Posts Tagged ‘Carlow’

Tail Walking at Dawn

Sunday, May 9th, 2021

Hard to believe that it has been eight years since I last made the early morning trip to St Mullins, Co. Carlow with shad in mind. Cousins of both herring and tarpon, this anadromous species (born in freshwater, lives and grows in seawater, spawns in freshwater) enters the river Barrow over the first and second spring tides of May to spawn below the weir upstream of St Mullins.

Setting the alarm for I arrived just as light was beginning to show about more or less bang on high tide. A neap tide in between the two springs the bush telegraph had told me there were fish in the river albeit in ones and twos the previous week being unseasonably cold with ground frosts every morning. That said, a few lucky anglers had made contact with the main shoal over the week which resulted in catches of 30 – 60 fish over a session, all catch and release.

Setting up a seven foot light spinning rod, reel loaded with six pound nylon attached to a 13 gram blue/silver tazmanian devil I walked up the tow path a wee bit and cast towards the far bank. It being high tide I let the lure sink before engaging the reel and applying a quick slow retrieve. A fisher upstream landed a fish about an hour in, by now the tide was starting to fall. The water was crystal clear so I could observe my lure as it came into view a few metres out.

I cast and retrieve for the umpteenth time, a bump simultaneously pulls the rod tip over but no connection. There is something out there showing interest. Another cast, another bump. I cast again, let the lure sink and begin retrieving, bang fish on, skittering left and right then up on its tail, a few more dashes then in the net, wet hands, hook out and release. No messing these fish are fragile and do not survive long out of water. Next cast a shad follows and turns away at the bank, a brief flurry of action peters out. It is now and I am hungry. With a good number of anglers now arriving I up sticks but already have a plan for next weekend when a big spring tide will find me yet again on the bank at dawn………….

Coarse Fishing In Ireland, River Barrow Bream.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Deciding to go fishing at the last minute, especially on a Sunday morning, does not always work out. Contacting Gerry McStraw of Carlow Coarse Angling Supplies for bait and getting no reply established one thing, he’s gone fishing. The assumption proved right as Waterford and District Coarse Angling Club in conjunction with Waterways Ireland were holding a competition on a famous stretch of the  River Barrow, in which Gerry and the Carlow Club members were competing.

A brace of River Barrow bream, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

The sun was splitting the stones, and with air temperatures touching 20 degrees one would have assumed that fishing was going to be tough. For some members it was, but depending on the peg drawn some quality fishing did materialise. Bream were in evidence up to and over four pounds weight. On its day and even better at night this particular stretch can shine, last Sunday the 10th April was no exception with 50.lbs needed to win the event.

Carlow Coarse Angling Supplies Gerry McStraw with a fine River Barrow, Ireland, bream.

The pictures say it all and there is no doubt that later in the week I will be giving Gerry a call for some red maggots and the recipe to his special ground bait mix. The south east of Ireland can produce coarse fishing equal to any in the country, and there are no better ambassadors then the progressive committee and members of Carlow Coarse Angling Club. Keep up the good work….

Images courtesy of Gerry McStraw and Miroslav Svajlenin.

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