Fermanagh woman Rachel Watson is excited about the prospect of representing Ireland in this year’s Predator Challenge which is held in September at Lough Derg, Killaloe in County Clare.

The Predator Challenge is a three day annual International fishing competition with teams from all over the world competing with 33,000 acres of tough waters to fish.

Rachel has teamed up with Armagh man Kieran Donnelly for the event and she is looking forward to the competition.

“I’m so incredibly proud to be a part if it,” she said. “We have to catch four pike, three perch and one trout and I think the trout will be the hardest of them all to catch.

I have a fantastic fishing partner in Kieran Donnelly who I have complete faith in. He has produced some fantastic fish over the years and has coached me though the doubts and wobbles. We just rub along and are quiet similar and I know there will be plenty of laughing in the boat!”

Rachel’s fascination with angling started with she was a child but she has only taken it up seriously eight years ago.

“My love for fishing started when I was just 10 years old. We had a holiday home in Breamar in Scotland and my little sister and I would watch the salmon anglers for hours on the banks of the River Dee and pretend to fish. We would save all our pocket money to buy little bamboo handled nets and would spend the whole day trying to net fish with no joy but we enjoyed ourselves regardless.

“I only really got into angling seriously eight years ago. Work and children had always been my focus but as I found the boys growing up I found I had more time. Now I fish every single spare minute with my two boys who are great junior anglers and sometimes they put their mother to shame!”

And she is now both nervous and excited about coming up against some of the world’s best anglers in September.

“It’s very nerve racking fishing next to some of the world’s greatest anglers but I also feel very proud to be in their company and honoured to get the chance to meet them all.”

Indeed, Rachel will be only the second woman to compete in the competition.

“I am only the second ever woman to fish the competition so it’s added pressure. One of the people I’m most excited to meet is Gina Tanczos my fellow fisherwomen who gives me inspiration to get out there and try. Gina produces some awesome fish and has grit and determination in a very male dominated sport. She has so much passion for what she does and if I am beaten I hope it is by her,” added Rachel.

Rachel, who has secured sponsorship from Fladen, who will provide her with rods and equipment for the competition, would like to see more women involved in angling.

“I’d love to see more female anglers joining the sport and competition fishing, we definitely need more ladies out on the waters.

“I would also like to thank Herman Molenarr, the competition organiser who works so hard to get incredible prizes and to bring everyone together. I met Herman last year while fishing Lough Derg and you couldn’t meet a nicer guy.”