The Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has dismissed claims that they would no longer be involved in the Fermanagh Fishing Classic as “incorrect”.

There had been speculation among anglers that the fishing competition, that has been held around Fermanagh for the last 44 years, would be no more without the organisation and funding from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

However in a statement a Council spokesperson said that the information was incorrect and the Council would continue to support the tournament.

“The Council will continue to support the Fermanagh Classic Fishing Festival, as it remains an internationally recognised event which has consistently attracted in excess of 200 anglers to the Fermanagh Lakelands, and promotes the area as a tourism destination.

“The Council will, as is the case with all events which it supports or organises, continue to consider updates on this and related initiatives on an annual basis,” said a Council spokesperson.

The annual tournament which attracts hundreds of anglers, including world champions to the county for the last 44 years and the match is the biggest individual match for silver fish in the world.

Local angler James O’Doherty won this year’s competition and he is confident that the fishing classic will be run again next year. However he warns that if this was not the case, the future of angling in the county would be at stake..

“I’m confident someone will come in and try and do something because you have all the other festivals that run alongside it. The Mahon’s Festival the week before has 100 anglers in it and then there is another this week that has 50 anglers and they always run either side of the classic,” explained James.

“Angling is dying out as a sport anyway but it would be a fatal blow completely for the future of angling.

“I remember when I was a kid I always aspired to fish and win the classic because it is one of the biggest individual competitions in the world, so it is a massive thing to win.

“It would be a massive blow.”

The 2019 champion also points out how much of an effect losing the competition would have on the Fermanagh economy.

“In terms of the economy the amount of money they bring to Fermanagh in terms of like going to the pubs and accommodation, it is a lot of money.

“The tourism is massive and that would be the biggest blow in my eyes anyway.”

- Home winner reflects on his success see Page 21