Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trout fishing

Angling update

A wee update for you on the fishing in these parts.

Beltra -the odd spring salmon being caught but to be honest the lough needs a good shot of water in it now to encourage a run of salmon.

River Moy – a trickle of fish seem to be entering the system now and catches, while still low, are beginning to pick up. East Mayo Anglers water is producing an occasional fish including a 10 pounder on the fly last week.

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The Moy in Ballina

Lough Mask – continues to fish well. All the normal spots are seeing some action but a lot of very thin trout showing up

Lough Conn – It is still very quiet on Conn but the angling pressure has been virtually nil so there could be more chances for sport than people realise. Should be worth a cast from now on.

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Trolling for salmon on Lough Conn

Lough Cullin – good buzzer hatches and the first olives now hatching.

Carrowmore Lake – Fishing very well when conditions allow. Ben Baynes took a 4 pounder there last week and followed up with a 9 pounder which he released on Lough Beltra on the same day!

In summary, the cold weather and East wind have not been doing us any favours this month so far, but if we get a spell of wet and mild weather things will liven up and the fishing will be good here in Mayo. Carrowmore is the hotspot right now!

 

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Fishing in Ireland, Nymphs

Dragons and pole dancers

Friday night’s revelries led to a very tired Colin this morning which was not good as Ben and I had an arrangement to launch another boat on Lough Conn. Scrambling out of bed and into some fishing clothes, I noted the blue sky and stiff breeze moving the trees in the garden, scattering the last of the cherry blossom. The forecast of a cold and windy day looked about right. I looked out the 11 foot fly rod and prayed my wrist would stand up to a day casting with the brute.

We set off around the planned time and chatted about the fishing as we drove up to Pike Bay.  It’s a handy spot, nice and sheltered with good access to the whole lough and the added bonus of a couple of good lies near at hand. Launching went smoothly and we were soon out on the water in a wind which was much more Easterly that the forecast Northerly.

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Safely launched

We adjusted plans accordingly and fished the lies in and around Pike Bay itself, but nothing fishy showed any interest in our flies. So we switched to trolling and dragged spoons and Rapalas all the way down to Massbrook. Once again, no stir from the fish.

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The Peter Ross Bumble in the middle of the cast

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My Green and Claret Dabbler was given a swim today too

With a more favourable wind behind us we drifted the lies on the Massbrook shore. No hatch of flies today which was a disappointment for the third week in April. Lake Olives are usually appearing in reasonable numbers by now but today must have been too cold for them. We trolled for a while again, retracing our passage back up to Pike Bay and then beyond into Castlehill. Enthusiasm was waning fast in the face of an apparently empty lake so we pulled into the shore for nourishment and a stretch of the legs and to take some photos.

As is my want, I prowled the edge of the water, flipping rocks to see what lived there. In amongst the usual louse and shrimps I came across  the imposing shape of a Dragonfly Larvae. Brian Clarke referred to these beasts as ‘the Ghengis Khan of the lake’ as they eat anything smaller than themselves.

Tea break over, we decided that enough was enough, so one last drift at the pole outside of Pike Bay would provide a final chance for today. The wind took us just to the inside of the pin which marks a shallow some 50 yards from the shore.

Ben’s deft oar strokes kept us just clear of the marker and my cast, like hundreds before landed 15 yards in front of the boat. Half way back to me a solid tug and a flash under the surface woke me up somewhat abruptly. A Springer!

He wasn’t big but he certainly was lively. An initial short, boring run culminated in a spectacular jump before he charged off towards open water. Next, he came up to the top and danced across the surface in a kind of rolling tailwalk. The next 10 minutes saw him circle the boat 4 or 5 times and kept me guessing right up to the end. Ben netted him on the second pass as the fish tired. A new fish, not sea-liced but a bar of silver never-the-less. Around the 7 pound mark he had taken the Green Peter fished on the bob. Time only for one quick photo before he was slipped back into the water.

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Hook on the outside of the salmon’s mouth

We squeezed in one more drift before packing up but the lone springer was the only action we saw all day. No matter, at least we met a fish and breathed some good, fresh air. That boat will get good use over the next few weeks!

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The fly that did the damage

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing

How to fix a sticking net

A quick wee post that might be of some use to you……………

Ben’s extending salmon net was stuck fast, no amount of pulling would free it so I volunteered to try and fix it for him. I was confident I could do it as I have done the same before with my own nets over the years.

