BRITAIN’S anglers are being urged to return to Ireland to reinvigorate what was once a thriving fishing tourism market.
Back in the 1980s, thousands of UK fishermen would travel to the Emerald Isle to enjoy spectacular sport and a few pints of Guinness, but following the dawn of commercial fisheries, attention swung to carp-orientated waters.
The problem has been compounded by the Covid pandemic, but according to Martin Founds, owner of Anglers World Holidays, the fishing is currently the best it’s been in years, and now that restrictions have been eased for vaccinated travellers, he’s hoping that more anglers from mainland UK will start to once again head for Irish waters and give the ailing industry a much-needed shot in the arm.
“Many of the bars, restaurants and hotels that used to rely on anglers’ business are on their knees,” he said.
“It’ll take them years to recover, but thankfully we’ve seen a surge in bookings to Ireland in the last week following the easing of travel requirements. I hope it continues – these destinations are that good, they deserve the tourism.”
One man who knows only too well what Ireland has to offer is ‘ex-pat’ Tony Kersley, who moved over from England 40 years ago. Enniskillen-based Tony said:
“It’s an absolute pleasure angler’s haven. The other day, a mate and I both had over 60lb of bream in five hours fishing from a boat, and on a session a few days before that, I had 127lb of bream and hybrids on the Erne.”
The current state of the fishing in Ireland was underlined further by David Reeves, an English pleasure angler in his early 70s who’s just returned from the Erne.
“I’ve been going there for 40 years, but this trip was the best I’ve ever had,” he told us.
“We caught countless 1lb roach and some cracking tench. It’s such a relaxing place, the people are so friendly, the fishing is free, and the scenery is spectacular! I’ve already booked my next trip over.”