Posts Tagged ‘River Barrow’

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.

Barrow Pike

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Winter fishing on the River Barrow invariably means targeting the quieter backwaters due to increased flow and subsequent higher water levels within the main river channel. Locks, canals and marinas are fair game and it was the former that David Murphy and his friend Robbie chose for an afternoon session targeting coarse fish, predominantly roach, perch and dace which had migrated into their swim, a fifty meter long narrow tail water below a lock which registered about ten foot deep. Ever the predator angler David also set up a pike rod to float ledger mackerel in a likely hole on the premise that concentrations of silver fish within a confined area tend to attract pike.

Predator angler David Murphy cradles a fine River Barrow pike.

David’s hunch paid off when a mid weight Barrow torpedo made off with what it thought was a free lunch only to find that it carried a sting in the tail. Startled into life the pike gave a good account of itself before sliding over the net. In great condition and beautifully coloured, his friend Robbie later banked another to cap what had been a fine session on a river that rewards those who put the time in and get to know its vagaries.

 

Codling Making an Appearance

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The Waterford estuary, a recognised marine nursery area, is presently witnessing a run of codling similar to that which graced it in 2011, anglers hitting marks from Duncannon and Passage upstream are catching fish ranging from a pound up to three pounds with an odd report of codling to seven pound being registered. Crab is the top bait with lug and mussel scoring as well, dusk into dark is the most productive time and ideally choose a neap tide as a big spring makes fishing very difficult as this soldier found out.

Pier fishing the Waterford estuary, Ireland.

Arriving at my chosen location an hour before high water the upstream tidal flow was slowing down. A big four meter full in around 16.00 pm, a light southerly breeze, clear skies and latterly a big full moon hinted at a possible cool evening which is how it transpired, not toe numbing but the constant shelling and wrapping of crab baits made for cold fingers as night closed in. Initially casting at an angle across and uptide my twin paternoster anchored by a six ounce long tail gripper held bottom easily. Within minutes repeated nodding indicated hungry life which manifested as a dab/whiting double, followed next cast by a pound codling, subsequent to that its older larger pound and a half brother.

Waterford estuary codling.

All caught over the top of the tide as night closed in, then as if somebody had opened a sluice gate all the water which had travelled up the three sister rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir decided it was time to vacate this expansive narrow estuary. Not a slow build to full flow but an immediate about turn, whoosh, in the time it took to reel in and cast out again fishing conditions had changed, holding bottom now became an impossibility exacerbated by floating weed. Persevering for half an hour yours truly decided to call it a night, however two successful codling trips in seven days indicates the potential for some quality fishing between now and Christmas. Next time I’ll pick a neap……….

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……….

Barrow Brace

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

On the road by 04.00am a plate size full moon sitting over the Blackstairs Mountains, motoring through familiar places as night merges into day, Carnew, Bunclody, Kiltealy, Ballymurphy, not far now. Muggy and warm on leaving the house, mist lying in the hollows between Graiguenamanagh and Glynn hint that the air might be chilly once one enters the River Valley at St Mullins. Tents fill the green outside Blanchfields pub, dog leg left then down the steep hill before sweeping right into the car park. It’s only 05.30am and already anglers line the bank, driving a short step along the towpath I park up, grab my previously assembled rod and walk towards a familiar face. Boy there is a nip in the air.

Netting a shad at St Mullins, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Dave from the Lurefish-Ireland website was plying his luck after shad and on cue hooked into a fish which was duly netted, photographed, and released. His second of the morning along with a few takes, Dave’s experience of the shad season to date reflected this years trend, one or two fish per session with a lot of casting in between. Working a blue/silver tazzie across the flooding tide, first a bang then a more solid take resulted in a hook up. A good shad it zig zagged, jumped, and even tail walked before sliding over the net, a fine fish indeed.

A fine big twaite shad from the River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

A flurry of activity then silence other than the swoosh of rods and the rhythmic turning of reels. As the mist burned off Dave and I decided to venture upstream to the island. On arrival we observed that the Barrow was alive with fish sipping, rolling, and jumping. An occasional bronze flank breaking the surface indicated hybrids or bream while dace flashed silver, if shad were in situe they certainly did not make their presence felt.

The island at St Mullins Co. Carlow, Ireland.

Wending our way back up the towpath we decided to throw a few casts downstream of the lock. Close in under the bank a second shad took my lure, again leaping clear of the water after a brief tussle like its predecessor the fish was netted and released. Having achieved my target of fish and photographs I decided to say my goodbyes and hit the road. Only 08.30am mission accomplished and a whole Sunday still ahead, whoopee………

Further reading: The Elusive Shad and other Stories.

Click on: Shad Fishing in St Mullins, video clip, 26th May 2013. Courtesy of Dave Fitzpatrick (lurefish-ireland blogsite).

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…….

Urban Pike

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The river Barrow has a large pike tradition, many to specimen size having been landed over the years. However, as this writer knows only too well, they do not give themselves up easy. Like any form of fishing, building up a bank of experience is the key to success, with a little luck thrown in of course. That said, anglers make their own luck, usually by researching their chosen quarry, methods, tactics, and most importantly putting the time in fishing.

Pike fishing in Ireland. A fine River Barrow pike landed by David Murphy on ledgered dead roach.

Having done his homework David Murphy chose a swim noted for its coarse fishing potential, regularly delivering good bags of roach, dace, and hybrids to match anglers. Occasionally a pike or two tempted by rich pickings advertises its presence by attacking a hooked fish destined for the keep net. Aware of this fact David sussed a couple of pikey locations and ledgered a dead roach presented on a running paternoster. Result, three runs and his first ever river pike knocking eight pounds plus.