Acre’s Lake

The hot sun continues to beat down on Ireland so all game angling is on hold for now. With a bit of time on my hands today I decided to head for Acre’s Lake near Drumshanbo in county Leitrim to fish the deep water there in the hope of catching a few bream. Acre’s used to have a couple of fishing stands but the water around them was shallow and the lake gets very weedy in the summer. A large floating pontoon was built for the boats who cruise the Shannon and even a boardwalk has been constructed. Fishing is allowed from both of these structures but today I was going to try my luck from the pontoon.

As usual, I stopped of in Carrick-on-Shannon to pick up some bait from Carrick Angling Centre. The lads are always helpful and it is a great place for good tackle and advice. If you are in the area pop in and see them.

It is only a few kilometers from Carrick to Drumshanbo where I turned off the road. The pontoon has a number of berths with a long ‘T’ section on the end for temporary tie ups. It’s high summer and the Shannon is busy so there was bound to be a high volume of traffic today.

There is a car park at the pontoon which was packed with cars when I arrived and I was lucky to find a space. It was but a short walk out to the end with all my gear. I decided to set up on the third ‘finger’ of the ‘T’, roughly in line with a drop off to about 16 feet of water. Every berth was full of cruisers of all shapes and sizes. I began by ground baiting, balls were hurled into the depths and I would keep this up for the whole session in an attempt to lure a few bream into the swim and hold them there. I am not a good bream angler. I live far from the venues I fish so pre-baiting is not an option for me. I have a lot to learn about ground baiting and in particular keeping a shoal in the swim. I catch bream in ones and twos then they seem to drift off again. I suspect this is because I don’t feed enough but to be honest I am not sure. With that depth of water under the pontoon I was hoping the bream would still be relatively comfortable despite the all pervading heat. I could have tried a sliding float but instead I opted for the easier option of using swimfeeders.

Acre’s holds other species too. Roach, tench, rudd, perch and pike also live there meaning I could potentially turn up pretty much anything. Given the awful weather for angling I would be happy to settle for just about any fish that happen along. I had read that the bream can get up to 4 or 5 pounds in weight and the tench can be impressively large too so I opted for 4 pound hook links to begin with. Although there was barely sufficient space I managed to fish with two rods, a swim feeder on each one.

Almost from the first cast I was getting tappy little bites. I missed all of them from the first half hour, the hook coming back still with the maggots on it. I took this to mean it was tiddlers trying to eat the bait but unable to get a size 10 hook in their mouths. I toyed with dropping hook size but decide to persevere with the rigs as they were. Eventually I struck into a small fish and out came a skimmer of a few ounces. The bites continued unabated for a couple of hours with me missing most of them and winding in skimmers when I did connect.

It all went quiet around noon. The heat was crippling and only for a faint cooling breeze I would have packed up. I decided to swap the cage feeder for a maggot feeder on the leger rod to see if this would help but to be honest I saw little difference. Tiny rudd were everywhere but I didn’t see any good ones so was not tempted to try a free-lined maggot. It would be nearly two o’clock before a shoal of roach moved into the swim and I landed three of them and lost a few more besides.

The baby bream returned just before I packed up and I landed a few more of them, the best one might have reached a pound in weight. By 4pm I was well cooked and had had enough so I tidied up and departed. Counting up as I drove home, I had landed 12 skimmers and 3 roach. Most anglers would consider this a very poor return but given the appalling conditions I was not too displeased. Time constrains meant I could only fish during the hottest part of the day and my expectations were low to start with. The bigger fish will have sought deeper, cooler water and only the little fellas were hanging around. I am sure a change in hook size would have resulted me converting a higher proportion of the bites into fish in the hand but it was just too damn hot to be bothered fiddling around. I was happy just to take in the scenery and reel in the occasional tiddler today.

So what do I make of Acre’s Lake? It has potential but fishing it at this time of the year is difficult as the lake is so busy with boat traffic. I might try it again in the autumn when there are much less tourists on the go. The pontoon is certainly very handy for putting you right over deep water without the need for a long cast.


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