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Derravaragh piking “When she was good she was very very good…”

December 5th, 2017 | by

A mouthful of armour -Pike (Esox lucius) the largest of the freshwater predators in watercourses in Ireland.

A mouthful of armour -Pike (Esox lucius) the largest of the freshwater predators in watercourses in Ireland.

November’s catches on Lough Derravaragh put me in mind of a line from a poem by Henry Longfellow ‘when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid’. Returns were sporadic but when it happened it really did happen as confirmed by a very happy polish angler,  Jakub Kowalewski’s when he landed a magnificent 15lb pike while dead baiting with a mackerel’s tail in the Northern section of the lake on November 5th.

Lough Derravaragh

Lough Derravaragh

The gaelic version – Loch Dairbhreach (the lake of the oaks) was fished by a number of anglers throughout the month of November and into December, predominantly by non nationals but with a scattering of the locals flying the Irish flag.

Like most fishing, pike fishing is hugely governed by the weather, an unpredictable force intrinsically wound into every element of this great winter predator sport.  The warmer weather and lower water levels seen in the earlier part seemed more productive than the later part of November. Trolling dead bait worked best when temperatures were warmer and this coupled with a chop on the water fishing down towards the channel between Knockeyon and its mirroring hill resulted in respectable numbers of pike being caught with Michal Lisowski landing 12 pike in the one day, heaviest at 7lbs by dead baiting (Mackerel tail) in a sink and draw method.

pike

Bulldog on a Bulldog

As the month progressed the lures took over in popularity with copper & silver spoons, plastic minnows, the Pheasants Eye, perch pattern plugs and soft lures like the orange Bulldogs working well. Rainfall was average until November 22nd kicked in when almost an inch of rain fell within 24 hours dramatically changed the state of play for fishing here.

Clinton's Bay, Lough Derravaragh

Clinton’s Bay, Lough Derravaragh

Discoloured flooded water makes for tough fishing, reported catches dwindled and those that did strike gold were mainly using large bright garish coloured lures, the only angler who bucked this trend was Julian from Dublin who landed a jack pike float fishing a sardine. Temperatures dropped as we headed into December and with that drop and with the first frosts, pike headed for the deeper areas – the Southern end particularly into Clintons Bay (reputed to be over 150ft). Anglers reported that there was no real ‘hot spot’ on this lake and that the bait fish seem well spread out, dawn and the last hours of daylight seemed most productive. Towards the end of November as the weather got considerably colder pike were usually only active around midday when there was a slight rise in water temperature.

Tipperary angler Brendan O’Dwyer with his winning pike of 11 lbs 9ozs at the Finian Darby competition on Lough Derravaragh

Tipperary angler Brendan O’Dwyer with his winning pike of 11 lbs 9ozs at the Finian Darby competition on Lough Derravaragh

The first competition of the month was the Philip Moffatt Memorial Cup, now in its 26th year, this popular pike competition was initiated by IFI officer Martin Moffatt in memory of his brother Philip who was a fanatical fisherman with an immeasurable love of this lake. Local man Liam Gilsenan won this cup.

Liam Gilsenan (right) winner of the Philip Moffatt Memorial Cup (Nov.12th) with best friend Christy Cox, Multyfarnham

Liam Gilsenan (right) winner of the Philip Moffatt Memorial Cup (Nov.12th) with best friend Christy Cox, Multyfarnham

Keeping in with Lough Derravaragh’s legend of how King Lir’s four children were turned into swans and spent 300 years on this Lough, the Children of Lir competition (also known locally as the Murtagh Cup) was the second event in November attracting a number of anglers on November 19th with Mullingar angler Ber Newman winning the event with a nice jack pike caught using a gold spoon.

Ber Newman, Mullingar winner of the Children of Lir Competition, Derravaragh, November 19th

Ber Newman, Mullingar winner of the Children of Lir Competition, Derravaragh, November 19th

A number of anglers fishing the River Inny reported catches of jack pike, heaviest at 8lbs using large lures. Fishing friends John Murtagh, Navan, Dermot Moore, Celbridge, Frank Mahon and Johnny Farrell, Navan had 3 pike between them for last Sunday’s fishing, heaviest at 7 ½ lbs downstream of Float Bridge.

