2017 World Pairs Preview by Cathal Hughes

With the World Pairs just around the corner, my preparation for the match is in full swing, (well it was until I was asked to write this). Joking aside, you’d think that a festival using so many different venues would require a huge amount of diverse tackle, but thankfully this is not the case.

I’ll be taking 12/13 Airity feeder to use on most sections that require a cast over 40m and for smaller chucks I’ll be using 11’ Tournaments. Just in case conditions on the open Lough Erne get bad, I bring some distance rods which will help when punching a heavy feeder into a head on wind. Dennett Window feeders and Kevin Leach cage feeders cover 90% of my tip work in weights between 30 and 50gm. It’s important to use beefed up shock- leaders and braid especially on the Erne sections where Zebra mussels can be a problem. For this I use 8 and 10lb Hyper Sensor and the super strong 0.12mm Tournament Evo Braid.  

The pole is normally fished between 11 and 13 meters with only the very odd swim requiring 14m. I set up my light rigs on 0.14mm TDR Rig line and these are generally with Yellow HYDRO, which is an excellent elastic for playing hybrids. My heavier bulk rigs are all made up on 0.16mm TDR and they are attached to doubled up number 5 elastic.

Hook lengths for the pole are all 15cm long and store in water tight Guru Boxes to protect from the odd drop of rain that may fall. Tubertini Series 18 hooks in sizes 18, 16 and 14 a cover all my pole work. The 18’s are tied to 0.10mm line while the larger sizes are tied to 0.12mm line. Feeder hooks are all Guru LWGF’s and are tied on 0.16mm and 0.18mm line. Three different lengths of feeder hooklengths cover all my needs. They are 50cm, 75cm and 100cm, which I vary depending on how I’m catching.  


From what information I can glean from the organisers, it looks as though the 2017 sections are highly unlikely to change from what have been used in the previous years. Starting with the draw format, I’ll go through each section and hopefully give the newcomers an insight into what faces them at the 2017 World Pairs Championship.

The Section draw normally takes place in Ballinamore village on the Sunday evening after the open match. This is where individuals can enter the optional Daiwa Cup and Super Pools, more importantly it’s here that the pair’s daily rotation is decided.  Basically one angler from each pair draws a numbered ball from a bag and this digit dictates the zone in which the pair will start their festival and then follow on numerically to the next zone on a daily basis.

Each morning the two anglers travel to their respective zone draw, where they will draw for their section, before drawing for their peg in that section. There is fresh bait sold at each draw and for those travelling together be assured there is plenty of time to drop your partner off and get to your own section. In fact it can be a good idea to team up with another travelling pair on your rotation, switching gear around to make one journey each. Eveything is well signposted and there is adequate time for even the last one out the bag.

I hope that all makes sense.

Leitrim  1

A section, Lough Scur (Pump House).

Scur is a reasonably fair venue with the average peg requiring a top 4 at thirteen metres. Over the past few years the pole has reigned supreme on this section, but the whip also played a vital part in proceedings. The feeder can work, with casts of no more than 35m usually required. Winning weights of up to 20kgs can be needed, but target weights of around 10-12kgs are more realistic. Target species are roach Hybrids and skimmers. In the past, a draw near the pump house has been the most favoured, as these pegs can throw up skimmers on the pole. But as already said, it’s a fair venue where the winner could come from anywhere.

B section, Lough Garadice (Grassy Bank).

This section was first used last year and fished reasonably well over the week. Again its best tackled with the pole and feeder and will probably take a combination of both methods to do well in the match.  Top 4’s are required on the pole which is fished between 13 and 14m, with roach and hybrids making up the bulk of the catches. It’s rare that skimmers show on the pole, but there’s a chance of snaring the odd one on the feeder.  If the going is tough then a long chuck can work but more often than not 40m casts are the norm. If this section is used in this year’s match, be very careful, as on the higher numbers the bottom is very soft and you WILL sink, so be careful and use a platform as a base. Anywhere between 5kgs and 15kgs can win this section as it can change depending on wind direction.

Target combined weight from these sections, 25kgs.

