Posts Tagged ‘Hybrids’

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, River Barrow at St Mullins.

Monday, May 30th, 2011

A month ago in the heat of April St Mullins was alive with bream and hybrids, today in late May Gary and I struggled. With high water at 16.00pm, Gary’s particle mix, red maggots courtesy of Carlow Coarse Angling Supplies, “thanks for the ice pops Gerry“, we were confident of bagging up. The day was dry with a strong chilly breeze from the west, having chosen our swim we commenced fishing about 11.00am. Employing a 30 gram open ended feeder and a size 14 hook to a two foot tail I built up the swim with about ten consecutive casts of ground bait before starting to fish.

Casting the feeder at St Mullins, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

A good bite early on resulted in a spirited fight from a three quarter pound brownie, a welcome fish but not what I was after. Gary like wise was connecting with trout, coarse fish being noticeable by their absence. Around 14.00 pm with the tide pushing over the scar, a set of rapids downstream of St Mullins, bites started to pick up. I connected briefly with a good fish before Gary landed a hybrid on four red maggots. We continued feeding regularly however for whatever reason the fish were not playing ball. By 16.00pm with only a few roach and hybrids to our names Gary and I called it a day.

A brace of River Barrow hybrids for Gary Robinson.

It had been an enjoyable although unproductive session in a cracking location, last month the keep net bulged today it stayed dry, Gary and I sharing his. We speculated as to the cause in the end putting it down to just fishing, the diaries show good results for last June, it’s just swings and roundabouts. The bream had a day off or just were not interested in feeding, who knows? Better luck next time.

Fishing in Ireland, St Mullins, Co. Carlow.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

A heat wave grips Ireland and a spring tide beckons from St Mullins, the 20th April is still a little early for shad but the advance guard of anglers is already in situe. Des Fraser of Southside Angling has made the journey along with Declan Roberts from Kilkenny. A few other hardy souls line the bank on a fabulous April morning all casting their pirkens and tasmanian devils. At 09.00am on full tide Declan Roberts nets a 1.30kg specimen shad. Weighed and returned to perform the nuptials, a good start to the day.

Declan Roberts from Kilkenny with a specimen 1.30kg St Mullins, Co. Carlow, shad.

Having driven down with Carlow Coarse Angling Supplies Gerry McStraw to fish bream we were not disappointed. They did show but not in the numbers of recent trips. The tide was all wrong and the hot (reaching 22 degrees) cloudless day no doubt did not help. On the plus side Paul McLaughlin had made the trip down with his wife Jackie and we made acquaintance with Sergej a native of Siberia, who new to the sport of angling was enjoying the wonderful location that is St Mullins.

An early morning St Mullins bream.

Initially sport was slow then as the tide started to fall my rod signaled a purposeful bite from a heavy fish which stayed deep on striking. A bream for sure and one of two landed within the space of a minute as Paul simultaneously connected with a fish of similar size. So a pattern developed over the next hour with short slack periods interspersed with bites from trout, dace, hybrids, and bream.

Paul McLaughlin about to net a St Mullins, Co. Carlow, bream.

Joined by Dave Treacy to witness why St Mullins is a mecca for anglers at this time of year, we fished on until the early afternoon. As the tide dropped so the water became very clear and the air sultry. Activity tailed off and we decided to call it a day. The fishing had been successful with five species landed to include shad, trout, bream, hybrids, and dace. St Mullins is a brilliant unique fishery set in a gorgeous location. It’s a journey that I never tire of.

Paul McLaughlin with a fine St Mullins, bream.

For further reading click on: A Bream Day on the Barrow.

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, A Bream Day on the Barrow.

Monday, April 18th, 2011

It’s great when it all comes together, a scorching Sunday afternoon and the bream oblige. Making up a ground bait mix from horse feed, full of grains and mollases, I hit St Mullins around mid afternoon with high tide scheduled for seven pm. Setting up a pitch downstream of the platforms I fished a 30 gram round cage feeder with a two foot tail, cast about two thirds of the way across. Using treble red maggot bites commenced after about 15 minutes. Not frequent but steady, mainly from dace, trout, smolts, and small flounder.

A cracking River Barrow bream from the tidal stretch at St Mullins, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

The feeder would trundle slightly with the current then come to rest, bites occurred only when the bait was stationary. The green feathery weed was still present. Striking into a lift bite everything went solid, then the bottom kicked, a fish and a heavy one. Using its broad flank in the current the bream stayed deep and worked downstream. Using side strain the fish swam up along the bank still staying deep. Taking my time letting the fish kick away I eventually lowered the net and she slid over, a fine bronze bream. Landing another of a similar size along with some good dace and hybrids, bites came to a halt over the top of the tide. These fish are special, a night session is definitely on the cards.

