Posts Tagged ‘Wicklow’

August Evening at Roundwood

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Formally opened in 1863, the south lake at Roundwood created by damming the Vartry River, was commissioned by The Dublin Water Works Committee to supply clean water to the city of Dublin. A second embankment (Dam) was completed in 1923 so forming the upper reservoir. Both the upper (north) and lower (south) lakes are first class mature wild trout fisheries which have a reputation for being dour, however the fishery rewards effort so don’t be afraid to put the time in.

Evening scene, lower lake Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.

Popping up for a couple of hours after tea I was greeted by a mirror calm water upon which a small hatch of silverhorns and an odd plump sedge were dancing in the margins. Here and there mostly out of range one could observe an odd slashy rise. Fishing a dry silverhorn I missed the only rise to my fly while momentarily taking in the view.

August evening on the south lake Roundwood, Co. Wicklow.

A nice breeze from the south or west would have made a difference creating a wave and pushing terrestrials out on the water. Yesterday evening though was about being there waist deep in the stillness, quietly waiting to intercept a rising trout with a carefully placed imitation. The revery remained unbroken…..

See also: http: Last Day on Roundwood.

Heatwaves and Tope

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

The Azores high centered over Ireland, four weeks of continuous sunshine, blue skies, slack winds, and regular 20 degree plus temperatures, what more can three pale skinned Irishmen do but go tope fishing of course. Greeted on the harbour slip by a millpond sea, Gary, David, and I prepared Jean Anne before embarking to catch the last of a very neap ebb tide in the deep channel east of the Moulditch bouy.

Gary Robinson displays a fine male tope.

Gathering enough fresh mackerel for bait, year on year becoming an increasingly bigger issue raised its head yet again. In a repeat of last weeks struggle three anglers boated four mackerel in two hours flitting between various known drops off Bray Head. Well into slack water and really wanting to put David, who had never caught one of these sleek marine athletes, over a fish I decided to make a run for our chosen mark anchor up and catch the flood as it picked up.

Gary Robinson playing a good tope off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

In a repeat of last week Gary had no sooner lowered fresh whole mackerel into Davy Jones locker when his ABU 7000 started purring. Off the tope went only this time everything went according to plan which was wonderful as David, still to land his first tope, had a grandstand view of not only what these fish are capable of but their graceful beauty as well. Scissors hooked, quick photo and away, a fine male tope that certainly looked and felt 30 pound plus.

David Murphy with his first ever tope.

Enthused by the spectacle David had to wait a further four hours before his wish came to life. Having been teased by an earlier dropped run just as the flood tide was easing Dave’s ratchet buzzed. Rod now in hand 10 seconds in David leaned and the fish tore off. Adrenaline flowing everyone on Jean Anne wanted this encounter to end happily which thankfully it did. Five minutes later the smile said it all as the female tope swished her tail and glided back into the depths…….

See also: Tope Antics off Greystones.

Click on: Tope Alley.

Tope Antics off Greystones

Friday, July 12th, 2013

A double knock registers, zzzzzz, zzzzzz, the ratchet emits audible staccato clicks, a four meter tide flows strongly past the anchored Jean Anne. Old yella now in hand, brain runs through a split second check list. Ratchet disengaged, reel disengaged, drag pre set, “cool”, thumb controled line strips from the narrow spool Penn 4, rhythmic banging transmits along taught braid as a heavy female tope powers away down tide. The run develops, ten seconds counted lean back no need to strike the fishes momentum will do the needful, in an instant fifth gear, old yella takes the strain.

A Greystones, Co. Wicklow tope swims alongside before being lifted carefully aboard.

