Posts Tagged ‘Co. Carlow’

Coarse Fishing Tourism: Managed Access is the Key

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Of all the tourism angling/fishing products Ireland has to offer coarse fishing has the greatest potential to provide a serious return on investment, primarily because Ireland’s coarse fishing species to include pike are not exploited commercially for food and are therefore in waters where they reside abundant and growing to a large average size. The downside to this major selling point is ease of access to Ireland’s best coarse fishing swims while carrying the amount of tackle and bait necessary to enjoy a productive match or pleasure fishing session.

Landing a hybrid while coarse fishing the River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

The image above clearly shows the amount of gear an average coarse angler brings to the water, much more than can be carried without the aid of a pack horse. The best swims are never those that are immediately accessible from say car parks or bridges, most requiring a trudge along forest paths or over fields and ditches. Many out of the way prime swims though can be accessed by enabling managed vehicular access through upgrading/modifying existing rough tracks and walk ways.

A 3.5 lb River Barrow Hybrid and one happy coarse angler.

Thomas and I fished an out of the way section of the River Barrow yesterday and boy was access to the swim difficult and the return leg to my car a not looked forward to experience. Yes we caught some prime roach to a pound plus and hybrids to 3.5 lbs, however and we are fit, when the towpath was reached we set up shop, being too knackered to go any further.

Having co-authored and driven with Dick Caplice chairman of the Irish Anglers Development Alliance the hugely successful managed vehicular access coarse fishing infrastructure on Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan and presented an adapted plan to modify sections of towpath along the River Barrow for managed vehicular access back in 2014 to Tourism, Enterprise and Co. Council decision makers in Co. Carlow with zero response it begs the question. When it comes to developing an innovative and commercially viable tourism product has official Ireland employed the best people available………………….?

Barrow Bonanza Match, 22/08/2015, Day One Results

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

The River Barrow up stream of Carlow Town flowed slow and clear, an odd dace could be seen topping and if one peered hard into the peat stained water fry could be seen flitting and darting amongst the weed beds. All the hard work in setting up the Barrow Bonanza coarse fishing match by the Naas & District Angling Club had most certainly paid off as 42 match anglers lined up on two stretches of the Barrow between Carlow Town and Athy, “Knockbeg and Maganey”, to compete for the guaranteed €1000.00 first prize.

World Coarse Fishing Pairs Champion Phillip Jackson fishes the River Barrow, Co. Carlow.

Tubs of maggots dyed in various colours, sweetcorn, hemp, chopped worm, buckets of ground bait and an arsenal of ready to use fishing rods/reels, poles and whips surrounded each competitor as they settled down for the five hour competition first leg to commence at 12.30 pm with lines up at 17.30 pm. Tactics given the  conditions, overcast grey, muggy with little or no breeze appeared to be feed little and often utilising variations in casting length, bait type and presentation.

Padraig O'Riordan fishing the Barrow Bonanza 2015 Match with an average roach.

Those fishing the Knockbeg section to include World Pairs Champion Phillip Jackson and Irish Junior Champion Michael Kelly definitely worked hard for any success that they got. Small dace made up the bulk of anglers catches however on the lower pegs a few roach and hybrids bulked up competitor Padraig O’Riordan’s 2.28 kilogram haul while in mid section Andrius Simbelis concentrated on perch to record a 4.26 kilogram first day section win.

Match angler Gary Quayle displays a River Barrow dace.

Special mention must go to all the Naas & District Coarse Angling Club membership led by Paul McLaughlin and Padraig O’Riordan for their tremendous effort in planning and organising the Barrow Bonanza event, you would not believe the amount of work that is involved from canvassing sponsors to clearing bank side pegs. In so doing the club have showcased what is a wonderful and healthy riverine coarse fishery.

Today Sunday 23/08/2015 as I write the rain is teeming down and with little or no wind competitors will be settling down for another five hours concentrated fishing. Mark Leonard holds what could well be an unassailable lead however in match fishing you never know who could come up on the rails, so in short there is still a lot to play for on day two.

Competing at the Barrow Bonanza 2015 Coarse Angling Match, River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Top 10 weights posted on day one of the Barrow Bonanza 2015 Coarse Angling match fished on the Knockbeg and Maganey stretches between Carlow Town and Athy were as follows.

Mark Leonard 14.100 kg
Cathal Hughes 4.590
Andrius Simbelis 4.260
Kevin Hodson 4.080
Ollie Doyle 3.140
David Mc Neice 2.850
Christy Moore 2.770
Brendan Collins 2.710
Chris Moore 2.230
Padraig O’ Riordan 2.280

 

Barrow Bonanza Coarse Angling Competition, 22nd – 23rd August 2015.

