A planned trip to Leitrim after Tench had to be abandoned due to unforeseen circumstances. New to coarse fishing and with all the bait and equipment at hand the June bank holiday Sunday saw Gary and I setting up pitch beside the River Barrow close to Graiguenamanagh, Co. Carlow.
“Graigue” is situated in a beautiful location, on a bend on the Barrow River, overlooked by Mt Brandon to the south and the Blackstairs mountains to the east. After a rainy start which served to freshen things up, the sun made its presence felt. A festival day was cranking up in the water meadow at Tinnehinch, people were out and about, and the river was being well utilised by groups in kayaks, canoes, individual motor launches, and narrow boats.
The Barrow in this area holds stocks of bream, hybrids, roach, perch, dace, pike, and trout. A few miles upstream from St Mullins and fifteen minutes from the River Nore at Innistiogue, Co. Kilkenny, Graiguenamanagh is an excellent location to base a fishing holiday. The coarse fishing I am only learning about, but I have enjoyed many evenings casting a fly on the Nore for seatrout at Innistiogue, wild brownies at Thomastown, and of course the shad at St. Mullins.
Gary and I hoped to catch bream on the feeder. To that end Gary had been busy preparing particle mix to enhance the groundbait. Combined with sweetcorn, casters, hemp, crumb, various sweet smelling additives, and the hookbait “red maggot”,the intention was to create a swim by introducing groundbait through the swimfeeder. More or less filling the feeder with mix, casting out, waiting a minute, reeling in, filling up again and casting to the same spot. The tail, two foot of 4.lb flourocarbon attached to a size 14 hook baited with three red maggots is ledgered below the feeder. After about five casts immediate bites from dace started to occur.
For about two hours we enjoyed regular bites from dace, some close to or over specimen size, and roach. A beautifully spotted trout enlivened proceedings for Gary before everything went quite. The sun at this stage was splitting the stones, swallows were chasing flies, dipping and diving along the river, with air temperatures well in the twenties. Continuing fishing into the afternoon, adjusting tail length, feeder types, and hookbait resulted in the odd small dace showing an interest. With no bream or hybrid action for our efforts, a little after six pm we called it a day.
An enjoyable day none the less in wonderful surroundings. The bream were not in our section but they were about and feeding. A match close by was won with thirty three pounds of bream and hybrids, while eleven bream were in the keep net of two anglers not a mile away from us on the same stretch. Lessons have been learned though, and I will be back at the first opportunity to land my first Barrow bream.