Pat Foran reports on a recent pike fishing session on a Midland river.

With the bank holiday last weekend, Martin Lynch and I took the opportunity to target some pike on the mighty River Shannon.

Weather conditions were mild and overcast in the early morning but as the afternoon approached we were faced with scattered showers and high winds.

Martin is a well-known angler throughout the Midlands and has a good reputation as an adroit lure angler. Martin has a fine collection of lures of every colour and size and has the confidence in this technique which many other pike anglers haven’t yet picked up on.

We started fishing around midday and found the fishing was difficult with no action for the first hour. I choose to fish a roach dead bait in the sink and draw fashion while Martin fished a smelt dead bait fished at 5ft under a float on one rod and fished a selection of lures on his second rod.

We worked our way along the river and eventually came across the first pike of the day. It was a lovely fish of about 7lb and came to one of Martin’s bright green lures. After this fish had a quick photo and was carefully released Martin continued to catch another two pike within two casts in the same spot.

One of Martin's River Shannon pike
One of Martin’s River Shannon pike

This turned out the be the pattern of the day as the pike showed up to be tightly packed in little pockets scattered along the river. By the end of the session, Martin had a wonderful catch of 11 pike on the lures and his biggest fish of around 9lb had come to the smelt dead baits.

Another of Martin's River Shannon pike
Another of Martin’s River Shannon pike

The average fish was around 4lb with many of the fish in the 6lb brackets. Unfortunately, there were no big doubles landed on the day but there was great sport to be had with the jacks and by the end of the day Martin had an impressive weight of 70lb of pike for his efforts. I had a pair of jacks in the 4lb brackets all on the dead baits.

One of Martin's succesful lures
One of Martin’s succesful lures

We did unfortunately come across a pike with visual signs of Lymphosarcoma. This is a viral disease that affects pike of spawning age. It is unfortunately highly contagious for the pike and usually leads to fatality within one year. I have researched it further and found that the virus is believed to be spread through direct skin contact during spawning.  In later stages of the disease, the liver, spleen, and kidneys of fish deteriorate. It is not contagious to humans, but anglers are asked to wash their hands immediately and disinfect there tackle after use as a safety precaution.


This poor fish displays a Lymphosarcoma tumor
This poor fish displays a Lymphosarcoma tumor

A date for your Diary:


Lough Ree International Pike Classic will be held on 23rd and 24th of June 2018.

There will be a prize fund of €10,000.

See poster for details.