Archive for November, 2010

Hack Out in the Snow

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Four days snowed in, the lane outside is a sheet of glass. Three times in one year, will definitely be purchasing wheel chains. Meanwhile, to make the most of this early winter wonderland there is nothing like a good ride in the woods.

Mandy astride Dixie, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Plenty of trees down to jump.

Dixie jumping a fallen tree, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Getting rid of the cobwebs.

Dixie and Mandy cantering, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Practicing for the hunt.

Stretching out, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Would you really consider developing a hard rock quarry here?

Heading home, Carrig Wood, Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

November Snow at Ballythomas

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Nine years living in north county Wexford and in the space of eleven months we have been snowed in three times, so much for global warming. It is unusual in Ireland to get snow in November, I have only experienced it two or three times in my life. Tonight, Sunday November 28th, 2010 the temperature is to drop to minus 10, brrrrr!

Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland, November 2010.

No fishing for the next few days, a few hikes in the forest and nights in by the fire. Plenty of supplies so bring it on.

Looking west towards Tinahely, Snow at Ballythomas, Co. Wexford, Ireland, November 2010.

Huddling up for warmth.

Livestock at Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland, November 2010.

A partial thaw.

Snow at Ballythomas Hill, Co. Wexford, Ireland, November 2010.

River Barrow in Winter

Friday, November 26th, 2010

The River Barrow is a wonderful resource that I am only beginning to get to know. A great mixed fishery with large stocks of coarse fish, a run of  migratory salmon, the elusive shad, and quality wild trout fishing. The Barrow is navigable from St Mullins 65 kilometers upstream to Athy, and beyond to Monesterevin in Co. Kildare. A series of 23 canals and locks aiding circumnavigation of shallow stretches along its length.

River Barrow below Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny.

Dace, roach, rudd, bream, hybrids, and perch are the main coarse species along with pike, the latter of which reach specimen size. Over the course of this winter and into the spring I hope to unlock some of the Barrow’s secrets, hopefully catching both a large perch and a good pike into the bargain if the fishing gods are kind.

River Barrow at Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow

A piking/reconnaissance trip yesterday provided much needed information but no fish. The locks and canals would appear to be the key providing fish with shelter from the main flow particularly in times of flood. Marinas such as the one at Leighlinbridge and the facility at Athy are another source of refuge for resident fish populations and are therefore worth considering also. That said they are obvious locations to target fish and so will be frequently visited.

The old mill at Levittstown, Co. Kildare.

Far better to get off the beaten track, either walk the towpaths or fish from a boat. Looked at objectively th

Fish Fight

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The Irish Sea has lost 90% of its cod stock due primarily to commercial overfishing and the wasteful practice of discards. The worst offenders regarding discards are “Dublin Bay Prawn” Nephrops trawlers where the percentage of discarded marine life can top 50%+ of the overall catch.

Trawlers in harbour, Castletownbere, Co. Cork, Ireland.

BIM will say that there is a ban on cod fishing in the Irish Sea, however immature codling, whiting, slip sole, plaice, and a host of other key species are being hoovered up and dumped on a daily basis due to the wasteful practice of discarding, so limiting further necessary recruitment of juvenile stock.

A campaign to lobby against the practice of discards at sea has been set in train by River Cottage main man Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. To register your vote please log on to Fish Fight and further the cause for sustainable fishing and a rejuvenated and bio-diverse marine environment.

Click on: Marine Conservation

Specimen Flounder from the South East

Monday, November 15th, 2010

They just keep coming, 9.ozs of specimen county Wexford flounder for Mick Doyle of the Greystones Ridge Sea Angling Club. A planned weekend session after the lunker flatties came right for Gerry Mitchell and Mick with a haul of five good flounder. Peeler and lugworm were the key baits and a definite pattern is forming regarding the stage of tide when these monster flatfish start to feed.

Michael Doyle of the GRAC with a 9.oz specimen Wexford flounder.

A perfect day for flounder fishing, frosty with only a light breeze. The cold slows down the activity of crab making hook baits last that bit longer so giving the flounder an opportunity to home in. Utilising flowing beaded traces which appeal to the inquisitive nature of flounder, it was not until late afternoon that the flounder started to bite.

Peeler crab, the top flounder bait.

In a flurry of activity the flounder came on with Mick landing the biggie to no surprise. Some people have a fish magnet built in and Mick Doyle has the gift, if there was anyone going to catch a specimen yesterday it was he. That is two specimens in one week from a cracking venue, they will not be the last. Practice catch and release.

Estuary Fun in Co. Wexford.

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Late autumn and early winter is the time to target estuary flounder as they pack on weight prior to their annual spawning migration. The estuaries, pills, and salt marshes of south Wexford are home to some of the biggest flounder in Ireland, holding the current Irish record and producing specimens on a regular basis. My first session after these lunker flatties coincided with a four meter tide and a hurricane warning. The day however dawned frosty and calm with blue skies and a light south westerly, that was to change though as the afternoon progressed.

Paul Roche from Wexford holding a nice estuary bass.

On arrival at the venue around 10.00am I met a local angler Paul Roche fishing with his nephew. The ebb tide still had two hours to run and the men had been busy. A nice bass and a flounder graced the bank providing plenty to talk about. Caught on peeler crab Paul proceeded to discuss the venue, fishing hot spots, and the virtues of fishing crab over worm when it comes to targeting the humble fluke. Armed only with lugworm, not living near any crab collecting area, a deal was done and I walked to my chosen spot a dozen peelers to the better. Setting up two rods rigged with flowing traces baited with lug and half a crab on each hook I cast thirty meters in to the ebbing tide.

A big estuary flounder from a south county Wexford estuary, Ireland.

No sooner had the grips settled then there was a distinctive rattle on the first rod followed by a slack line which quickly straightened in the current. The tip bobbed rhythmically as the fish flapped downstream before settling. Casting out the second rod I lifted the first and proceeded to reel in what felt like a good sized flat fish. Sure enough a few kicks and splashes at the edge were the give away before a large flounder slid up the bank. Two pounds plus and not far off a specimen, great start. A lean on rod number two signaled further interest. You do not have to hurry these fish, so a quick release of catch number one before dealing with its companion. A minute later flounder number two flapped clear of the tide line. Equally impressive this was some fishing.

Two pound plus county Wexford, Ireland, flounder taken on peeler crab.

A further two flounder were landed before things went quite as the current slowed on low water. Three of the four were lured by a combination of lugworm and peeler, with the forth on straight lugworm. The wind by now had backed around to the north west, turned cold and strengthened pushing heavy showers in its path. As the flood kicked on it carried floating weed which wrapped around the line making fishing difficult. With no further bites other than a few baby coalfish I decided to call it a day. Four big flounder, three over two pound and the forth 1.5lbs+, not bad for an afternoon’s fishing in November.

See also: Floundering Around in Co. Wexford.