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

Barrow Bonanza Coarse Angling Competition, 22 - 23 August 2015, Carlow Town Area

Naas and District Anglers are delighted to announce Ireland’s richest RIVER FESTIVAL. In association with Waterways Ireland we bring you the BARROW BONANZA, to be held on the 22nd and 23rd of August 2015 on stretches of the River Barrow close to Carlow Town (match stretches to be announced).

First prize is a guaranteed €1000.00.

Entry is €60.00 per angler and the event is limited to 50 anglers subdivided into 2 x 25 person sections rotated on day 2.

Based on full entry payout will be as follows:

  • €1000.00 first prize (guaranteed irrespective of entry).
  • €750.00 second prize.
  • €500.00 third prize.
  • €300.00 fourth prize.
  • €200.00 fifth prize.
  • 5 man sections paid out daily. ( €50.00 euro per section)

The winners will be decided on overall weight.

No dip No draw.

An optional super pool of €30.00 paid out evenly on day 1, day 2 and overall. (Pay out entry dependent)

Please book via PM or text or call numbers on poster.

VERY IMPORTANT as spaces are limited if you book in you are committing to the event and not turning up on the day or at short notice will affect anglers on the waiting list and impact on the prize pool. With the added sponsorship we expect this event to sell out so please don’t book unless you can come.

 

Coarse Fishing in Ireland: Exploring New Waters

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Exploring new waters besides enabling one to progress as an angler can also be good fun. Yes for sure a lot of time, effort and money will be invested in an exercise which at first glance may not deliver much in return, however in the medium to long term the picture can become much more clear as all knowledge gained, either positive or negative, is good knowledge. On that basis one should get into the moment and appreciate that for all the planning which goes into a reconnaissance fishing session it could still be hit or miss, therefore by lowering ones expectations and just enjoying the time spent casting a line if fish materialise they become a bonus, either way you win.

The River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

To date 2015 has been a year of exploration, generating much aesthetic satisfaction, networking opportunities and fishery information with little in the way of decent fish. That said, we only learn from adversity and to that end a lot of positive information has been gleaned which will be put to productive use in the months to come. Also, there have been some interesting encounters and observations along the way, in particular a couple of close encounters with pike, of which more later.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: Perch.

This season tench have been hard to come by, conversations with a number of experienced coarse anglers putting their scarcity down to a very cold spring epitomised by frosty mornings into late May. A session on a new water last weekend after old “tinca” resulted in another blank apart from small rudd and perch to float fished maggot/sweetcorn combinations. Tench were definitely present as both David and I observed our swim fizzing like crazy and our floats being bumped rather than pulled, however they were not taking. Conversation with a local angler confirmed that our approach was fine, it was just that the tench had not started playing ball this season for whatever reason.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: Rudd.

Were there positives from the trip, absolutely, it was a nice day out on an obviously productive water, David and I gained very useful advice from a couple of welcoming people and we know for certain that the fishery delivers specimen tench to eight pound. As Arnie would say, “I’ll be back”.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: Tackle and bait requirements.

Turning towards the River Barrow, a life span is too short a time period within which to learn all its secrets. To confuse things further this writer both coarse and game fishes so to maximise ones knowledge of the river involves a lot of disciplined thinking. Season 2015 so far has been about assessing the Barrow’s coarse fishing potential, utilising Google maps, asking questions and trialing different stretches. Returns have been predominantly small dace but that is not a bad thing, a pattern is emerging, the Barrow is a fine coarse fishery along its length but this quality is confined to certain stretches. To expand, based on my experience and observations the Barrow has untold “latent” potential as a mixed fishery, it just needs a visionary to unlock it.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: River Barrow, waiting for that bite.

With that aim in mind within the last month while coarse fishing the Barrow I’ve connected with two big pike in the process losing both due to lack of wire. The first encounter lasted about four minutes whence old esox ran up, down and across my swim before escaping, the second heaved my feeder rod over into a hoop while engulfing a hooked dace. While sitting on my seat box I’ve observed salmon jumping and tempted a few nice trout on the couple of occasions that I fly fished the streamy waters. Fishing is not just about catching big fish, it is also about putting oneself in the frame to catch big fish. One has to speculate to accumulate, the fruits of my efforts will be rewarded of that I am certain……….

 

River Barrow: Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Fishing Competition 2015

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

The annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015 for people with disabilities kick started the Bagnelstown Summer Festival in style last Friday 17/07/2015. The event is held on the River Barrow upstream of Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow on a section of towpath modified for wheelchair accessibility, the brain child of local keen angler Michael Lyons Snr, who was sadly deceased before he could see his idea become a reality. Today his son Michael aided by a host of volunteers ensures that this wonderful piece of social infrastructure is utilised as was intended while also celebrating the memory and traditions of his late father.

