Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing

Green instead of silver

It has been quiet all week. Work has taken me up to Belfast and then hours in front of the computer screen, severely curtailing my fishing. Late August and that nagging sense that another season is slipping away from me pervades my thoughts. Ben had some success on Lough Innagh but I couldn’t make that trip so I was itching to get out and do some salmon fishing. Conditions were not great though on Saturday and we settled for a morning on the Cashel River.

This is unusual fishing as we troll a slow section of a river. I baled the 17 footer and we loaded up before driving under the bridge and up river. Baits we left streaming out behind us and we settled into the day, ignoring the mist which left everything damp to the touch. Rapalas were the first lures we tried, a rather natty silver lad with a red tail on the end hook on one rod while I tried my favourite orange and gold floater.

We were soon in action, one rod giving a good solid thump as something fishy grabbed the Rapala as we rounded a bend. It was soon obvious this was no salmon as a small Pike thrashed on top of the water.

The river is full of these pests. Some days it can be a case of a Pike every few minutes and we can only guess at the huge toll of salmon smolts this infestation takes every season. We boated a few more on Saturday but none of any great size.

We kept this one and then resumed fishing. The weeds were very thick and the lures became snagged occasionally. Even the engine fouled sometimes in the weedbeds, necessitating  a stop to clear the propeller.

You can see from the photographs why we troll this river. The banks are heavily overgrown and access is virtually nil. Fly fishing is not an option with the slow, deep water and no room for a back cast due to the trees and bushes.

We fished as far upstream as was possible before the weed became too heavy and we retreated back downstream. Under the bridge again we fished all the way down to Lough Cullen.

I used the quiet time to fix a damaged plug. This old lure had received some damage from pike earlier this year and the hooks were in poor shape.

The loop for attaching the line was out of alignment, causing the plug to swim on its side. Some delicate work with a pliers sorted that problem and the lure was returned to the box for another day.

Around 2 pm we called it a day. Half-a-dozen pike was all we could manage between us and not even a sight of a salmon. Maybe next week……………

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing, trout fishing, wetfly

Gone for a Burton

There was a small tin box in my fly tying cabinet which caught my eye today. I don’t remember where it came from or why it was lodged under some squirrel tails, it just seemed to appear there. I must have used it ages ago and forgotten about it but today I opening it up out of curiosity. I figured it would probably contain some rusty swivels at best, but no – some flies were nestling in the bottom of the tin. Here are some of them:

Benbecula Ke-He

Benbecula Ke-He

A Benbecla Ke-He. Nice fly for lochs when there is a dirty, squally day. Just like the usual tying except it sports a white hackle.

Muddler headed Ke-He

Muddler headed Ke-He

Another Ke-He, this time one with a white muddler head. This looks a wee bit like that great old campaigner the White headed Loch Ordie, a great killer in the gloamimg on highland lochs.

Donegal Blue

Donegal Blue

A useful sea trout fly. Half a dozen of these were in the box, possibly tied up for a sea trout trip many moons ago.

Guinea and Silver

Guinea and Silver

A very pretty fly but I can’t in all honesty say I have slain bags of trout with it. If this works then so should a Teal and Silver or even a Butcher.

Purple Ally's Shrimp

Purple Ally’s Shrimp

Some lads swear by Purple coloured flies for salmon, I tend to swear at them instead. I have landed a few late season salmon on purple shrimps but I much prefer a touch of red in a pattern for the autumn. Anyway, 2 Purple Ally’s Shrimps on size 8 doubles were in the tin.

Watson's Bumble

Watson’s Bumble

A scatter of Watson’s Bumbles in all sizes from 12 up to 8 were in the tin, a great find for ma as I use this fly a lot for Salmon and Sea Trout. I prefer it to the standard dressing as it has more action in the water.

The Burton

The Burton

I haven’t tied this fly for many years now so this was an old fly. The Burton is a pattern for Loch Lomond but there is no reason it shouldn’t work here in Ireland for salmon. I will give it a swim to try out my theory.

Teds Fancy

Teds Fancy

Not sure about the name for this lure, it is called Teds ‘something’ (maybe Fancy or Killer or Favourite….). Looks like a reasonable stickleback imitation to me.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

One of these bushy lads was in the tin, a wet Grasshopper pattern. Almost certainly tied up for Mask/Carra this one will be popped straight into my loch fly box. Good at this time of the year and one which the trout take confidently during August and September.

There were some other Dabblers and Peter’s in there too, but nothing to get overly excited about. I checked the hook points and sharpened a couple of them before relocating the good flies in my normal fly box. I’ll let you know if they bring me any success!

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Fishing in Ireland, sea angling

Smoking is good for you

Thursday has been muggy and moist, the air hardly circulating at all. It feels thundery but nothing comes of it. Hardly the best conditions for fishing but we had agreed that we would try a mark out West in the evening. Now as it turned out there was a last minute change of plans which meant I headed off on my own. A further change happened as I drove past the foot of the holy mountain, the wind was getting up and the rain started to fall with a surprising force. Maybe the low, rocky mark I was thinking of fishing was too dangerous tonight after all. I whipped the wheel hard right just past Louisburg and rolled on into Roonagh as the light faded.

A stiff westerly was blowing across the pier making it easy to fish and only 3 other anglers were busy when I arrived. Some Mackerel were present and I was quickly into fish on my usual set up. Squally rain and the wind seemed to keep other anglers away and only a handful ventured down for a look and not many landed a fish.

I ended up with 15 Mackerel to take home, enough without over-doing it. It was dark by the time I trudged back to the car and drove slowly home in the mist, thinking about the meaning of life and that kinda stuff. us anglers tend to drift into fairly deep thoughts at the drop of a hat, it must have something to do with being grounded in nature.

