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Netting big fish in Celtic Spey Casting Challenge

27 Apr 2016
A world champion, Donna O’ Sullivan, is among the many ‘big fish’ caught by the Celtic Spey Casting Challenge which takes place at the Waterworks Park from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 May.

The international competition, organised by the Families at the Waterworks group and supported by Belfast City Council and The Housing Executive, is to raise the profile of Spey Casting as a sport. It has attracted entries from sportspeople across the globe and is open for everyone to attend free of charge.

Some of the competitors, including Donna, will join local fishing club members to coach schools and youth groups ahead of the competition casting on Saturday. Around 250 young people from across the community are expected to attend the coaching sessions on Friday.

The competition will start on Saturday, 7 May from 11am-9pm and on Sunday, 8 May from 9am onwards.

Donna is particularly keen to encourage more females to take up the sport and is delighted to be able to pass on some tips to younger enthusiasts.

She has been involved in the sport for 20 years and said: “I am a member of the Golden West Women Fly fishers and Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club (GGACC) in San Francisco where I started learning single hand and Spey casting. I actively teach club members and the public who are interested in both single hand and two hand fly casting.

“There are not too many females who compete in fly casting events, but we do have many fly casting clubs in the USA where a lot of women and some girls are members for recreational fishing. I would love to teach some women and girls how to fly cast and start enjoying fly fishing in the rivers and lakes in your area,” said Donna.

“Some of the world's best Spey casters both men and women, will be competing at the Celtic Spey Challenge. Spectators will see some amazing Spey casting, and have the opportunity to watch and learn from these world class Spey casters and champions,” she added.

Jim Devlin, Project Manager for Families at the Waterworks, said: “I’m very excited about the Celtic Spey Casting Challenge coming to the Waterworks – it was a lot of hard work to make it happen – but thanks to Edward Cassidy, Dermot Drain and Michael Griffin from the Waterworks Trout and Casting Club, who worked with me, we have made it happen.

“Spey casters from around the world will be arriving in Belfast to show their skills and hopefully break a record or two. It’s the first time anything like this has been held in Northern Ireland and thanks to the support of Belfast City Council and The Housing Executive it promises to be a fantastic event for everyone,” said Jim.
World champion spey caster Donna O'Sullivan