Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

Kynochs and other plugs

Flat calm on Lough Conn, no use for the fly so trolling is the best option on a day like this

A confession first, I don’t know much about Kynochs and their kin. You see they were never really part of my armoury when I fished in Scotland and they are far from common here in Ireland. I am becoming more interested in them now though as I seem to be doing more and more trolling each season. With less and less time available to fish every season I have to take whatever conditions are allotted to me, meaning I am confronted with days of flat calm and/or dazzling sunshine. Faced with hopeless weather for the fly, I need to be flexible and that’s when the trolling rods come out. ABU Toby’s are the first choice but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Kynoch should work too. With apologies to the stalwart harling men and women of the Tay, here is the little I know of these plugs.

This plug originated in USA back in the 1940’s and it was made of wood in the beginning. Somewhere along the line the Luhr Jensen company became involved and turned it into the plastic J plug. I don’t know how or when the plug crossed the Atlantic but Iain Kynoch a fisherman and and toolmaker picked up the lure and pretty soon the Kynoch Killer was born. Iain patented the lure and ABU of Sweden made the Kynoch Killer under licence between 1973 and 1976. I think I am right in saying that the moulds are still in hands of someone in Scotland.

This one can be dated fairly accurately

Another, very similar plug called the ‘Lucky Louis’, also hails from America. This is very similar in shape and size to the Kynoch. Then there is the Tomic. Around the same size, this one hails from Canada where it is used used for mooching on the great lakes and the western seaboard. And of course there is the Tay Lure itself. Same shape and design but this one runs deeper in the water.

Colours range from all gold, through silver and green to ruby red and include the famous pink and white variant. Tomics come in a wide range of often garish colours.

All of these plugs were designed for the same use, trolling or harling behind a boat. The quarry is usually salmon but pike and lake trout also fall for their charms. The concave face of these plugs forces the water over the top of them, pushing them down deep, important in the strong, deep flows of the lower Tay. I am hoping they will also run deep on Lough Conn and seek out salmon from lies which other lures are fishing too high above.

Lough Conn

I have been buying up a few of these plugs over the winter, some as good as new and others in varying states of disrepair. They seem to appear in sudden flashes on ebay. I don’t see any for weeks on end then there are lots to be had. Some are sold singly but it is common to see them offered for sale in wee batches of 4 or 6 plugs. This is a mixed blessing as you can quickly acquire a range of baits but very soon you find ‘repeats’ and you buy 6 baits when you only really want a couple of them.

Sizes of all these plugs range from 3 inches to just over 5 inches for the big Tomics. I have also bought a few larger examples with pike in mind. As I said, the condition of these lures varies greatly, some being unused while others appear to have been dredged from the bottom of the river before being offered for sale! I quite enjoy messing about with paints and brushes, so I have given a few of the more worn ones a new lease of life with vibrant colours. If you go on to Youtube and you can enter a world of super-artistic guys who make fabulous baits out of scraps of timber or by making their own moulds and casting plastic plugs then spraying them to amazingly high standards. I especially enjoy the handmade fisherman’s videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/paulpadam

While I am in complete awe of their abilities my own skills are somewhat lacking when it comes to fancy paintwork. I settle for some quick licks with a brush and some new hooks. I have also invested in a cheap second-hand air brush and will attempt to do a slightly more professional job when painting lures in the future.

This one definitely needs a lick of paint!

on the drying rack after getting a base coat of matt white (there are some devons getting the beauty treatment too)

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once the base coats are dry I can begin to build up the colours I want

I am planning of trying the pink version next season. I understand pink was (is?) a very popular colour on the Tay but I can’t say that I have used or even seen a pink plug fished on Lough Conn. I don’t see why a pink coloured lure wouldn’t work and maybe just the fact that it is something different could be in its favour. I have one pink Kynoch in the box ready for the 2018 season, so let’s hope it does the business in the spring.

The J Plugs are available in metallic finishes for those occasions when you really want to waken the fish up!

An ABU Kynoch after some cleaning up. This is the ‘trouty’ colour scheme

In terms of how to fish these plugs it seems to be fairly straight forward. A shortish rod sticking out the back of the boat, commonly referred too as the poker and an old reel that will hold enough 20 pound line will do. The Kynoch is then fished quite close to the boat, around 15 yards for example. This allows the lure to work in the turbulence created by the engine, adding to the crazy darting action it already demonstrates.

I will post some pics of the finished Kynochs once the paint jobs are done.

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Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, trolling

A day for sunbathing

Tried Lough Conn today but the conditions were hopeless. Flat calm and brilliant sunshine are the nadir to all Irish fishers and that was exactly what the weather Gods provided for us today. No signs of fly life beyond a solitary olive. No mayfly at all to be seen. A few very small trout rose in Pike bay and again off Massbrook but of the salmon there was no sign. Here are a few pics:

looking out across Conn from Pike Bay

A fellow fisher coming in after a fruitless session

Blue skies

With such terrible conditions we were forced to troll to have any chance of contacting a salmon. The sun burned and the wind remained resolutely meagre. Castlehill and Massbrook received our fondest attentions but to no avail.

Trolling rod out

An ancient Toby which got a swim today

A bit of dressing on the treble to give it some extra ‘bling’

We tried Toby spoons, Rapalas (9 and 5cm) and some other spoons from the bottom of the box but other than one suicidal 10 inch brownie we touched nothing all day.

The bottom

The bottom clearly seen in about 6 feet of water

A well earned mug of Cinnamon tea

With no fly life, very low water and settled weather forecast for the rest of this week I will hang up my waders until the rains come.

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Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

New plugs

In Galway yesterday so I dropped into the tackle shops to see if there was anything new. I came across a plug made by ABU Garcia called the Tormentor. I think this has been around for  while, it is just I hadn’t seen them until now. Jointed and unjointed are available so I invested in one of each.20161112_1258451

The only colours I found were silver/black, gold / orange and a lime green which looked OK for Pike but not for salmon. There may be other colours in the range so I will keep an eye out for them. The only sizes I saw in Galway were 11cm, fairly substantial baits! They are definitely available in smaller sizes too which could be useful for grilse.

When compared to a 11cm Rapala these Tormentors look like they have been on steroids. I suspect they will flash and reflect light much better than the normal Rapala which may be an advantage in murky water. Here is a link to the ABU Garcia youtube videos of the swimming action of these plugs:

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I also bought a Cormoran N35 Minnow. These are beautifully crafted plugs with amazingly detailed bodies. The one I bought is coloured like a baby Brown Trout. At only 7 grams it would be light to cast but I intend trolling it behind the boat so casting weight is not a concern. The makers claim this small plug (only 85mm long) swims at a depth of 1.5 metres, and that is just about the right level for most of the trolling I do on Lough Conn. Any deeper and you are plagued with snagging on the bottom.

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For now they will all have to reside in the lure box with the rest of my salmon plugs, tucked away in the tackle bag until next spring.

 

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