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, River Barrow, St Mullins.

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

With all those bream being caught last weekend a trip to St Mullins was definitely on the cards. Picking up maggots and some bits and pieces of tackle from Gerry McStraw in Carlow town, I proceeded to drive through the south Carlow countryside on what was a beautiful spring day. On the way I passed through Leighlinbridge, Borris, and Graiguenamanagh, small towns along the Barrow that are synonymous with good fishing. Stopping briefly to take the generic Failte Ireland shot of Clashganny weir, I was in St Mullins for one o’clock.

Clashganny Weir on the River Barrow below Borris, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Driving along the tow path I chose my swim and started to set up. The tide was making, due in around 17.00pm, which helps to slow down the river flow so making fishing easier, a feature of this stretch being green stringy weed carried by the current which tends to wrap around your line. Casting to a point about half way across I started building up the swim. Bites came quickly from trout and smolts. Some of the trout topped half a pound which was nice, the coarse fish however were slower to oblige.

Paul McLaughlin with a nice St Mullins roach.

Joined a while later by Paul McLaughlin who I had met a earlier in Gerry’s, he brought news of a few bream landed further down stream. Setting up and feeder fishing a line closer in then I Paul proceeded to catch dace, roach, hybrids, and trout. We agreed that night fishing was possibly better when targeting bream, and correspondingly as the evening drew in bites became more frequent. Over the top of the tide and as the river started to fall I began to land a few hybrids and roach to treble maggot.

A brace of hybrids for yours truly, St Mullins, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

It never ceases to amaze me how quick these fish can suck a maggot and not get hooked, you have to be lightening fast on the strike. As per usual when answering a call of nature the rod bucked over hard before straightening up. Reeling in my snood had snapped off, a good trout or a bream no less. Fishing on till seven I said my goodbyes to Paul, who was staying over night to give the bream a good crack. With bait left over I may return Sunday evening, the tide will be later and who knows the slimy lads might be in my swim.

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

They are called red letter days, when all the preparation, experience, and knowledge comes together to produce a memorable fishing session. In conversation with Gary a few evenings previous we had agreed to coarse fish the River Barrow close to Athy. Arriving at the chosen venue shortly before 10.00am a change of location was agreed, primarily because the main river was in perfect condition, slightly coloured with an even flow. We took a chance that fish would have ventured out of the backwaters and decided to fish a swim close to Athy town centre, an inspired hunch? You could say so.

Casting the feeder, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Having fished the marina recently due to the river in flood, we learned that fish shelter out of the main current in heavy flows. Once levels drop back they venture out again to where the feeding is better. Our guess was that the vast shoals that inhabit the marina wouldn’t stray too far from the haven, our assessment proved correct. Having chosen a swim on the right hand bank we set up and proceeded to feed Gary’s particle mix at sixty second intervals until bites commenced, which they did almost immediately.

Gary Robinson with a smashing hybrid, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Plugging the feeder with particle mix and filling the centre with casters we lobbed to a line about a third of the way across and touch ledgered. From the get go bites occurred within one or two minutes, good heavy knocks which produced a string of hybrids. A feature were slack line bites from the larger fish which lifted the feeder causing the tip to straighten quickly. Lighter but equally purposeful knocks resulted in prime roach some reaching a pound+. Interspersed were the lightening machine gun rattle of dace, which even using a size 14 hook are hard to connect with. I would say that one in three bites resulted in a hook up, I’m no match man but then again we were pleasure fishing, the action was constant with every recast suppling extra feed to the swim.

A cracking perch, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Noted for its big perch one heavy slack line bite resulted in a nice perch around a pound. Beautifully striped and in great condition prior to spawning they can reach 3 pounds+ in this area, here’s hoping. Its broad dorsal fin raised in the current and never day die attitude contributed to a memorable scrap. On that note include hybrids, the larger fish in the two pound plus bracket ran a merry dance also before sliding over the net. Fishing leisurely we had an idea that at days end the keep net might hold a substantial catch.

Gary Robinson with a forty pound mixed bag, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.

As the angelus bell rang out we lifted the net. Throughout the afternoon bites had been constant with numerous shoals of fish entering our swim. Stopping every so often for photos and lunch upset the pattern of ground baiting resulting in lulls, but once the feeder (30 gram) was reintroduced bites recommenced fairly quickly afterwards. Six species made up the haul which topped forty pounds, roach, silver bream, dace, perch, roach/bream hybrid, and rudd/bream hybrid. The bait was two red maggot presented on a two foot snood incorporating a fluorocarbon tippet. This was wild coarse fishing at its best. The River Barrow is a superb fishery, and with the sterling work and initiatives being implemented by both Athy and Carlow coarse angling clubs, can only go from strength to strength. Gary and I had a great day in the early April sunshine, we’ll be back….