Powerfully running towards Bray Head the wily female turns on a sixpence and doubles back uptide. Reeling like blazes the old glassfibre twenty pound class rod heels over as contact is made yet again, whoosh she veers left and the equally old Penn reluctantly feeds line. So it continues for five minutes in the rushing tidal flow, giving and taking, taking and giving until grudgingly the large female swims alongside ready for tailing. Not quite, a sight of the boat and off she goes, pre set drag whines,  now she’s sulking three fathoms down. Carefully pumping, the tope rises into view, no admiring this time. Gary grabs the running leader to gain control before swiftly transfering his hands to her dorsal fin and tail wrist, with all his strength he hoists the twitching, writhing, teeth knashing tope over the gunwale.

Thirty pounds plus of angry female tope.

Back in 2011 Gary and I set forth on four occasions in search of these underwater cheetahs before eventually striking it lucky at the fifth attempt, fast forward to July 2013 and we connect first drop, well almost. Motoring through the harbour mouth at 05.45am to catch the start of the flood our immediate concern was catching mackerel. Two hours later and with only four in the bucket I pointed Jean Anne towards a mark north east of the Moulditch ridge. Anchoring up we lowered our hard won bait to the seabed 10 fathoms below. Five minutes in Gary’s reel started to sing.

Mackerel, a top bait for tope.

Leaning into the fast running tope Gary connected preceeding to play the fish for around two minutes then nothing. Retrieving his line all became clear, a crimp had given way. Sods law but at least they’re about. However sod didn’t stop there, later while retrieving Gary gets hit again.  This time the tope powered off midwater before letting go after ten seconds. Reeling to the surface there she is following the bait, will she, won’t she, flick of her tail and she’s gone. Immediately lowering the rig within seconds a very determined run develops, she’s persistant but so was Gary’s bad luck, sod strikes three, now baitless we call it quits.

Playing a tope off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

What a day it had been, glorious sunshine the result of a blocking high centered over Ireland creating clear blue skies and searing heat with inland temperatures hitting 30 degrees. One fish in the boat, four runs, a bull huss and a tope swimming up sixty foot to say hello, nature in full view. Firing up the engine I point Jean Anne towards Greystones, the high stool and a welcome pint in the beach house………

See also: Screaming Reels.

Click on: Heatwaves and Tope.

First Day on the River

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Grey clouds press down on the surrounding hills, a sharp variable easterly breeze cuts, and the threat of rain is never too far away. Only die hards fly fish County Wicklow’s mountain streams in March, trout, spent after spawning are only beginning to return to the runs and glides, with fly life, especially today marked absent. Like a magnet though our red spotted friends beckon, the rushing waters call, and before we know it a cast is unfurling, placing a weighted nymph into a likely gut.

Early season fly fishing high up in the Wicklow hills.

Peat stained water runs clear and surprisingly low given the amount of rain that has fallen since what seems like last April. At below summer level, without doubt finding a fish is going to be hard. It’s nice to be out though, pulling on the waders, sharing fishy tales, while pondering about life and fishing. Accompanying me on this first trip to the river is Mitchell Josh, an avid angler from Oregan on the USA’s west coast, visiting Dublin with his wife he fancied a day out in the country, striking a balance between sight seeing the Book of Kells and The Guinness Hop Store.

A little beauty, still thin after spawning, this trout will plump up over the coming weeks.

A deer bounds across the moor, tail up, flashing it’s white behind, a farmer spreads slurry on a nearby field, in the distance artilliary fires, quite surreal, and best of all we have the river to ourselves. Working runs downstream, a partridge and orange on the dropper partnered by a weighted nymph on the point, our day is punctuated by a few tentative pulls and one sprightly trout. It’s called fishing not catching, or so runs the cliche, I’d say it’s about being there, wouldn’t you agree?


Shillelagh and District Hunt, Tally Ho Meet, November 17th 2012

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

David Nolan with the hounds.

Pierre serves up some Dutch courage.

Howard rallys the troops.

Mandy and Dixie ready to rock.

Tally Ho meet.

Following the hounds.

