Posts Tagged ‘Coarse Fishing’

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.

Andrew goes Wild

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Irish anglers are lucky, having access to a plethora of venues where wild fish across a variety of species can still be caught. It was with great pleasure that, following a request for angling information, I introduced David Woods and his brother Andrew, who requires special needs assistance, to the wonderful River Barrow. Across from the UK on a short break, Andrew loves to fish and with their chosen accommodation close to St Mullins, one would be hard pressed to find a better wild fishery for an early summer coarse angling session.

UK coarse angler Andrew Woods with a fine River Barrow hybrid.

Possessing a great memory, very aware and capable but limited regarding mobility, Andrew needed help in particular with tackling and baiting up. Assessing the risks and applying a sensible approach it was decided to have a crack after the bream which frequent the fishery at this time of year. Feeder fishing the rising tide utilising red and white maggot along with castors for bait it wasn’t long before Andrew connected with a fine hybrid. A succession of beautiful red spotted trout followed accompanied by some large dace, a run of fish that prompted a return visit the following day.

Coarse fishing at St Mullins, Co. Carlow, baiting up.

Picking a more accessible swim on this occasion it wasn’t long before Andrew’s quiver tip commenced hopping, the culprits being dace and those beautifully marked trout. Other species to feature were roach and a few squirmy, slippery eels. St Mullins donned its best suit of clothes, the sun shone, Emer and Martin O ‘Brien’s Mullichain Cafe satisfied rumbling tummies and Andrew by his own admission had a great time with fish steadily coming to his rod.

Andrew Woods having a cracking time at St Mullins, Co. Carlow.

Having fished for smooth hounds off Bournemouth pier and caught sea trout on the Hampshire Avon, Andrew gives the nod towards wild as against managed venues every time. Yes there is a tad more planning and effort involved for the carers, but the returns, well they were palpable. I would like to thank David for getting in touch with me, enabling Andrew to experience wild Irish fishing was a joy. Tight lines to you both until we meet again……….

Tinca Time

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

The tench is a lusty fighter”, so wrote Geoffrey Bucknall in his 1966 published volume of fishing reminiscences FISHING DAYS. One of the first angling books that I possessed and still a favourite today, Bucknall’s narrative is quirky, full of historical anecdotes, and really brings to life his angling  journey from fishing roach ponds in the Weald of Kent during the summer of 1940 while Messerschmidt 109′s and Spitfires fought dogfights overhead, to casting a fly line on the great reservoirs of Chew and Blagdon.

A plump Irish tench tempted by maggot and sweetcorn.

Bucknall observes that the tench is a lover of shallow margins, muddy bottoms and weed beds where they grub around fanning the silt with their fins in search of food items, and that the fish hibernates for a large part of the year because it does not like the cold. That good tench swims catch the sun early so warming up the water which gets old tinca tinca on the feed and most importantly on being hooked they make a beeline for sanctuary amongst the nearest lily pads. Having hooked my first tench only a week ago, I can vouch that over a span of some 47 years G.B’s observations still hold true today.

Groundbait mix and red maggots for the feeder.

Setting up a feeder rig to six pound main line with a meter long tail to a size 12 hook, I baited with double maggot and sweetcorn then built up a swim close to a bed of lily pads. Within an hour line bites commenced before a more determined take resulted in a hook up and initial tench like run which at first made Mr. Bucknall a liar by heading for open water. However Mr tench quickly reverted to type cutting right before swimming at full belt into the weeds close to my pitch. Landing net extended the fish was unceremoniously lifted ashore.

A welcome perch.

On recasting bites became more frequent, not from tench however but perch. Small though they were the little predators hinted at possible larger fish and an extended season on this new water. Tench, perch, rudd, what awaits next a bloody great pike maybe, time will tell………..

See also: Tench from a New Water.

Oh, It’s a Big Goldfish!

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Planned for a number of weeks, boilies prepared, hair rigs at the ready, the major obstacle of college exams put to bed, David Murphy laid out his pitch on the shore of a secluded still water with one thing on his mind, catching his first carp. As dusk closed in on a balmy early June evening he fulfilled his dream.

Common carp from a secluded Irish stillwater.

Sucking in his popped up boilie, as the fish moved away bite alarm buzzing like a good thing David leaned into his rod to set the hook, in an instant raw power became manifest as his yet unseen adversary headed towards some lily pads. Drag set David hung on and the fish turned, after what seemed like an eternity but was only a few minutes the great fish slipped over the landing net rim, a fine common carp well into double figures, cue celebrations.

