Fine Weather & Fine Fish

The dry summer has continued into August in the South East with high temperatures and little rain.  This fine weather is great for the beach etc but can make for some very tough fishing conditions . . . . tough but not impossible.  On the trout front the rivers have been down to their bones.  Still there was a rise in the evenings and this also included a rise of seatrout, particularly on the Munster Blackwater.  The opportunity to catch seatrout on light tippet and small dries was not to be missed and casting pupil Peter and I had some superb fishing.

Blackwater Seatrout

Blackwater Seatrout

Lovely Wild Brown trout

Lovely Wild Brown trout

Most of our productive bass fishing had been by night using soft plastics but the tides were springing this week and the brisk wind from the land was making a nice disturbance on the water.  This allowed for some decent lure fishing during the evenings.

Bass over 50cm

Bass over 50cm

Soft plastics continued to work well fooling some fine sea bass.

Bass over 60cm

Bass over 60cm

Salmon fishing had been really difficult.  A few fish were laded in the lower Suir on fly in the early mornings but it was very difficult.  The Blackwater was a similar story.  Regular visitor Brian had one nice 10lbr on spinning tackle from the tidal waters but nothing on fly on this occasion.

10lb salmon

10lb salmon

The Suir rose by 1ft on Sunday which gives very good salmon fly fishing prospects in the lower river for the coming days.

Fizzin!!!

Bass lure anglers know that when you get a bit of fizz in the water a lot of good rock marks tend to produce fish.  Today was the first day in a while where the water seemed to have the little bit of life to it and I was feeling confident of some bass.

That fizz we were waiting for!

That fizz we were waiting for!

I was joined on a short lure fishing session by Ian who is new to some of the lure techniques I have been using but was keen to learn.  I had landed three nice bass of around 60cm when Ian arrived at the mark.

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However, it didn’t take him long to get in on the action and he picked up on the methods very quickly.  We had quite a few takes and landed some lovely fish in in the 55cm to 60cm range.

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Remember to practice catch and release on these slow growing fish and you could also consider taking part in Inland Fisheries Ireland scale sampling project.

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Superb Bass Fishing

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The brilliant summer weather was making bass fishing tough during the day but night fishing was superb last weekend and at the beginning of the week.  The two guys that were fishing with me had some super sport on soft plastics with lots and lots of takes from fish in the 2.5lb to 3.5lb range.

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If you have never tried night time bass fishing with lures you have been missing out as it is truly awesome when conditions suit.  However, make sure to take all the necessary safety precautions if you intend on doing some night fishing.

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Brian from Tyrone visited Waterford on Tuesday and Wednesday and having had a large bass on his last visit he was keen to try to replicate his feat this time around. Day time sessions were difficult but perseverance was rewarded and Brian had a cracking fish on Tuesday along with some smaller ones.  He also was unlucky to lose a another large fish on Tuesday night.  On Wednesday it was more of the same although there was quite a bit of floating weed on the surface of the water.  Again the fishing was excellent and we several nice bass.

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Overall it was a great start to the week.  The weather has broken now and the wind is up. That said, I expect there will be a window in the next few days where we might just get that magical “fizz” in the water and prospects for more large predators are looking good.

Night Fishing for Seatrout

It is that time of year when the numbers of seatrout in our rivers begins to increase.  The early runs of large fish begin to get fewer and the large runs of juniors or “blueheads” as they are known in my area, begin to make their appearance.  In addition although the recent heat wave weather we have had may not be great for salmon and trout fishing it is ideal for night fishing for seatrout.

A junior goes back

A junior goes back

As regards preparation nothing beats being well organised for seatrout night fishing.  Here is a quick checklist of items I normally take with me in my wading vest – fly boxes, leader, sink tips, torch, spare torch and batteries, scissor-forceps, landing net, mobile phone, waterproof phone pouch, camera, fishing license, insect repellent.  Ideally I will walk the river during the day to see where fish are holding and identify areas I am likely to fish at night.

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The rivers I fish for seatrout are small and a short rod is ideal.  Mostly I use a 7ft 6in 6wt but anything up to a 9ft 6wt will work.  A floating line is fine but I always carry a few short sinking tips in various densities as I may need them for fishing deep pools late at night.  On the business end I use a strong stiff flourocarbon leader of about 10lbs breaking strain.  My aim here is to avoid tangles as much as possible – you won’t spot them easily in the dark.  Having a few leaders made up in advance can save time and hassle later at night.