Further reading: Barrow Boys.

Further reading: Coarse Fishing, Athy Marina, Co. Kildare.

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, Athy Marina, Co. Kildare.

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The River Barrow rises in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Co. Laois, flowing in a south easterly direction through counties Laois, Kildare, Carlow, and Wexford, before meeting the sea below the town of New Ross. Ireland’s second longest river at 192 km from source to sea, the river Barrow is navigable from St Mullins in Co Carlow to Athy in Co. Kildare, a distance of some 68 km. An essential drainage artery historically linked to the spread of christianity, colonisation, and commerce, today the Barrow has a significant role to play both as a tourism resource and social outlet.

Anglers coarse fishing the marina, a venue smack in the centre of Athy town, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
The Barrow is a superb mixed fishery within whose waters reside coarse fish such as roach, perch, rudd, bream, dace, and the mighty pike. Brown trout populate the faster flowing stretches, while salmon and sea trout return annually along with the mysterious shad, a herring like fish which enters the river from the sea in May, to spawn at the head of the tide close to the village of St. Mullins. Coarse fishing on the river has become increasingly popular spearheaded by two local clubs, the Athy and District Anglers, and Carlow Coarse Angling Club.

A large River Barrow Perch for angler Ian Warburton.

Gerry McStraw is the progressive chairman of Carlow Coarse Angling Club, a recent conversation with him elicited information that the marina at Athy was fishing its socks off and would be well worth a visit. Having heard of the venue but never fished it I had visions of floating pontoons, pleasure cruisers, and narrow boats, the reality was not what I expected. A derelict development site smack in the middle of Athy, adjacent to the Barrow and connected by a narrow channel, it has become an oasis for fish of all descriptions particularly when the river is in flood.

Carlow Coarse Angling Club chairman Gerry McStraw with 31.lbs of Athy marina, Co. Kildare, roach, dace, and hybrids.

Leased annually by the Athy and District Anglers, preliminary works have created twenty six fishing pegs including two with disabled access. Day tickets at €5.00 or annual membership of €20.00 can be purchased at Griffen Hawe on Athy main street, or by contacting John Shaughnessy, email: What an amazing fishery, in four relaxed hours Gerry and his friend Ian Warburton amassed an incredible 62.lbs of roach, hybrids, dace, and perch all returned to fight another day. This facility should be made a permanent fixture, as a tourism venue for visiting anglers and a social outlet in particular for youth it has tremendous potential. There are few towns in Europe hosting fishing of this quality, Kildare County Council, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland, and whoever forms the next Government please take note…

Further reading: Feeder Fishing, River Barrow, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, River Barrow.

Friday, February 4th, 2011

A relative newcomer to coarse angling and keen to unlock any secrets that the River Barrow might hold, I was happy to accompany Gary for a days fishing on a favoured section of his between Carlow and Athy. The Barrow is navigable from New Ross in Co. Wexford to Monasterevin in Co. Kildare, shallow areas bye passed by a system of canals which in the past served a number of milling operations. Today many are derelict although some have been restored for private use. Waterways Ireland maintain the canals and manage the lock gates enabling private pleasure craft and narrow boat hire companies to avail of this wonderful resource.

Gary Robinson trotting a float down a River Barrow canal section.

Overnight rain had rendered the main channel unfishable so Gary and I turned our attention to a canal section. Fish seek shelter in these waters during times of flood, and with water fairly pushing through Gary decided to try out his new Adcock Stanton centrepin reel. I on the other hand stuck to the game plan of feeder fishing with red maggot. Employing a light coloured groundbait mix of crumb, sweetcorn, and various particles we set to work. Bites were fairly immediate mainly from quicksilver dace and small roach.

A beautiful red finned River Barrow roach.

Missing a lot of bites, those dace are quick, Gary advised me to step down from using four maggots on the hook to just one or two, the result was three roach on the bounce and a couple of small hybrids. My efforts would have put a match fisherman to shame, but hey I was having fun. The Adcock Stanton reel was performing well, Gary trotting a quill float down his swim winkling out small dace supplemented with a few silver bream, roach, and hybrids.

Gary Robinson with a bag of roach, silver bream, and hybrids from the River Barrow, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

The day had been cold throughout, sunny interspersed with a number of heavy showers. A constant breeze from the south west hinting at worse to come. By 16.00pm with bites becoming less frequent we decided to call it a day. Gary had a mixed bag of, the less said about mine the better although I was happy to have caught all four species mentioned above. A feature was their good condition and how cold they were to touch. We did not connect with any perch or notice evidence of pike although they are definitely present. The day though was positive, a steady stream of fish to christen Gary’s new reel and one or two of the Barrow’s fishy secrets revealed.

