Damien Willis from www.loughfishingbuddies.com reports on a recent pike flyfishing trip on Lough Ramor…

I launched my boat at Virginia College for some pike on the fly this afternoon. The conditions were not ideal with an abundance of flood water flowing into the Lough form the Rampart River. A number of anglers had also set up for the day. The wind was strong from a southerly direction with frequent heavy down pours. You may ask what I was doing fishing on a day like today. My intention was purely to locate the shoals of bait fish for which took me some time to do so. Lough Ramor is one of the shallowest lake in Ireland averaging 6 to 9 feet in places with two very deep holes located in the upper part of the Lough. I could see on my finder shoals of bait fish 30ft down – below these a number of pike were sitting observing the shoals.

Having lost a huge pike this rainbow, though pretty, did not lift the mood

I knew that it was going to be a windy day and that fishing would be difficult, so I brought my anchor  and positioned my boat just above the shoals out of the wind. I quickly switch over to a Vision big daddy sink line and a weighted Pike fly to suit the conditions. Ten casts later I could only describe as a huge take to my pike fly. I have caught plenty of doubles over the years but nothing as heavy and as aggressive as the surprise I connected with. My line screamed off the reel with the fish on the end. I made effort to land the fish but on this occasion it won the battle…. next time perhaps!

Word of caution

Landing and launching a boat from a trailer is now more difficult than ever as a result of the recent modifications  made to the slip way at Virginia College. A number of large boulders are now in place left and right of the slip way. This makes launching and landing a boat almost impossible in cross wind conditions. Two of these boulders are submerged just below the surface due to flood conditions threatening serious damage to a boat, or worse still, injury to an unwary angler.

Damien Willis

Guidelines for handling pike



Download: Pike Handling and Conservation [.pdf 850 KB]


When landed, the fish should be laid flat preferably on a protective mat and the hooks removed with a suitable tool such as long handled artery forceps or a long nosed pliers. Anglers may find it useful to wear protective gloves. Sometimes it can be easier to release the hooks by working very carefully through the gill covers.


The use of pike sacks can be used for the short time retention of fish enabling them to recover prior to weighing or photography. When weighing and photographing fish, the pike should be cradled and supported properly to avoid injuring the fish. A pike sized weigh sling should always be used if the fish is be weighed.


When being released, the pike should be held carefully in the water to promote recovery until it is ready to swim away. At all times, the pike should be returned to the water in the shortest possible time.