Fishing in Ireland, Pike, trolling

The Blair Spoon Project

So I have a few old Blair Spoons knocking around in my tackle box. Not those poor copies which you buy online these days; no – these are the real thing, hand made on Royal Deeside. I bought them when I was in my teens and they gave me a few salmon fished slow and deep in cold spring water. They cast well and flutter beautifully in the current but my examples have not seen action for decades. Maybe that is about to change…………………..

The lower Dee, home of the Blair Spoon

The lower Dee, home of the Blair Spoon

For those of you unfamiliar with the Blair Spoon it is a salmon lure, about 3 inches long, copper on one side and silver on the other. I have this mad idea that by changing the colour scheme it could work for Pike around here. Some ferreting around in my endless boxes of disused rubbish unearthed some ancient tins of Humbrol enamel paint. A nice dark green, a pale, watery yellow and a rather fetching fl. orange were prised open to reveal some still usable liquid. God alone knows what Humbrol made this paint out of – these tins a forty years old if they are a day!

I wanted to retain the copper so I spent some time burnishing that side of one of the spoons until it shone.

Then I gave the previously silver side a couple of coats of dark green and set it aside to dry. Once dry it looked a bit plain, so I dabbed on some yellow spots and livened the whole job up by further spots, this time using that racy hot orange.

Hmm, it looked OK but I felt it required a bit more ‘bling’. I like a touch of red on my pike lures so I went foraging for another appropriate bauble. I thought I would have one of those little red plastic tails you get on some lures in my gear but came up empty-handed. I could have robbed one of of another pike lure but that seemed to be defeating the purpose so, in the best traditions of ‘Blue Peter’ I decided to make a tail. Some old plastic tops from food jars would do the job nicely.

A few minutes work with a sharp knife and the drill gave me a perfectly serviceable tail which was then attached to the split ring on the end of the spoon.

All finished. To my eye this is a nice lure that should work for the green beasties. The trouble is that the fish usually see things completely differently. I will give it a swim the next time I am out anyway and report back to you all.

Update!

I have also tried painting the silver side of one of my Blair Spoons with fire orange paint. Three coats applied and it has come up a very interesting deep orange colour. what do you think?


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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, trolling

Endings and beginnings

30th September signals the end of trout and salmon fishing in these parts, OK, so there are little bits of game angling to be found until the middle of October but basically it is all over for another season. 2015 will go down as an exceptionally poor year for most local anglers in Mayo, with poor salmon runs despite some excellent conditions. Trout fishing on the loughs was middling but the rivers were almost lifeless. The bright spot was sea fishing with good bags of rays caught from the shore and large shoals of mackerel close in. Pollock were scarce however.

Today I began to tidy up my fly gear and do some running repairs in preparation for the autumn sea angling and Pike fishing which will need to suffice until Christmas. The first task was to go through a couple of boxes of spoons to whittle the contents down a bit. Pike are not overly fussy so I can lighten the load by leaving the smaller lures at home.

I have a great liking for Solvkroken spoons for Pike and the Salamander range are exceptional fish catchers when the green lads are hammering small bait fish. The gold and copper coloured ones are my favourites.

If limited to only one spoon for Pike it would definitely be the Storauren. This fearsome looking spoon weighs in at a heafty 45grm, so it is excellent for searching deeper water. The flying trebles on each side are possibly a bit of overkill but this lure outfishes most others in my box. It comes in either silver of copper finishes.

I get these (and many other lures) from Freeney’s shop in Galway city. Any tackle shop which is also a pub is OK in my book! Do drop in if you happen to be in Galway, it is a great wee shop.

Next task was to repair a damaged sandeel which had been cut by a Ballan Wrasse on Clare Island during the summer. All that is required is a drop of supper glue in the cut and then hold it together until the glue sets.

Now I turned my attention to the Pike flybox. Catching Pike on the fly can be good fun so I usually take a fly rod with me when deliberately targeting the toothy yard of green. Some rather dodgy looking experimental patterns from many years ago were weeded out and the hooks stripped for re-use. Then I tied up a couple of lightweight tubes for use in shallow water as most of my Pike flies are weighted.

The last job was to resurrect some very old Blair Spoons which I intend trying for Pike this Autumn. As spinning for salmon has declined on the big east coast rivers of Scotland so has this veritable old lure fallen into disregard. I unearthed some in the shed and decided they may have a use as a Pike lure if I could shine them up again. A little elbow grease later and they look serviceble once more.

Before............

Before…………

After cleaning

After cleaning

Once I was happy with the shine on the Blair’s I went on the hunt for suitable hooks and this was where the afternoon descended into farce. Hooks of every conceivable size, pattern and make were located hiding in jacket pockets, tackle bags and boxes but none were the right size for this lure. I eventually managed to find a couple of trebles which will do for now but I must invest in some large trebles before I hit the water.

I hear there are still some Mackerel around so I may venture out for a few casts for them this weekend is conditions stay calm. After that it will be a case of piking as and when work allows. The ever entertaining ‘Saudi John’ (misnomer as he works in UAE) is home this week so we may succeed in dragging him out for a few casts.

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