Game Fishing in Ireland, Rainbows in the Fall

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Annamoe Trout Fishery, Co. Wicklow, is a great place to while away a few hours, a secluded, mature water, home to a stock of hard fighting rainbow trout averaging 2.5/3.0 lbs in weight, they do not give themselves up easy, a trait which added to a fun and interesting afternoons fishing for Indiana USA visitors Troy Owen, his son Maguire, and grandfather Stephen.

Playing a good rainbow at Annamoe Trout Fishery, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Setting up with matching 10′, 5 weight kit married to 8lb tippets (you need to go heavy at Annamoe as these trout grow large) the guys varied their approach using boobies, green damsel fly bead heads, and dry daddies. Commencing fishing around four pm on a warm afternoon, signs of Autumn were evident and shadows lengthened through the evening as the sun dipped early behind the mountains. Damsel flies hovered, midges made their presence felt, lines swished, and then with a cry of “fish on” the reverie was broken.

Indiana state visitor Troy Owen displays a fine Annamoe rainbow tempted by a peach booby.

Troy Owen had connected with a tough “bow” which took a bead head daddy, threw a few cart wheels, ran backwards and forwards along the bank, before shaking the barbless hook free. Later switching to a sinking line and booby set up Troy hooked into three more lively fish netted with the help of his son Maguire, who not to be outdone showed that he can strip streamers with the best of them, hooking and landing a couple of quality rainbows like a seasoned veteran.

Nice fish, a quality Annamoe rainbow for Stephen from Indiana, USA.

Grandfather Stephen also weighed in with a couple of nice fish to a green damsel fly. Pulls, missed takes, thrown hooks, the evening flew by and at 19.30 pm dinner beckoned, Annamoe had delivered again, a great session, we’ll be back.

Owned and run by Brian Nally, Annamoe Trout Fishery is open all year and well worth a visit, contact Brian through the fishery website, Annamoe Trout Fishery, or just turn up. The fishery is located in the village of Annamoe, Co. Wicklow, situated equidistant between Glendalough and Roundwood.

Seascapes, Greystones Fishery, a Reflection with Marcus Connaughton

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Met up with Marcus Connaughton of RTE radio’s Seascapes one lovely sunny morning in Dunlaoghaire. We sat under the bandstand in front of the Royal Marine Hotel where I recalled my early experience of being introduced to the wonderful fishing that used to exist off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, how it fares today, and possible future directions for marine resource management.

Listen to Podcast by clicking on link and scrolling down the seascapes archive to: Seascapes Friday 24th August, 2012, broadcast @ 10.30pm. Download the podcast,  conversation commences 04.49 minutes into the program.

Two humps off Bray Head, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Hopefully the current Government initiative to harness Our Ocean Wealth will herald a more inclusive approach to inshore fisheries management, time will tell……..

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Fog Bound off Greystones

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Slipping out of Greystones harbour under cover of a pea soup fog bank Jean Anne with a bearing from Gary’s iPhone compass app’ headed towards the mackerel grounds off the cable rock under Bray Head. Hot and humid with light winds to blow 4 later from a southerly direction, Gary Robinson, David Murphy, and I set off to ultimately fish the last two hours of the flood for tope, fresh mackerel being a prerequisite.

Fog bound off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Motoring for ten minutes across a glassy sea the sun a barely visible yellow orb I cut the motor to listen. Fog enshrouded, we couldn’t see fifty meters, sound enveloped us, waves on the beach, hooting dart whistles, distant cars, another out board motor, but where? Using the suns position I gunned the engine and headed gingerly towards the shore, which after five minutes appeared out of the murk. Not bad, within two hundred meters of the cable, we took a compass bearing then eased out into the north running tide.

Jigging for mackerel off a foggy Bray Head, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Cutting the engine every few minutes we jigged feathers to little effect, an odd mackerel here a couple there. Eventually around mid day the fog began to burn off, now land marks could come into play in our hunt for Scomber scombrus, unfortunately they still remained elusive. Considering that when this writer first started fishing in the early 1970′s mackerel were so numerous searching for them did not enter the equation, the present state of play is totally unacceptable. Motor two humps off Bray Head and drop your feathers, in those days 6 on a hand line, immediate contact or at worst a short troll behind the boat until the shoal was found being the usual form.

