Hall makes a splash with Classic win

Lisnaskea angler Jordan Hall won the Waterways Ireland Classic Fishing Festival bagging a cheque of £5,000 and the coveted crystal chalice.

Lisnaskea angler Jordan Hall won the Waterways Ireland Classic Fishing Festival bagging a cheque of £5,000 and the coveted crystal chalice.

We live in a blessed part of the world for angling. Lough Erne supplies superb fishing, and there are any amount of top class locations within easy reach for local anglers.

It’s little surprise then that the county is a magnet for the top fishers in Ireland and abroad. That was most certainly the case when Fermanagh staged the Waterways Ireland Classic Fishing Festival in May. 

What was surprising though was the performance of Lisnaskea’s Jordan Hall. Still aged just 20 at that point, Hall saw off all comers to win the event outright, bag a cheque of £5,000 and hoist the coveted Classic crystal chalice.

If he wasn’t on the radar before that, he certainly was now. The Classic fishing festival is the most prestigious fishing festival in Ireland. For Hall to win it on his first attempt and at such a young age could only be described as an exceptional performance.

“I’ve had fishing magazines from England contacting me and people from all over the UK and Ireland have been congratulating me,” said Lisnaskea man on the reaction to the win.

The build up to the Classic week was taken up with preparing rigs, setting up rods and getting everything ready. After that it was in the lap of the Gods.

“The draw was in the Lakeland Forum and I drew Killadeas on the first day and I landed 6.600kgs,” said Hall. “I got sunburnt the first day, my arms were bright red. I had to cover myself up for the rest of the week I got that burned.

“On the second day of the Classic I drew at the Round O and I got 24.500kgs and was second overall that day. I caught on the pole mostly that day.

“The last day I was on Boa Island and caught 28kgs on the pole and was second overall that day too.”

Those catches gave him a magnificent Classic win, but Hall is circumspect about his tactics. Ground bait, maggots, casters, worms, no different to anyone else is his response to how he baits. But he admits his big haul wasn’t down to luck alone.

“I was lucky enough to have drawn fish of 24 and 28 kilo, but you still have to fish to get them out, so it’s 50 50 between luck and strategy.

“Local knowledge is useful because you’ll have a few wee hints on what works in certain locations. Local fellas will help you out as well if you don’t know the area.”

But local knowledge only takes you so far. While Hall’s journey began on the Erne at his Father’s side, his progression has been greatly aided by his exposure to the international scene. He first fished at junior level for Ireland in 2013 when he travelled to France aged just 17.

“I live more or less beside Lough Erne, I’m out on the Derrylin road out of Lisnaskea. I’ve a lake behind the house, but it’s hard to fish in it because there’s that much weed around the sides of it. I went out fishing with my Dad and then the school had a fishing team which Colin O’Callaghan organised. 

“I joined that and that expanded my opportunities. There were junior competitions which brought me on. There were coaches at those competitions who helped you out. Most of them were from Erne Anglers and Jack Tisdall was a big part of it. He’s the Junior coach for Ireland as well. Jack organised a lot of those competitions.

“You learn different techniques in different countries because the fishing is different to what you would have here. You’re fishing for different species.”

That international experience has allowed Hall to hone his craft and that’s something he hopes to continue doing in the coming years. But he also hopes to keep making friends, meeting new people and having the craic, one of the great fringe benefits of high level competitive angling.

“There’s always good craic when you’re out fishing with other people,” said Hall. “You have a laugh and make friends through it. I’m going down to Cork this weekend fishing for the trials for the Irish Junior team and we’re staying down there so we’ll have a bit of fun over the weekend.

“I hope to fish for Ireland next year on the Junior team, that goes up to 25-years-old. It’s in Cork next year, so I really want to be on the team for that.”

It’s a comic irony to discover that Hall is no lover of fish for the plate. While he might be a master at pulling fish from the loughs and rivers, that’s as far as it goes for him.

“I don’t really like fish, I put them all back. I just fish for the sport and hope that this next one’s bigger.”


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