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

Coarse Fishing in Ireland. Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

I had the pleasure in assisting eighteen Dutch anglers who travelled to Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan, specifically to fish Lough Muckno. Based in the Glencarn Hotel for eight bed nights, the group brought together through the initiative of Mr. Christiaan Kooloos, a freelance coarse angling journalist, planned to fish a series of matches along the Concra Wood and White Island shorelines.

Pegged for the match, Lough Ross, Co. Monaghan.

Fully equipped down to the last maggot the groups collective heart sank when they heard that Muckno was unfishable due to recent heavy rains and high water levels. However, thanks to the combined efforts of local tackle dealer Les Harris, Geoff Quinn, Dick Caplice, and the Castleblaney Coarse Angling Club, a variety of  alternative options were pursued to retrieve a difficult situation and get the dutch men fishing.

In the face of adversity, success on the Church Hill shoreline, Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan.

A small area of the church hill shoreline split in two sections was capable of accommodating the visitors. Pegging sections on Saturday morning the match kicked off at midday and ended at five pm. Feeder fishing it was apparent that the anglers present could cut the mustard. Within twenty minutes fish started appearing, mainly roach with a smattering of hybrids and one or two bream. Double red maggot coupled with a dark (almost black) feeder mix containing amongst other ingredients, sweetcorn, hemp, and castors, was the successful combination, with those using worm attracting the few bream landed.

A happy angler with what looks like a bream and hybrid double, Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.

At the end of Saturdays match Willem Van Der Helm was the clear winner with 11.40 kgs of mainly roach. A regular visitor to Ireland Willem’s bag given the conditions was a credit to his skill. The church hill shore was shallow necessitating casts of up to fifty metres, that and an onshore north westerly pushing intermittent heavy showers made conditions difficult for the anglers.

Trip organiser Christiaan Kooloos shows off his catch, Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.

Sunday provided similar weather and lake conditions with the result that a friendly match between local anglers and the dutch group was held on the same shoreline and a section of Lough Ross. Twenty seven anglers fished, again the feeder prevailed with trip organiser Christiaan Kooloos coming out on top with a nice bag of roach, bream, and hybrids, for 9.10 kgs. Interestingly he was pegged where Willem had been the previous day.

Landing the catch, Lough Muckno, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.

Lough Muckno is arguably the best natural coarse match angling venue in Europe. It holds tonnes of roach, bream, and hybrids, and properly developed with vehicular access and permanent pegs would attract anglers from far and wide, Shorelines such as White Island, Concra Wood, Black Island, and Toome provide excellent fishing on the feeder, whip, waggler, or pole. Combined with the large pike, up to thirty pounds, that inhabit the lake it is a dream venue in a beautiful setting.

For more information on Lough Muckno click here: Lough Muckno, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan.

Edenderry Three Day International Coarse Angling Festival

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

The Edenderry, Co. Offaly, International Three Day Coarse Angling Festival has been on the go for 21 years. Centred on well maintained competition stretches of the Grand Canal, the festival attracts match anglers from Ireland and the United Kingdom, many who return on an annual basis, both for the fishing and the craic. This year 35 anglers traveled from England on a special week long package to include coarse angling events at Prosperous, Co. Kildare and Enfield, Co. Meath, making a sizable contribution to the local midlands economy in these straitened times.

All told 59 anglers competed for upwards of €8,000 in prize money (D.O.E), trophies, cut glass, individual and team prizes, over the three match days, Monday 7th, Wednesday 9th, and Friday 11th June. The venues used being the, Tunnel, Toberdaly, and Killeen sections of the Grand canal in the vicinity of Edenderry. Main species to expect were Bream, Roach, Hybrids, Tench, and Perch, with the individual winner decided on a cumulative bag weight over the three days fishing.

Fishing Toberdaly, final match Edenderry Festival

The weather God’s were kind all week, however canal conditions varied from coloured water to gin clear which effected fishing at the various venues. Bag weights of thirty pound plus were needed to win day one but by day three winning weights were down to seven or eight pounds due to clearing water and bright conditions. That’s match fishing though, and the competitors adapted well throughout the week.

Michael Fitzpatrick with a pair of skimmers from Toberdaly

Capitalising on a good bag from match day one Frank Holding, Ted Carter Preston, went on to win the three day event with a combined weight of 11.oz. Second place with 12.oz was Danny Murphy of Renegades AC, with Paul Kelly, Edenderry AC, weighing in 10.oz for third place. Prize giving took place in festival HQ, Foys Bar and Restaurant Edenderry, where a slap up meal was served and festivities went on onto the night. Festival director Pauric Kelly and Edenderry club secretary Tommy Burke thanked everybody for taking part and are already looking forward to another successful event in 2011.