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Fly choice can be something of a personal thing amongst sea trout anglers but here are a few I wouldn’t be without – black pennell, teal blue and silver, butcher, dunkeld, alexandra, surface lure, medicine, mallard & claret and peter ross.  Most of my flies are tied on standard wet fly hooks in size 10 and 8 but I also tie some on low water salmon hooks, especially hairwings.  Our local rivers are single hook only so I don’t use doubles, tandems or secret weapons anymore.

Peter Ross

Peter Ross

As regards the fishing itself I aim to be at the river at least 30 minutes before I will be fishing.  I like to have a good look around to see if there is any fish activity and to get my bearings as to where I will be fishing.  If my advice is worth anything then whatever you do wait until it is dark enough to make your first cast.  Starting too soon must be the biggest mistake and most common mistake made by seatrout anglers.  I don’t worry about the clock, or bats or anything else.  Pick a spot on the far bank.  When you cannot really make it out any longer then it is time to start fishing.  This simple approach has served me well for about 30 years now!

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Start your fishing at the head of the pool if you can.  Fish tend to hang here at dusk.  Then make your way to the tail of the pool.  If fish are moving in the darkness they will pause after entering the pool – a great taking spot.  Late at night the deep middle of the pool can be your best option.  You may need to fish with a sink tip and a heavier fly here.  It is always worth using a surface fly late at night.  On moonlit nights it is a great idea to face the moon and fish the darker areas, keeping your own silhouette off the water.  Vary your retrieve during the night.  A great general rule is to fish a quick retrieve early on and a slower retrieve later at night.

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I could keep on with more pointers but hopefully you get the idea by now.  However, remember to take your phone with you and let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back.  It is best not to fish alone at night if you can help it, especially if you might be wading.  Never shine your light directly on the water but always have a good torch with you and a spare.  Remember our seatrout are not as plentiful as they once were so practice as much catch and release as possible.  Tight lines!

Monsters on the Move

The MONSTER Waterford browns have been active in the last two weeks. We have had some cracking sessions on both Carrigavantry and Knockaderry. With the warmer weather hatches have increased resulting in good surface activity on the calmer days. Expect to see black and grey buzzers hatching on the mild calm days and lake olives on the less pleasant days. The first of the damsel nymphs are also making an appearance on the trouts diet. On my last trip to Knockaderry I had some fine brown trout on both wet fly and on buzzer.

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Carrigavantry also fished very well to light buzzers and dries. I had two days there recently taking Kuba and Martin out on different occassions. Kuba managed some lovely browns on his trip.

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Martin and I landed a mixture of rainbows and browns on dry flies when I took him out.

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2013 – A Review – Part 2

May

By May the fly fishing season had really taken off.  Another trip to Lough Corrib for the Mayfly (although this was a bit patchy) produced some nice trout.

Corrib brace

Corrib brace

Fishing Awareness Day took place at Carrigavantry Reservoir.  Days like this are really important to get youth into our sport.

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A highlight of the day was the entomology workshop by Willie and Martin.

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And the Waterford Reservoirs continued to produce quality trout to buzzers.

June

It was a case of more of the same in June with the arrival of:

Good hatches on the Suir and its tributaries.

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Grilse and seatrout in the Munster Blackwater.

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And Bass (and bass anglers!) in Dungarvan Harbour

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July

In July the reservoir trout turned their attention to Caddis.

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I took part in the Charity Open Day at Ballyduff Bridge that raised a lot of money for the Crumlin Childrens Hospital.

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And helped out a few other associations with casting demonstrations on the Blackwater and Slayney.  It was around this time that I decided to establish Game Fishing Ireland as a an independent local business guiding anglers in the area for:

trout

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salmon

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and sea bass.

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August

August was a busy month with tuition and guiding starting to take off.

I stocked up on some saltwater flies.

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And the bass fishing was tough but rewarding.

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Bassing it up this weekend

Went bass fishing with Mike yesterday and we had a great session.  We started off with weighted soft plastics in about 25ft of water.  I had a few on a worm in a deep channel on the coming tide.

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We moved about a bit at high tide and Mike had a few beauties on a Feed Shallow plug and I smashed a few on a IMA Hound.

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Just before we finished up Mike had another on the Feed and I nailed a smaller but pretty fish on an IMA Sasuke.

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