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The sliding collar

I took the net home and used clamps to move the collar up to the end of the shank. The expansion bolt was unscrewed and kept safe before forcing the frame off the shank. As suspected, the soft insert in the collar had deformed and was in need of re-profiling with a fine file. The temptation is always to take off too much so care is required and some restraint with the file. just smooth off any ridges and try to get back to the square shape. Offer up the frame to the shank again – it should just go on but still be tight. Now for the magic.

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The man on the black horse

Apply a very light coating of olive oil to the shank.I never use any other oil release agents like WD-40. And don’t try to put on too much oil, it will only cover anything it comes in contact with and attarct dirt.

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The insert after it was filed

Put it all back together and you are done. To maintain smooth operation simply apply a fine coat of olive oil once or twice a year or when there is the first sign of sticking.

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Fishing in Ireland, trolling

Cold day on Cullin

It looked for all the world like one of those days in mid-winter when the sky fills with menacing clouds and snow falls thickly, snarling up traffic and turning the pavements into streams. That was Saturday and the cold snap continued into Sunday.

Between the snow showers three of us flipped my boat over and loaded it on to a trailer, ready for Sunday morning’s journey to Lough Cullin. An inch of ice in the boat greeted me the next day and it had to be hacked off before we hit the road. The snow had retreated to the hill tops but the bitter wind remained to test our resolve. Rods and gear had been brought along but with such coldness we remained undecided to last minute if we would venture out. Cullin looked blankly uninviting, the wind blustered and blew out of the freezing east and even the strenuous effort of launching the boat failed to generate any heat in the pair of us. The moment for decision came once the boat was safely in the water and we managed to convince ourselves there was a chance of a fish. So the outboard spluttered into life and we motored off to the favourite spot to troll for a while.

A small but steady hatch of buzzers came off the lake all the time we were afloat but not a single fish rose. I didn’t blame them. We were threading our way between the pins when my rod buckled and the reel woke me from what I considered to be the early stages of hypothermia. A ten yard dash and then………….nothing. Just a heavy weight and the odd head shake. Pike. A stone of teeth and slime came to the boat, hooked conveniently in the corner of the mouth.

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Ben boated another Essox around the 7 pound mark before we stopped for a bite to eat on the shore near Pontoon Bridge. As usual, the prawning brigade were hard at it but enquiries showed they were fishless like us.

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Pulled in near the bridge

We changed baits, switching to plugs instead of spoons but all to no avail. The cold and rising wind made it unpleasant to be out in so we decided to call it a day around 2pm. Hardly an exciting day’s sport but the boat is now in place for when the fishing does eventually pick up.

 

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

Spring but no Springers

 

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Rain over the bank holiday weekend has pushed up water levels a bit so we decided to try for a springer today. Waiting for Ben outside the house in warm sunshine it really felt like spring was here at last. The trees were filled with chirping birds amid the early blossoms.

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Lovely spring morning, for a start at least

I caught up on all Ben’s news on the short journey out to the river  (he had a 10 pounder off Lagduff on the Owenduff on Saturday) and we assessed the chances for today. The river had risen over a foot but was now dropping back . Word was that a couple of salmon had been caught on the Moy system recently, one at Pontoon bridge and another at Foxford. All of this sounded good and we were pretty hopeful there was going to be a fish or two in the river today. Peering over the bridge the water was tinged, but not too coloured. Gear was hastily stowed on the boat and we motored up river in good spirits.

An hour later and we were beginning to flag. No signs of fish at all and the warmth of the morning was disipating as clouds rolled in from the south west. A thin drizzle began to fall, washing our confidence away. Conversation died and we sat hunched in the boat, each  of us lost in our own thoughts. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, off went Ben’s rod as something fishy grabbed his Kynoch. After the first run everything went dead and we both knew what that meant – PIKE.

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Note how the Kynoch has slid up the line and out of harm’s way

This lad headed for the weeds and had to be bullied back out into open water before he could be boated.

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Coming to hand

By the time we pulled in to have a bit of lunch we had 3 pike between us, all between 4 and 5 pounds in weight. Of the silvery salmon there was no sign. After a soggy lunch, consumed behind a brier in a cold and wetting mist, we met some fellow anglers who were bait fishing with similar results as ourselves. And so we turned for home and headed back the way we had come. Another pike and then 2 trout were boated as we retraced our steps. Both trout were, just like the ones we had on Friday, in perfect condition, deep bodied and well fed. I suspect these are fish from Lough Cullin which came up the river to spawn and have hung around due to the good food supply.

 

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trailing some weed, another Pike comes to the boat

We called it a day when we got back below the bridge and tackled down at a leasurely pace. Salmon fishing is a numbers game, the more often you fish the more salmon you will catch. Today was not our turn but that wont stop us from trying again soon.