Summer pike from a small Irish water.

An earlier foray to clear his head during study time was rewarded with a nice double figure pike to a ledgered dead bait. With tench now in his sights a quality post exams hattrick is well on the cards, roll on the fine weather………

Tench from a New Water

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Gary’s quiver tip jumped ever so slightly, a single knock, could this be the moment. A minute passed, two pairs of eyes glued to the tension induced curve of the rod, mainline taught between tip and feeder. A double knock spurs Gary into action, rod in hand he leans back reeling hard to connect with the in swimming fish. Veering left his rod heels over hard, “that’s a tench Gary”. “Certainly feels like it Ash”, and so it proved to be. Three and a half hours into our exploratory session on a new water we hit pay dirt, a plump tench running close to four pound.

A four pound Irish tench for Gary Robinson.

Homework to include web research, Google maps, visiting a few potential sites, plus asking locals the right questions resulted in Gary and I preparing coarse fishing tackle for an 03.30am wake up call. Struggling out of bed, half an hour later car packed and fortified by strong coffee we set off. At 05.30am just as the sun was rising, mist wafting off the water, our first casts broke the surface thirty meters out. Utilising a 15 gram feeder every 60 seconds a bed of particle mix was laid down. After fifteen minutes the frequency was lengthened. Combining red maggot and sweetcorn on a size twelve hook to a one meter tail, perseverence and belief eventually paid off, a great moment.

Landing a fat Irish tench.

Affectionately called “tinca” the tench has a reputation for being a hard fighting fish, a lover of still waters and weed beds. They supposedly feed best at first and last light during summer time especially if it is warm and muggy, hence our early start. Although dry and bright a brisk west wind added a chill to proceedings. An hour after Gary’s success my rod gave a double knock, lifting, a thump thump transferred through the rod as tinca number two swam up through the gears, these fish are powerful scrapping all the way to the net.

A first tench for Ashley Hayden.

My first tench, becoming two an hour later, mission accomplished. Not a red letter session but highly successful nonetheless. Gary and I had set out to fish a strange water with a view to catching a tench and netted three. Part one of my planned June bank holiday double is in the bag, now for that beach caught tope………

See also: Royal Tench.

The Elusive Shad and other Stories

Monday, May 20th, 2013

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.

Darren Snidall displays a rare 2013 River Barrow shad.

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.

Leisurely sunday outside the Old Grain Store, St Mullins, Co. Carlow.

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.

Carlow Coarse Angling Club Chairman Gerry McStraw displays a nice wee trout.

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.

Shad fishing close to the Island at St Mullins, Co. Carlow.

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……….

Further reading: Shad Times at St Mullins.

 

Persistance Pays Down Barrow Way

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Success at fishing is all about being in the right place at the right time using the right bait, throw in a lot of luck coupled with a smidgen of persistence and you could have a winning formula. Over the May bank holiday weekend Paul Millea and Alastair Leong pushed that theory to the limit when chasing bream on the River Barrow. Setting up camp on Saturday afternoon the lads set to their task feeder fishing with a Barrow dustbin lid in mind, on Monday their persistence was eventually rewarded when a shoal of slabs finally entered their swim.

A brace of 4.lb plus River Barrow bream for persistant anglers Alastair Leong and Paul Millea.

Having met and enjoyed the lads company while fishing on Saturday it was nice to receive a positive report and accompanying images of their sojourn in south Co. Carlow. Hybrids were to the fore that day along with a couple of small bream, on Monday however the big mamas arrived.

Alastair Leong proudly displays a 4.lb 11.oz River Barrow bream.

At close of play the boys landed six bronze bream, with the best to Alastair running 4.lb 11.oz. With most fishing, be it sea, game, or coarse delayed by the recent prolonged cold snap, it is great to see things finally kicking off. The fishery Paul and Alastair enjoyed is special, combining all the disciplines including pike. Well done to the lads, continuing last Saturdays form with interest, now where did I put those maggots……?

See also: Bountiful Barrow.

 

Bountiful Barrow

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

May sunshine, a gentle breeze, a rising tide, camaraderie craic and banter, and nature finally throwing off its winter blanket. Yesterday the River  Barrow came to life, not firing on all cylinders but showing enough to fashion a wonderful afternoons fishing in that magical south County Carlow location where freshwater merges with salt, so creating a unique mixed fishery which every May explodes with abundance.

Duncan Cole with a 4.lb wild River Barrow brown trout caught and released.

