Posts Tagged ‘Tazmanian Devil’

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.