Pontoon bridge

For those unfamiliar with the area around here let me explain about Pontoon bridge. When the level in lough Conn was lowered many years ago a cut was blasted to join up loughs Conn and Cullin. A fine bridge spans that cut and it is a very popular spot for salmon fishers who gather there when the silver lads are running during periods of high water. At times like that the flow is strong so legered worms or prawns are used and many fine salmon are landed there each year.

I don’t bother fishing at Pontoon bridge. It gets very crowded there when the salmon are running and all sorts of altercations take place every year between irate anglers who jostle for the best spot. I don’t need that kind of hassle when I’m fishing so I just leave the place well alone. Today however I broke my own self imposed rule and went up there to do some coarse fishing. You see there are usually some perch and roach in the deep water under the stone bridge and I had some maggots to use up. In the cool of an early autumn morning I drove up for a change of scene. With little rain recently the water levels are low across the county and the cut would be shallower and slower moving now.

Looking up into Lough Conn

With only the bare minimum of gear on my back I made my way down the steep path to a spot above the bridge where I could fish from. With a little more effort I could have made right to the water’s edge but I wanted to fish from a vantage point so I could see what was going on this morning. OK, so I was too high above the water to fish the float perfectly but with no wind to speak of I figured I’d get by for the scant couple of hours I had available to me. Setting up with a small crystal waggler above a 4 pound mono tippet and a size 16 hook I began casting into the middle of the cut. I didn’t bother plumbing the depth as the bottom is very rough with big boulders everywhere. As it turned out my estimated depth worked out fine and I had no serious snags all morning.

The beauty of being high up was that I could see fish in the water, lots of fish actually. All were small and I took it they would be roach and settled into casting the wee float out into the clear water. Very soon the bites came and to be honest they kept it up pretty solidly for the two hours I was there. The first two fish that came to hand were small rudd, very pretty but on the small side. It was some roach next, again small fish with just a few getting up to about eight ounces or so. Of course there were perch, lots and lots of perch.

My method was basically trotting the float down the flow for maybe 20 yards with the bail arm on the reel open. This worked well but I still have a hankering for a centre pin reel for this kind of work. I baulk at the cost of a lovely old Ariel but there are cheaper alternatives on the market so I might go for one of them. For all the use such a ‘pin would see there is no point in over spending. For today though an old fixed spool would have to do and I fished on, steadily catching silvers under an ever changing sky.

I didn’t keep count of how many I caught during the session but whatever that number was the roach, rudd and perch were equally represented. I would doubt if any of them went better than half-a-pound in weight but just to be out in the fresh air was lovely. Loose feeding maggots held the wee fishes in front of me and it was great fun watching the red tip of the waggler sink under the surface time after time

Some light rain fell for a short spell but otherwise it was a great morning to be beside the water. Jobs to do around the house forced me to curtail the session but that was fine, all I had wanted out of the morning was some peace and quiet with a few silvers thrown in.

Part of the reason for fishing at the bridge today was to see if there were any better fish present but if there were I didn’t see any. Regardless, I will pop back there occasionally for a short session simply because it is so close to home. Much bigger roach and rudd live in both Cullin and Conn so there must be a chance of catching some if I persevere. While I traveled light today I can cut back even further and dispense with my rucksack too. The deep hole below the bridge is worth investigation too, who knows what could be lurking on the bottom there!


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