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Get out of those weeds!

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Snow on Nephin today

With work beckoning tomorrow and the forecast of cool, wet weather for the whole week I am now resigned to no more fishing until next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fishing in Ireland, Nymphs, trout fishing, wetfly

Endrick Spider does the trick

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It was too cold yesterday for trout fishing, the east wind had a raw edge to it and so I kept my powder dry for today instead. At 8am the cloud cover was good and the temperature was beginning to rise a little, so I fed and walked the dogs before heading south to the river Robe for a few hours fluff chucking. I was torn between the stretch at Castlemeggaret or the pools above Hollymount and as I travelled the N84 I settled on the Hollymount water for today’s outing. I stopped off in Ballinrobe to get something to eat before bouncing along towards Claremorris and turning off to the small bridge above the village of Hollymount.

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Looking downstream from the bridge

I was greeted with a low river; surprisingly low after the winter floods. The past week has been dry and the water levels have receded rapidly. Clouds were thinning as I tackled up and by lunchtime clear blue skies were overhead, making things a little tricky. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I planned to work my way downstream, searching the lies with a team of wets to start with and then change to nymphs if necessary. That wonderful feeling of getting back into the river again after the close season is such a joy! Birds were singing and the fields beginning to green up, so the whole experience of being out on the river in spring seemed to envelop me.

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Tail of a pool

It was obvious that fly life was sparse and all day I only saw a handful of olives and a couple of large Stoneflies. With nothing to attract then to the surface the trout were staying deep but my beaded spider was failing miserably to pull anything. I swapped patterns a couple of times but all I had to show for my efforts after an hour were a couple of half-hearted plucks from small fish. I kept working my way down river and stopped just above the village for a re-think. Checking the water again I found only a few olives, not enough to induce a rise from the fish.

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Stonefly

I sat on the bank for a while, taking in the vista and pondering the situation. I knew I should change to nymphs but instead I decided to stick with the wets for now.

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Down river, near Hollymount village

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throat of a pool

 

I carefully fished through the best pool in this section of the river, then the pool immediately below that, meeting 3 more tout, both of which managed to throw the hooks before I could land them. Time for another change and I put a beaded Endrick Spider on the tail.

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The Endrick Spider

Some more fruitless casting ensued before I decided to head off to the water immediately below the next bridge. There is always a few trout hanging around in this area and sure enough, I rose one on my second or third cast.  I covered him again and was rewarded with a firm take to the spider. I played him gingerly, not wanting to lose this one too! he was only a half-pounder but I had broken my duck and landed my first of the 2016 season. A bonnie wee trout, the fly lodged in the point of his nose. I flicked the fly out and took a couple of snaps before easing him back into the water.

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The harsh sunlight was not helping the fishing so I decided to call it a day. From now on the fishing should pick up as the water heats and fly life increases.

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Old weir with a fish pass

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Lovely water on the Robe

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

And we’re off!

A text from Ben asking for help to launch the first boat actually took me by surprise. I have been so busy at work lately that the thought of going fishing had not slipped into my awareness. That text changed all of that and I bundled some gear into the car and headed off to hitch up the boat trailer. A few minutes work and then we were off down the Pontoon Road with a 17 footer bobbing along merrily behind. The mild weather of yesterday continued today and the job of launching the boat was performed amid a backdrop of lovely spring vistas across the flat lands edging Lough Cullin. In no time at all the boat was afloat and our tackle loaded for a couple of exploratory hours.

We soon settled into the normal rhythm of this type of day and we caught up on all the gossip and fishing related stories and news. Ben’s rod was first to  bend into a fish but some head-shaking quickly loosened the Toby and the fish escaped. the scenery slipped by and the changes to the river after the winter floods were apparent with a lot of small trees either washed away or flattened on the bank.

It was my turn next when a solid thump converted into a dour struggle, obviously just a Pike. In this case a fish of around 6 pounds which had taken a fancy to a 24gm copper spoon. On up the river we pushed, past willows now covered with catkins and the first buds of the year.

My next take was initially encouraging as the fish hit hard and took line immediately, but it soon thrashed on the surface and was clearly just another Pike. This was a slightly better fish of around 10 pounds or so.

After that one we turned and began to head back down stream. We had not gone too far when Ben’s reel let out a screech and he was fast to something a bit better. The Pike ran into a drowned tree and it took some strong arm tactics to drag it back out into open water where it was subdued and landed, a fish of 14 pounds and as fat as a butchers dog. That was enough for one day and we motored back, well pleased with our opening session of 2016.

 

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