Neighbouring Lough Glore ran a competition on November 26th where the winner was Christy Hyndes. The Christmas competition on Lough Glore will be held on December 17th in which all are welcome.  For details please contact Eddie O’Donnell at 086 4043867

 

 

 Weather is no deterrent to French guide Christopher Defillon with this substantial pike from Lough Derravaragh.


Weather is no deterrent to French guide Christopher Defillon with this substantial pike from Lough Derravaragh.

One of the most popular and productive methods to catch pike at the moment on Derravaragh is the use of dead baits fished in a sink-and-draw manner from shore or boat. Ledgered dead baits may be used, and are particularly effective, when the shoals of fodder fish, particularly were bream, roach and hybrids are located. The baits are positioned on the margins of the shoal of fodder (prey) fish and left for a period before being repositioned. In such situations, the bank side margins, and areas where there is cover in the form of reeds or overhanging trees should be carefully fished. Static methods are also particularly useful in the colder months which we are undisputedly heading into.

James Murray with his 10lb 5oz pike caught on the fly, River Inny

James Murray with his 10lb 5oz pike caught on the fly, River Inny

Derravaragh is fished by some anglers from the shore so float ledgered dead baits can be effective same as float trolled dead baits can be very productive when fishing from a boat.

A group at the Philip Moffatt competition

A group at the Philip Moffatt competition

The behaviour of pike depends on the behaviour of the prey or fodder species. Big-water pike may be more dependent on shoals of fish like bream and roach which move around, and they tend to follow these shoals. Anglers studying the movements of fodder fish are more likely to meet with success. The time of day can also be important on certain waters with regard to the taking behaviour of bigger fish. The period around dawn can be productive, as can the final hours of daylight. In the colder months, some pike will only be active and feed around midday, as this is generally when the highest water temperatures occur.

James Murray - pike on the fly

James Murray – pike on the fly

 

I always remember a piece written by angler Bernie Murphy where he wrote ‘here in the Irish midlands we have nearly 400 pike fisheries, if you went piking once a week it would take you almost 8 years to fish them all and if you only go once a month then it would take you over 36 years’ – there’s a lot of fishing to be done and there is a need to encourage potential anglers to go out there and fish these productive waters.

Tanya Breslin (Philip Moffatt's daughter) presents Liam Gilsenan with the Philip Moffatt Cup

Tanya Breslin (Philip Moffatt’s daughter) presents Liam Gilsenan with the Philip Moffatt Cup

With Christmas just around the corner and the often frequent difficulty in buying for that person who seems to have everything or wants nothing, what about booking a day’s fishing on this bracing and magical lake? The best man for the job would be Mullingar man Michael Flanagan whose knowledge of this lake and indeed all the midland water ways is second to none. It would be a unique present, getting back to nature and waking the ‘hunter/gather’ instinct that may have got buried somewhere beneath work, deadlines, shopping and the pressures of everyday life.

Just a suggestion.

Mick (who can supply all fishing gear and life jackets just bring yourself) can be contacted at 087-2797270. E- mail mick@midlandangling.com web- sitewww.midlandangling.com

Mike Flannaghan with a Derravaragh pike

Mike Flannaghan with a Derravaragh pike

Boat Hire

Lough Derravaragh Boat Hire

Donore Shore
Multyfarnham
Westmeath
Republic of Ireland

+353 44 9371500

Permits and tackle

Sports & Tackle Ireland

Barry Fagan: 086 8848337

sportsandtackleireland@gmail.com

Lough Derravaragh (Mark Bennett)

Lough Derravaragh (Mark Bennett)

 

‘Catch & Release’ on Lough Derravaragh

‘Catch & Release’ on Lough Derravaragh


This post is in: Lough Derravarragh, Pike fishing reports