18th IFFA – Fly Fishing International Ireland 2011


The 18th IFFA International Rivers Match took place on the River Agivey in Northern Ireland on 1st July 2011. Anglers travelled from all 4 home nations, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to compete for the coveted Geoff Clarkson Trophy and gold medals. This was the 3rd time that the Agivey Anglers Association had hosted this prestigious competition and in the previous 2 occasions Scotland lifted the honours…would this be 3 in row?

Many of the competitors made the short journey to the very north of Ireland to a small town called Garvagh a week prior to match day hoping to gain some advantage with valuable practice days on the river.  The weather had been very kind to the competitors giving them various scenarios from rain, wind and sunny spells…the water levels also played an important role with small rises throughout the week changing streams and pools and more importantly the hot spots! Fortunately the river remained relatively constant with low black water providing perfect fly fishing opportunities suitable for all methods from dries to nymphing.

Al l teams had been praising the quality of the wild brown trout fishing available together with the hospitality of the locals and of course the quantity of the black stuff!!

With all practice complete, all flies tied, all beats walked it was time for matchday. All the controllers arrived sharp on Friday morning at the Bushtown Hotel to receive their briefing and meet their angler who they would be looking after for the first couple of sessions. I think some of the controllers were as excited at the competitors to get started!

At the river, the anglers could finally study their section and hopefully see a couple of rises while they setup their rods. As in previous years, the preferred method was fishing the ‘duo’ in the streams and possibly the flats, but dry fly and straight nymphing also played their part in certain areas. The key was to maximise the first sessions in the streams and then concentrate on the free rising fish in the flats below the trees in the later harder sessions for those bonus fish.


After the first 2 morning sessions all the competitors and controllers headed to the Brown Trout Inn for some well deserved lunch and quick debrief from the between the Teams. At this stage the results of the morning sessions were being collated however rumours suggested it was a 2 horse race between Wales and Ireland.

It all came down to the last 3 hours of fishing to decide who was going to lift gold. The River Agivey has always been a very tightly contested venue with only a handful of fish between teams. This year was no exception… as both Ireland and Wales caught 90 fish each, England had 63 fish and Scotland had only 53 fish. In total we had 296 fish, measured and returned safely for another day which was almost 50 fish more than the last international on the River Agivey…either the anglers or the fishing is getting better, I think the latter personally.

The results of these competitions are determined by individual placings within each beat so when the score cards were all tallied up it was not long before a cheer was heard within the Irish camp. They had won by only one placing. Well done Ireland on winning gold on the River Agivey and congratulations to their Captain Joe Winders and Manager Seamus O’Neill for their efforts on bringing glory back home!

Congratulations to young Kieron Jenkins of fly fishing tackle specialists – Fishtec, on a magnificent individual performance with four 1st placings and a total of 31 fish. He also caught the largest fish on match day with a Brown trout measuring 36cm. Good angling Kieron.

What a great week to meet old friends and make new ones and a big thank you must go to the Agivey Anglers Association for their hard work and organisation. Also to all the controllers who gave up their time to be along the river with the anglers.

Well done again Ireland…hope your success continues to the River Tay in Scotland next year. Full results can be viewed here www.iffa.net.

Report and Pics courtesy of Arden Pollock.


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