Micheal Lyons Jnr who runs the annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Fishing match for people with disabilities, Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Blessed with bright sunshine tempered with an odd shower, well it is Ireland, 22 volunteers helped organise the eventual 45 competitors and their respective carers who traveled from far and wide to their respective pegs. Accents from Cork, Tipperary and Donegal filled the air, a gang from the Central Remedial Clinic, Dublin made their annual visit by train no less, they must have left early, as did competitors from the Ardeen (Wicklow) and Tullow (Carlow) Cheshire Homes. Smiling faces lined the bank, banter flowed and at 12 noon proceedings commenced.

The annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015, Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow.

Held annually since 2002 the event is sponsored by many groups and organisations to include the Bagnelstown Summer Festival Committee, Bagnesltown Resource Centre, the Irish Wheelchair Association, Waterways Ireland and Access Printing. All competitors get a medal for taking part with trophies being awarded for first, second and third. A raffle completes the day and based on what yours truly witnessed everyone would appear to get a raffle prize too, there were so many the tow path resembled a cuddly toy factory.

Orla Keating, winner of the 2015 Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015.

At lines up a clear winner emerged with eight year old Orla Keating fishing her socks off to take first prize with a fine catch of 35 dace, nudging last years winner Billy Black into a creditable second place. Billy for the record also weighed in with a grand haul of dace.

Billy Black fishing his way to second place in the annual Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition 2015.

Events such as the Mick Lyons Memorial are a celebration of inclusiveness that modern society can be proud of, the prize giving being testament. Micheal Lyons Jnr, his family and friends and members of the Bagnesltown Festival Committee to include chairman James Lakes awarded and shared out prizes while thanking all those who attended and donated so making the event a total success.

The Mick Lyons Memorial Coarse Angling Competition Winner 2015.

It only remained then to award young Orla Keating with the Mick Lyons Memorial Perpetual Cup for 2015 and most importantly her hard won trophy. Does not her smile say it all, God bless your vision Michael Lyons………

Fly Fishing in Ireland: Tail Water Trout

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Line shot out turning over enabling team greenwell’s, a glory on the point covered by his batman spider on dropper, to enter the slacker eddy sandwiched between far bank and mid stream gut. Instinctively throwing an up stream mend I wasn’t expecting the savage take and leaping zig zagging yellow blur that captured all my senses over the ensuing twenty seconds. Pull leap, shuddering run leap, dive leap, into the fast water zzzzzzz line given, reposition myself down and sideways right, now back in control. For another couple of minutes fish and I played then safely over the rim now lying in the meshes, fat yellow bellied, black and red spotted, nestled a fine River Barrow trout running half to three quarters of a pound.

Wild brown trout from the River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Firmly hooked in the scissors applying wet hands I carefully extracted the greenwell’s glory, then facing trout’s head upstream cradled the fish until it revived, kicked and swam indignantly off. Gathering myself I waded towards the mid stream gut recast and instantly wallop I’m in again, this time not so lucky as trout and I parted after thirty seconds. Now most likely disturbed the fish holding pocket became silent, a few more casts and I moved on.

Fly fishing on the River Barrow, County Carlow, Ireland.

More noted for coarse fishing the River Barrow, especially in the streamy tail waters downstream of its weirs provides some quality wild trout fishing. Only picking at it over recent years, my experience wet fly fishing has been consistent catches of trout averaging half a pound, not many in any given session, usually a brace, but enough quality to make each trip worthwhile. Boat fishing I believe could up the ante, enabling more water and inaccessible places to be covered, of which more later.

Tail water below a weir, River Barrow, Ireland.

Fishing on until about one o’clock, hunger pangs took over directing yours truly to slowly wend my way bankside upstream towards ultimately the Step House Hotel in Borris, Co. Carlow to devour a bowl of chef Alan Foley’s scrumptious pumpkin soup topped with Parmesan shavings accompanied by a trio of home made bread, all washed down with a creamy pint of Uncle Arthur. Now that’s what I call fishing…………

Bream Catcher

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Compensating for the strong north west breeze I cast my forty gram feeder slightly to the right in order to have it splash land right in front of me two thirds of the way across what is a wide section of the River Barrow, Ireland’s second longest waterway after the mighty River Shannon. Targeting bream, a size 16 hook baited with four red maggot comprised the business end of a two foot long fluorocarbon tail. Feeding with a mix of crumb, Sensas red magic additive, sweetcorn, hemp seed and 10% horse mix, it was not long before dace accompanied by a few brown trout entered the swim.

Coarse fishing in Ireland for bream on the River Barrow, Co. Carlow.

Regular feeding kept the silvers interested on what was a sunny but chilly day. Bites were not constant instead coming in short five/ten minute bursts of activity with gaps of up to fifteen/twenty minutes in between. Only having four hours fishing time due to a previous arrangement, it was in the last half hour that things got interesting,  a heavier than normal double knock quickening the senses. Now waiting expectantly a second double knock was met with a firm upward sweep  resulting in a nicely curved rod and a heavy kicking sensation.