Back home I filleted the fish. Mackerel don’t keep well and leaving them overnight was not an option. The fillets rested in the fridge until today, when I dusted down my faithful old smoker and got to work………..

The smoker is a custom made job, a present from the engineering department of a papermill in Finland (don’t ask, it is a long story). It’s fashioned from a length of stainless steel pipe, sealed at one end and with a hinged lid on the other. Inside there is a grill running the length of the unit. Woodchips go on the bottom and direct heat is applied to the outside of the pipe causing the chips to smoke and cooking the fish which have been placed on the grill.

The fillets were placed on the grill and the smoker positioned on top of my camping stove. I had to do the job in two batches but they came out perfectly.

So that is dinner for tonight sorted out. Those of you fellow anglers who don’t yet smoke their catch should seriously consider investing in a smoker. A bit of home smoked salmon or mackerel is a real treat!

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dryfly, Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, sea angling, trolling, trout fishing, wetfly

Random photos

My computer is full of photos taken when fishing, most of which will never see the light of day, so here are a few random pics for you to enjoy.

My boat in Pike Bay, Lough Conn

a boat in Pike Bay, Lough Conn

This one has obviously been idle for some time!

A Beltra Springer

A Beltra Springer

Favouite lures for Pike trolling in the winter months

Favouite lures for Pike trolling in the winter months

The view across Lough Mask from Cahir Pier. Mamtrasna is in the distance

The view across Lough Mask from Cahir Pier. Mamtrasna is in the distance

A small,coloured grilse about to go back

A small,coloured grilse about to go back

Ben with a nice, fresh 6 pounder off Carrowmore Lake a couple of years ago

Ben with a nice, fresh 6 pounder off Carrowmore Lake a couple of years ago

An audience

An audience

Rising tide, Ballyness bay, Donegal

Rising tide, Ballyness Bay, Donegal

Moorhall Bay, Lough Carra

Moorhall Bay, Lough Carra

While working in Oxfordshire some years ago I tried my hand at Carp fishing

While working in Oxfordshire some years ago I tried my hand at Carp fishing

A big wild Brown trout form the River Robe

A big wild Brown trout form the River Robe

Bridge over the Robe

Bridge over the Robe

The usual suspects on a boat fishing trip

The usual suspects on a boat fishing trip

Fly caught Mackerel from a few years ago

Fly caught Mackerel from a few years ago

The weather is settled and dry so salmon fishing is dead slow here. Trout angling is patchy but there are still some good fish being caught on Lough Mask. Expect things to pick up with the next spell of wet and windy weather. Planning an all-nighter off the shore this week!

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sea angling

An evening sea fishing in Mayo

This started when I took my car to my mechanic for a service. Mick told me he had been out in a boat doing a bit of sea fishing last week and that they caught ‘heaps’ of fish. Pollack and Mackerel were the main catch and they were caught out in Clew Bay. I had heard that the sea fishing had picked up recently so I began to think about a wee trip. Then I received a text from my mate Ben – was I going to go to Roonagh pier with him tonight to give it an auld lash for Mackerel? Obviously he had heard the news on the grapevine too, so a plan was hatched to head west after work and sling some metal and feathers into the ocean.

Roonagh Pier is a busy little harbour where the ferries for the islands depart and arrive at regular intervals. During the summer months it is a hive of activity and when the Mackerel shoals turn up the pier becomes thronged with tourists, locals and fishermen hoping to catch their dinner. With high tide near dusk and fine, settled weather this evening looked to be ideal conditions. On arriving at the pier it seemed that half the population of Mayo had exactly the same idea though!

All available space on the pier was already taken and the hot spots at the end of the new jetty were crammed to danger point with fellas lobbing strings of feathers in the sea. In an effort to escape the melee we headed over on to some nearby rocks and fished there for a while but the weed was a problem every cast and only a couple of tiny pollack grabbed the lures. So back to the pier we headed…………..

Ben perched on top of the sea wall

Ben perched on top of the sea wall

We perched ourselves up on the very top of the sea wall and started fishing from there. No fish were being caught and it took me another 20 minutes or so of methodical casting and searching different depths before that old familiar tug on the line signalled a mackerel had fancied my lure. After that it went quiet again and I wandered back down to the inside of the harbour to try for a Pollack which can sometimes be caught in there. The slow fishing was having an effect on the less enthusiastic fishers and they began to drift away, so I gradually worked my way up to the end of the jetty. For once my timing was good as the shoal turned up just I started to fish at the prime spot. Our bucket began to fill nicely as both of us latched on to pound plus Mackerel most casts. What became obvious was that the light levels were important and the shoal only came close to shore as it got dark.

Dozens of angler now appeared as if on cue and the pier became down right dangerous as kids and inexperienced fishers lobbed leads and lures around with gay abandon. We called it a day long before the fishing had peaked and headed off to leave the crowds to their fun.

A well-earned pint of porter in Mrs. Duffy’s pub in Louisburg rounded off the day for us. I suppose we had around 16 fish between us but we could have had lots more if we had stuck it out. As always, people are tempted to kill far too many Mackerel. The fish are all too often shown little or no respect and are left to die on the pier without being cleanly killed. I am sure many, many fish end up in a rubbish bin because they are surplus to needs, such a waste at a time when the species is under increasing industrial fishing pressure. So if you are fishing for these lovely and sporting fish please just keep what you need and let the rest back into the sea.

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Uncategorized

early August update

Salmon – some fish being taken throughout the whole of the Moy system, mainly grilse as you would expect. Beltra is pretty quiet with just a few Sea Trout coming to the net.

Sea angling- good numbers of rays in Clew Bay with the usual shore marks producing well. Mackerel finally appearing in the are too.

Trout fishing – evening fishing is steady if not spectacular on the major lakes.

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