With a free afternoon yesterday I decided to try my luck fishing Cloondroon lough just across the county border in Galway. A survey of the two plastic bait boxes in the fridge revealed some healthy worms in one but the maggots from last week in the other one were not in great shape. Most had turned to casters and the wrigglers that were left looked none too healthy. Beggars can’t be choosers so I tossed them in with the rest of the gear and headed off.
Cloondroon is an enigma to me. I have never blanked there but neither have I had any big fish. Other anglers have shown me photos of impressively large bream and hybrids but I have yet to land anything better than about three pounds there. The air felt heavy and still as I tackled up on my ‘usual’ stand, conditions which did not bode well. Grey clouds hung in the sky above as I cast the light leger out then busied myself with the float rod. Size 12 hooks on both rigs, a lively worm wriggling manically on the leger while a bunch unconvincing maggots were suspended under the waggler. Then I settled back to see what might transpire.
The afternoon would be a typical one for me on this lough. A quiet start then some rattles on the leger resulting in a couple of small perch between some missed bites. Small roach nibbled the dodgy maggots and I land a few of them but it was pretty slow if truth be told. About 2pm the leger rod pulled over and I wound in a bream of a couple of pounds. He managed to cover the hook length in so much slime I had to cut it off and tie on a new one but I was soon back in action again. Some skimmers appeared and the usual litany of missed bites ensued but I did land a few on the worm. I had been reduced to poking around in the box for the last few remaining maggots which by now was full of deep red casters.
Footsteps in the distance grew closer. Turning, I saw a fellow angler coming my way and he came up for a chat. Paul fishes here a lot and we spoke for a while. When I mentioned my dilemma with the elderly maggots he offered me some of his as he had plenty. I took him up on his generous offer and he went over to fish the stand next to me. On his first cast he pulled out a good roach.
The fresh maggots made a huge difference for me and I spent the next hour getting bites on most casts with the float. Mainly small roach, there were some skimmers, perch and the odd bream too. By about 4pm though the action had slowed up considerably and so I called it a day. Leaving Paul to it I trudged off back to the car and the relatively short trip home. Traffic was surprisingly light, windows wound down, I turned on the radio to listen to the soccer and cruised sedately back through Mayo.
Just as I turned into the driveway Burnley knocked in their fifth goal against Wigan Athletic. Helen had a nice bottle of red waiting on the table to accompany dinner and while I had been fishing a mate had dropped off some freshly caught mackerel at the house. All in all I had a bloody marvelous day yesterday!
Sunday morning and once again I was left with the feeling that I should have done much better on the lough. Sure, I had caught plenty of fish but yet again none of them were of any great size, despite the fact there is a head of large bream and hybrids in there. The point of using large hooks and baits was to try to tempt a better stamp of fish but it made no difference and this had been another session of tiddler bashing. At least part of the problem is my attitude to the place. It tends to be a venue I go to when other, more distant ones are not feasible. Last minute planning, dodgy bait, poor swim selection – the list goes on. I need to up my game!
We are almost at the end of August and with a month left of the game fishing season I will probably be busy with the fly rod for the next four weeks. After that though I will sort myself out and hit Cloondroon this autumn in an effort to crack it properly.