Dutch Gold on Lough Muckno.

Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan, adjacent to Castleblaney has the potential to be the best natural coarse match fishing venue, not only in Ireland, but in Europe. Dubbed, “The Killarney of the North“, this beautifully located 1000 acre water is absolutely stuffed with fish, to include massive shoals of prime roach, large bream, and monster pike. With a variation of marks along its undulating and varied shoreline to keep the most discerning coarse angler happy for a week, Muckno is an angling tourism resource just waiting to break free.

A nice Lough Muckno bream for Shimano Holland marketing executive Chris.

Dutch coarse angler Christiaan Kooloos knows this only too well, having organised a successful week long trip to Muckno for twenty Dutch match fishermen last September 2010, he repeated the exercise and brought a group of sixteen, to include twelve of last years crew, this September 2011. Joining the group for their opening couple of days, I enjoyed some good fishing in excellent company and a humbling lesson in the art of coarse match angling to boot, “these guys are good.”

Casting the feeder while coarse fishing on Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.

Pegging the top section of Concra Wood for a practice session on Saturday, the rules were “twenty meters maximum distance”. A strong south westerly wind and showery conditions made life difficult for the pole men and by half time all were on the feeder. Using maggots supplied by Laurence Higgins of Standard Bait (UK) fishing was patchy with the end pegs doing best. Roach, bream, hybrid, perch, and skimmers made up the catches with top weight of 6.5 kgs going to Henk De Graaf on peg one.

Dutch coarse angler Henk De Graaf fishing Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.

Day two dawned windier and overcast with showers persisting throughout the day. Undaunted the group drew pegs and fished a pairs competition, having never match fished before yours truly was in the hat and boy did I get a lesson. Again, although the lads tried the pole it was the feeder that won out. With no limits to distance I commenced fishing at thirty meters and hit fish from the off, mainly roach and a few skimmers. Quickly it became apparent that those either side of me were catching at a rate of two to my one and this lasted throughout the day. The concentration and speed was pretty intense and these guys kept it up for five hours. It was fun, and different, but I’ll stick to my pleasure fishing. That said match fishing advances methodology and tackle design so it has its place, and boy did I learn some useful tricks, unveiled it has to be said after lines up.

Tom from Belgium with a brace of Lough Muckno bream.

Floating maggots are now in my armoury should I need them along with one or two other wrinkles which I will keep to myself. For the record Henk De Graaf won again with a bag of 9.2kgs. Species caught included roach, bream, hybrid, perch, skimmers, and trout. Most fish were targeted at thirty meters and regular feeding with special crumb, sweetcorn, and casters produced decent spells of activity. With White and Black Island earmarked for later in the week the guys should see some quality fishing. Here’s to the weather holding.

For more information click on: Lough Muckno.


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