Enniskillen 1

Lough Erne: Greenies ‘A’ and Killadeas ‘B’.

Both these sections are very similar in approach, feeder, feeder, and more feeder. However last year there were a few pole fish caught on the high number pegs of Killadeas but you really need to be thinking tip to do well on these sections. Pegs 6, 7 or 8 are the favoured draws on Greenies, while pegs 2, 3 and 4 on the jetty are where you want to be on Killadeas. Both sections require a 45m cast and big hybrids are your target. Because your fishing into the open Lough, make sure that your gear is up to the task. Distance rods are favoured by many when conditions get rough. Daily winning weights often come from both these sections.

Target combined weight from these sections, 40kgs +.


Brackley ‘A’ and Bunerkey ‘B’.

Both these venues always seem to have a say in who wins the Pairs. From time to time they have the habit of throwing up big weights of bream and if you’re one of the lucky ones them it’s a massive advantage.

Brackley has an average depth of about 8’ deep on the pole and slopes of to about 15’ on the feeder. Bream weights of over 30kgs can come from anywhere along the stretch, so be prepared as you never know. Chopped worm works well for both the bream and hybrids while loose feeding caster after balling in is the most common way of feeding the pole. The waggler can work very well on this section, but I don’t bother with it, favouring a small chuck on the feeder if the fish are hanging past the pole line.

Bunerkey is shallower on the pole than Brackley but don’t let this put you off. Pole weights up to 20kgs are possible if conditions allow, but due to the shallow clear nature of the venue it’s difficult to keep fish coming on one line for a full five hours. Weights over the magical 100lb were caught here last year and to catch the bream you need to be casting at least 45m into the slightly deeper water to give yourself a chance of the bream.  

Target combined weight from these sections, 30kgs.

Leitrim 2

Lake Garadice, Connelly’s Shore ‘A’  and the Deeps  ‘B’.

Connelly’s Shore is another reasonably fair section with both pole and feeder coming into play to get the most from your peg. Depths of up to 14’ (top 5) can be found on the pole with nearly double that found on the feeder.  Hybrids are needed on this section and are best fished for with a window feeder at about 30m. Chopped worm and corn work well and can sort out a better stamp of fish than caster and maggot. The best pegs on this section change from year to year, but saying that I’d like to be on the pegs to the left, which I’ve yet to see!

The Deeps is a split section, with one half actually on the Deeps and the other on Cully’s shore. As I write, this section is fishing extremely well with some huge catches coming from both shores on regular bases. The pole can work but I think the feeder will be the main method this year. The Deep’s is about 30’ at 45m, while Cully’s is on average 22’. As with other sections Hybrids will be the main weight builders, but I’d be very surprised if some bream weights don’t come from this section over the Pairs week.

Target combined weight from these sections, 35-40kgs.

Enniskillen 2

Inish Favor ‘A’ and Horse Island ‘B’.

These island sections are accessed by boat and are well worth the trip. Last year was my first time fishing on Inish Favor and I think I finished with about 13kgs for second in the section behind Steve Ringer.  There’s a lot of weed on this section, but thankfully it didn’t bother the fishing. For some reason it was all roach that was caught that day, with most falling to short range feeder tactics. I ended up fishing two swims, one at 20m and the other at 35m. A small cage feeder was best with a 75cm hook length. The angler on my right caught a few on the pole but I wouldn’t bother bringing it. I have heard that this section can throw up hybrids, but on the one occasion I was there it was all roach.

Horse Island is a different kettle of fish altogether.  It can get really wild on the Island so be prepared to do battle with the elements. Winning weights up to 30kgs have been caught here with very close back up weights. Almost everything works on Horse. The most reliable method is probably the feeder but some big pole and whip weights have also been recorded.  Regular casting is a must on the feeder and swapping between a cage and window feeder should keep bites coming. Be prepared to catch some huge roach on this section, especially on the pole where if they’re feeding in numbers some mega weights can be caught.

Target combined weight from these sections, 30-35kgs.

So there you have it, I hope this helps some of the new comers to the Festival. I’ll take no responsibility for any changes to the venues or anglers not hitting their target weights.

Best of luck to anglers all taking part.