Playing a River Barrow bream, coarse fishing Co. Carlow, Ireland.

The bream used its broad flank to kite backwards and forwards across the current, however not known for their fighting abilities the fish was quickly brought to the net whence the reason why this species is sought after became apparent. Burnished bronze in colour its large scales reflecting the sunlight, even though weighing not more than 2.5 lbs the bream looked impressive resting in the landing net, a quick use of the disgorger and away.

Unhooking a bream, River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

With time for a couple more casts only, no sooner had my feeder rig touched bottom then a further double knock resulted in a repeat performance. A more spirited fight ended with a heavier bream running 3.5 lbs slipping over the landing net rim, a great end to what had been a busy four hour session……..

Drop Minnow for Perch

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Perch are a well known yet at the same time an unknown species, appreciated and yet unappreciated in equal measure. Striped tigers, residents of backwaters, marinas, underwater obstructions and the underside of moored boats, for a lot of us anglers they were probably our first fish caught, spiky, scaly, striking to look at and about three ounces in weight. For that is the enigma, most perch encountered being both prolific within the particular fishery and small, in short for seasoned anglers they become a nuisance. However, when the species grows to specimen size (1.2 kg or 2.6 lbs), it becomes highly sought after and a very welcome catch. The rub being, perch of this size are rare in Ireland, thus few people deliberately target them.

Dublin angler Owen Walsh displays a quality River Barrow perch.

Which is why observing Owen Walsh use a tried and trusted method for attracting a large fresh water predator, drop minnow, became an interesting exercise. Ledgering a “bottle caught” minnow close to a waterside obstruction Owen initially encountered a good fish only to have it drop the bait. Five minutes later a lusty scrap ended with his friend Mark netting a beautiful perch weighing a pound plus. Spiky, striped, red finned, belligerent and totally impressive, Owen’s smile said it all, a great catch.

The Perchfishers, published by Harper Fine Angling Books.

To cap the day, who should I stop and talk to only Dan Smith and Ken Garry, two of Ireland’s most committed perch fishers with a string of specimens after their names. The story of these firm friends can be read in chapter 10 of a cracking book published by Harper Fine Angling Books in 2011 called “The Biggest Fish of All” a collection of stories collated by the late Richard Chandaman of The Perch Fishers club. I challenge anyone not to seek out specimen perch after reading this book………

Pet Day on the Barrow

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

With maggots and ground bait left over from the previous session Monday lunchtime found me ensconced on a familiar bank casting towards a deep hole known to harbour bream and hybrids. Temperatures were in the high teens, the sun shone from a clear blue sky, swans cruised and a heron glided by broad wings outstretched, summer had come early. Bites were slow, very slow, but it was not the conditions I’ve had good bags from this location on many a bright warm day.

A River Barrow bream or hybrid, which is it?

 

One dace and two bream/hybrids over five hours fishing is a poor return, the amount of bites received in that period reflective of the catch, about six bites for three fish. The feeder was regularly filled and accurately placed, the tail length adjusted to suit the changing current, in short I fished hard. This venue normally produces lots of dace interspersed with a few roach, hybrids, bream and trout. Occasionally if one gets it right the bream/hybrids will really show however bites are always frequent especially from dace. There are flies in the ointment, they have two feet, employ two rods each and fish for the pot. I think you all know what I am driving at, this ongoing saga will continue until the authorities really take decisive action. A start would be to remove the “four fish rule” permanently, at least then there would be clarity and transparency, coarse fish are not for taking home. Is it really that hard to legislate correctly?

Feeding the Barrow

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Last Friday 17th April while feeder fishing the River Barrow at St Mullins I had the pleasure of meeting and fishing alongside a kindred spirit, his name Thomas Cosgrave, like myself  born in England of Irish emigrants who traveled over in the 1950′s, Thomas had recently taken early retirement and decided to move lock stock and barrel back to the old sod.

Thomas Cosgrave feeder fishing the River Barrow at St Mullins.

A competent angler Thomas surprisingly stated that although he has no regrets about retiring to Ireland he does miss the coarse fishing that he enjoyed in England citing that his coarse fishing experience on the River Barrow does not match up to the Irish fisheries board marketing blurb. With historical experience of fishing the river during holiday visits he categorically states that the bream/hybrid fishing has seriously declined with one very visible cause, predation emanating from within the eastern European community.

Playing a roach on feeder gear at St Mullins, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

That said, we had a fine afternoon casting into a rising tide catching dace, a few plump roach and an odd trout tempted by four red maggot. Fishing eased over the top of the tide as is my experience and we called it a day round about six bells. The large bream and hybrids were marked absent which should not be given the time of year, the mild winter and the fact that Irish people do not eat coarse fish.

On the positive side Thomas and I exchanged numbers and we will definitely fish together again very soon, the local tench population had better watch out.