/stands on the road side bank of the “wee” lough. This should open up a part of the lake which has always proved difficult to fish.
The plans also include a new slipway; this is to be built at the top end near the Draperstown road car park. This will make the launching of a boat so much easier for all boat using members and improve disabled access. It is hoped these minor works will be completed by the end of March.
All members should note that the 2013 AGM will be held on Wednesday 13th February, 7.30pm in the clubhouse of Cookstown Hockey Club, Molesworth road, Cookstown. New members may attend; the Secretary will be taking in membership forms and fees directly after the meeting closes.
The club extends an invitation to Junior anglers in the local area to join, on offer is not only the challenge of Lough Fea but the club holds the fishing rights on a stretch of the Ballinderry river. This starts at Drapersfield and extends down past Ardtrea. After extensive clearing work by members last year bank fishing at Ardtrea is now so much easier. River only membership is £15 for adults and £10 for juniors. The club stretch is regularly checked by committee members , as such members are advised to wear their badge where it can be clearly seen and carry their up to date licence.
Probably the biggest change for the new season is the new competition series planned for the lough.
The competitions for members have been rather a hit and miss affair recently and the support even for Open Competitions has lessened.
The new plan is a series of competitions run through out the season on a league basis.
A record of bag weight and best trout will be recorded for each event, then at the end of the season 2 prizes will be made.
One to the best overall club angler of the season based on recorded bag weight and another for the best trout of the season.
What sets this “league” apart from last year are the two main prizes, the overall winner will receive free membership for the following season. Best trout of the season will receive £50. A one off entry fee of £10 covers all competitions.
Out of a total membership of 100 only 15 members are needed to make the Angling League viable but the club are very hopeful of a much better response.
A pre-Christmas stocking of 3,000 trout all over the 1.5lb mark plus our normal pre-competition top ups, should improve the fishing on the lough throughout the coming season. All we need is a half decent summer.
The Lough opens on Friday March 1, undoubtedly some of our hardier members will be there early what ever the weather. The first competition is on the Saturday, March 2nd. Registration
as normal at the point for a 12 noon start, the competition ends at 3pm and is the first in the new league programme.
Application forms are available on the night of the AGM or through Stanley Aspinal at his Angling supplies shop in Rathebeg, Cookstown.
Other information on the club is available by ringing 02886767798.