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.
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.
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.
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.
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.