Playing a small huss off Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Today on August 9th 2012 three competent anglers jigging hard in 2.5 hours amassed 12 mackerel and three whiting before calling it a day and heading for the tope grounds. What has humanity done, the north east Atlantic mackerel stock has been mined (for that is the word) supposedly sustainably if that is possible, the truth is our experience off Greystones, Co. Wicklow yesterday, the EU, successive Irish Governments, politicians, and public servants have failed us. Our, and I repeat our summer mackerel, because everybody owns the resource not just the commercial fishing sector, are not swimming elsewhere they are gone converted into fish meal, canned, or sold block frozen to Asian, Russian, and African markets so that a few people can become very rich. The environmental repercussions of removing this stock will be severe unless current exploitation policies are reversed.

A small huss for Gary Robinson boated off Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Surpressing our anger, we were it has to be said out for a days pleasure fishing, Gary, Dave, and I pointed Jean Anne south and motored towards a favoured tope mark. On this occasion the toothy ones did not show however a succession of greedy juvenile bull huss kept our rods nodding, how they manage to engulf whole mackerel on an 8/0 hook beats me. At 16.00 bells we weighed anchor a date with destiny awaiting us in the Beach House, Greystones. Breaking records on the slip to get Jean Anne on the trailer and our gear stowed we legged it to the pub in time for the fourth and decisive round. Well done Katie Taylor on winning gold in London, you did yourself, your family, and the nation proud.

Kayak Fishing in Ireland, “I Think I Need a Bigger Boat”

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Gary Robinson is an angler who puts a lot of time, thought, and effort into his fishing. Set up now with a state of the art kayak rig Gary has spent the early summer putting her through its paces. The weather recently has been kind with light winds, calm seas, and blue skies, enabling a trip out off Dunlaoghaire which resulted in a nice codling.

A plump codling for kayak fisher Gary Robinson.

Taking advantage of the settled conditions Gary paddled out a few days later after the big stuff off the north Wicklow coastline. His efforts produced a superb tope, which judging from the images Gary sent me is well over the specimen forty pound mark and could easily top fifty. Handling a fish like that in a boat is difficult enough, but from a kayak takes some skill. Well done Gary on a cracking fish caught and released.

Specimen Wicklow tope for Kayak angler Gary Robinson.

For the record Gary’s tope was tempted by ledgered whole mackerel and played on an old faithful ABU 7000 reel.

See also: Kayak Fishing for Tope.

See also: Screaming Reels.

Sea Fishing in Ireland, Trotting After Flounder

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Flounder or fluke are a favourite species which I seek out in various estuary locations within Co. Wexford. It’s funny how sometimes we miss opportunities right under our noses, a case of the grass is always greener elsewhere maybe. Well a couple of weeks ago having witnessed a mullet angler take a number of quality flounder from a local estuary mark while float fishing, I decided to follow suit, which proved not only fruitful but fun as well.

A nice Co. Wicklow flounder tempted by float fished lobworm.

An urban harbour location where a major river system meets the tide, I set up a float rod with a clear stick float to a size eight hook attached to test, plumbed the depth along a likely seam, baited with lobworm and cast out. Slightly out of the main current my float settled then twitched and bobbed before gently sliding under. Setting the hook with a turn of my wrist a nice flounder proceeded to show how sporting these fish can be on light tackle. Nudging a pound and in tip top condition the flounder was one of a dozen plus flatties and slob brown trout I landed within a short three hour session up to and over high tide. Just as I was leaving Polish light line lure specialist David Kopczynski introduced himself to me. A thinking angler David has adapted freshwater light line lure techniques learned in his home country and put them to good use in Ireland catching some fine bass, wrasse, and flounder. Nice to finally meet and chat with you David, tight lines and good fishing…….