It being the May weekend a number of specimen hunters lined the tow path, casting the preferred blue/silver Tazmanian Devil towards the far bank hoping to connect with an early shad. Again having traveled with bream in mind, I set up at my chosen swim shortly before the rising tide cleared the “scar” a quarter of a mile downstream. Casting out a 40 gram feeder at regular sixty second intervals bites came on within five minutes, however the pattern settled into slow/steady as against constant.

Ashley Hayden with a brace of River Barrow hybrids taken on red maggot.

Initially a few plump roach showed interest followed by a small trout and a dace or two. Close to high tide proceedings slowed, the water torpid and glass like. In unison with the ebb kicking off however my swim came to life, a bream and three hybrids taking my bait with confident abandon, wrap around bites being the order of the day.

Waterford angler Paul Millea with a River Barrow bream.

At this point I have to extend thanks to Waterford angler Paul Millea who kindly gave me some ground bait mix, enough for an extra hours fishing, which made all the difference. That’s the beauty of angling, you meet people for the first time and the connection through the shared hobby does the rest. Setting up a tent close by, Paul and his friend Alastair were down after bream and hybrids, and even if the fishing was slow they were still having the craic.

South African angler Alastair Leong sports a nice River Barrow hybrid.

Preparing to leave around five pm a commotion downstream had me running for my camera. Regular visitor from the north of Ireland Duncan Cole, while spinning for shad, had connected with a very sizable wild brownie. Netted after a spirited tussle, the four pound trout more than made up for the absence of Duncan’s primary target shad. “There’s always the next tide“, he quipped. I couldn’t agree more…….

See also: Persistence Pays Down Barrow Way.

Poaching Still Rife on Lower River Barrow

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Sadly, and with great frustration I have to report that illegal poaching of coarse fish is occurring yet again on the lower River Barrow. Maybe the practice never went away, with the perpetrators adjusting their action plans under pressure from water keepers and Fisheries staff to become more covert and discrete.  Who knows, one thing is certain however they are back and the evidence was very clear to yours truly yesterday evening while putting in a spot of feeder fishing at a favourite Co. Carlow venue. To make matters worse they couldn’t have been more brazen and their actions spoiled for this writer a very enjoyable and relaxing evening.

Feeder fishing on the lower River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Timing my arrival to fish a rising tide into dusk with bream and hybrids in mind, I set up a 40 gram feeder with a meter long tail to a size 14 kamazan. Baiting with four red maggot cast thirty meters into a still fast flowing river, letting the feeder settle then retrieving and refilling plugged with maggots every sixty seconds, by the forth cast bites commenced. First off a nice plump hybrid followed by a couple of equally plump roach. Large dace entered the swim for a while accompanied by an odd trout and as it got dark small flounder. Make no mistake this is some fishery which makes the latter part of this post all the more annoying.

A fine River Barrow dace.

Chatting to a lady walking the tow path she pointed to a passing car while asking, “does catch and release apply here“? Relative to species bye laws, I replied, but that most responsible anglers do tend to put fish back, especially the coarse fish. “Well I observed the occupants of that car fishing yesterday evening, she said, they were clearly filling a bucket with small silver fish”. Asking, were they Eastern European, the lady answered in the affirmative.

Not fifty meters up from me two more of our Eastern European brethren were setting up, a keep net nowhere to be seen, which is always a likely sign in my experience that fish will be kept. Finishing my session and all packed up around ten pm, it now black dark, I sauntered over towards the lads interested in how they were doing. “Are you catching guys?” “Small trout” came the dour monosyllabic response, the two blokes keeping their backs to me, not turning to engage. Flicking on my head lamp, right in the beam lying on the bank a big plump, full of spawn, dead roach. “So what’s that then?”

Of course you all know what follows, the usual excuses; we didn’t know, cannot speak English, etc, etc. Pointing out that circa 2013 I’d heard it all before and what they were uttering was garbage, that they well knew the rules, and given they were driving a 06 Wexford reg’ beamer, it was quite obvious that they had been in Ireland a while, so cut the crap. A few more expletives and home truths were proffered before I made my exit letting them know I had their reg and was going to forward it to the fisheries board.

A sad end to a grand day. The implications though for the fishery in question are serious and IFI and Waterways Ireland really need to get their act together on this sinister development, lack of funding and staff shortages being no excuse for real action. A good start would be to contact the local community and set up an education programme while also empowering local water keepers. Please get on the case and feel free to contact this soldier too, I’m happy to put my two pence halfpenny in the mix…….