Shad enter the three sisters river system in late April early May piggybacking on two sets of spring tides over a three to four week period. This year the main run has yet to materialise, probably down to our prolonged winter. Anglers however have been making their customary south east migration in anticipation of hooking up, but to date results have been more miss than hit.
St Mullins in early summer is a special place though even when the shad are delayed and Sunday May 19th was no exception. Anglers lined the towpath, fish rolled and jumped, families enjoyed a leisurely walk down to the Island, stopping off on their return for a coffee or something more substantial at the Mullachain cafe adjacent to the old boat slip, while foxes, herons, and a host of other wild life went about their business, wonderously observed.
Having taken a run down more for the air than to fish it was nice to meet up with Gerry McStraw, Ian Warburton, Neville, Tadelis, and Declan, stalwart members of the Carlow Coarse Angling club who do a great job protecting and promoting fishing along the River Barrow from Athy right down to St Mullins. Coarse fishing, the lads encountered a steady run of fat roach, dace, hybrid, bream, and trout. I didn’t get to taste one of Gerry’s spicy scotch eggs even though I was offered, silly me, there’s one thing for sure though those boys look after themselves and have the craic when their out on the river.
Taking a walk upstream casting a blue and silver Tazzie I happened upon a number of shad seekers fishing more in hope than with intent. Combining a spot of feeder fishing and shad searching Darren Snidall on cue banked a nice wee shad for the camera. Conversation, a feature of the day, surrounded the moment ranging from Newfoundland to Bell lake Waterford, such is the way with fishers.
There is an affinity which goes beyond hooks, lines, and sinkers, an ice breaker common to anglers. On Sunday May 19th it was the dearth of shad, “anything happening?”, the door is opened and before you know it an hour has flown by. Early summer in St Mullins recharges the tired winter batteries everytime, what a grand day……….