At the start of the week gone by (November 9th to November 15th 2015), Met Eireann injected the words ‘fast moving’ and ‘lively sky’ into their projected forecast for the week. As it turned out these words were a perfect choice, for on most days clouds scudded relentlessly across a forever changing sky. High winds, accompanied by heavy downpours dominated days making access on to Derravaragh’s waters difficult and confining anglers to sheltered areas along the shoreline mainly on the Southern leg of the lake. Temperatures dropped to a chilly 4 degrees on Friday with a snow shower around 8am to remind us that winter has finally arrived. On the flip side cold water is good for pike fishing but perch anglers will have to search out deep holes as the water temperatures crash.
There were few anglers out on the lake during the week due to the inclement weather.
Lough Derravaragh can be a particularly hazardous place in windy conditions with the channel between Knockeyon and its mirroring hill creating a dangerous wind tunnel. All locals to this lake advise staying off this water when the wind blows up. One avid pike angler put it to me this way ‘I have fished Derravaragh a lot and when it starts to blow up it gets spooky, parts of Lough Ree give the same vibes, Lough Mask with 5 foot waves is excellent but scary, Lough Derravaragh with 4 foot waves is evil and scary’. As well as the safety element, the turbulent weather churned up the water making it murky and not so good for pike fishing.
Despite the elements, a respectable number of pike and perch catches were reported.
Lucan angler Paul Travers trolling a gold spoon landed a 6lb ish pike while his companion Aleksander Lewinski trolling on perch pattern plugs landed 3 pike, the heaviest of which he estimated at being over 10lbs. Both men concurred that bright garish coloured lures were good due to the discolouration of the water.
The heaviest pike reported was a 14lb pike caught (and released) by dead baiting (Mackerel tail) in a sink and draw method by Mikolaj Kosowski. Mikolaj along with his companion caught a number of perch and 5 pike in total fishing the Northern end of the lake using soft lures, perch and roach lures as well as switching over to dead baiting around mid-day.
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 going on the coming weather forecast we are now heading into. 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.
Irish pike spawn between February and April, usually in the shallow margins of the lake. Many of the bigger pike taken are captured just before the spawning period. Specimen hunters are advised to locate potential spawning areas of lakes to maximize the chances of taking a fish of a lifetime.
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.
There is a huge array of artificial lures from which the pike angler can choose to fish and these are designed to fish at varying depths and speeds from both shore and boat. The use of artificial lures can be very rewarding and the angler is likely to catch more fish when using this method under the right conditions. The use of jerk and crank baits from a boat produce many large pike from this lake. Varying the speed of the retrieve and the depth at which the lure is fished will contribute to the success achieved by this method.
Anglers report that there are no real ‘hot spot’ on this lake and that bait fish seem to be well spread out. The northern section of the lake, along the shoreline fished best for polish angler Oskar Abramowicz who landed two pike of around 3 – 4lbs using pike and perch like plugs.
During the week on my travels around this area I had the luck of bumping into the owner of Swords Angling Centre – Ruairi Coleman and I was reminded of this shop which opened in 2014 and which is like an Aladdin’s cave to the game/pike and coarse fish angler.
This shop stocks an extensive and mind boggling range of rods, reels, lines, lures, sea, trout, coarse and pike fishing tackle, bait and clothing and that’s only for starters for there’s a lot more than that and it’s certainly worth a visit particularly with Christmas round the corner.
Unit, 1 Bramley Row, Applewood, Swords, Co. Dublin
(01) 840 9387
Pike (Esox lucius) are the largest of the freshwater predators in watercourses in Ireland. The long enamelled green mottled body, the great head with its huge eyes and large mouth armed with a fearsome array of teeth makes the pike an efficient hunter. The sporting qualities and hard fighting nature of the wild Irish pike are some of the reasons that this fish is so sought after by sport anglers.
Christmas gift idea…
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.
The Moffatt Cup was scheduled to take place on Sunday November 15th but due to high winds this competition has not been postponed till Sunday November 22nd 11am – 4pm from Donore shore.
For further information please contact Joe Keena at 086 8722449
Lough Derravaragh Angling Association AGM
The Lough Derravaragh Angling Association will be holding their AGM in February 2016 and all are welcome (date to be decided later). This progressive club promotes and encourages angling – trout, pike and coarse fishing in the Lough Derravaragh system and assists in the protection of the waters from pollution and illegal fishing with a view to improving wild brown trout stocks within the system. Membership levels for 2014 stand at 46 senior anglers and 13 juveniles. Anyone interested in joining should contact Joe Keena at 086 8722449.
Weir Cup or Christmas Pike Competition
The Weir Cup or Christmas Pike Competition will be fished on Lough Derravaragh on Sunday November 29th, 11am – 4pm from Donore. This popular annual competition is run in memory of the late and great Sean Weir, Multyfarnham who was a member of the Derravaragh angling club and whose passion and love for fishing this lake will be forever remembered.
For further information please contact Joe Keena at 086 8722449.
Boat hire is always available from Lough Derravaragh Boat Hire
Republic of Ireland
+353 44 9371500
Local tackle supplies
Sports & Tackle Ireland
Please remember All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Derravaragh which must be purchased before going out on the lake.