The Scairbhín (Scaraveen) is well and truly upon us with the warm weather of the Easter weekend replaced this week by cooler, wetter weather with winds blowing in turn from all points of the compass and very strong winds forecast overnight on Friday in parts. The Scairbhín is an Irish weather phenomenon that translates as ‘the rough month of the cuckoo’ from the phrase garbh mi na gcuach and refers to the period comprising the last two weeks of April, and the first two weeks of May when the familiar call of the cuckoo returns to Irish shores. These few weeks are often rampant with changeable extremes of weather patterns.

Our ancient ancestors who worked the land and were much closer to the seasons knew this as ‘the hungry time’ of the year. This is because they were busy planting and tending their crops which were too young and immature to produce food as yet. But the Scairbhín was actually nature’s way of ensuring the crops success. Initial ‘unseasonal’ warm weather would enable seeds to germinate, a sudden cold snap would then serve to ‘harden off’ the young plants, and the howling gales which followed would distribute pollen.

Other folklore has it that the Scairbhín is nature’s way of exacting retribution on the cuckoo for the havoc she causes in the bird world – although, unfortunately, we all pay the price for the cuckoo’s misdeeds……………

The Scairbhín’s warm spell had many anglers on the water over the Easter weekend; a number of coarse angling competitions took place with some large hauls of bream featuring on Inniscarra, while Muckno fished consistently for their first Easter Festival. Reports of good numbers of tench are coming in from the canals in the midlands, the sudden increase in temperatures in the shallow canal waters helping to stir them from their winter slumber. Indeed, tench were feeding well for the 29 anglers competing in the All Ireland Canal Championships on the Grand Canal at Prosperous on Saturday and Sunday.

Conor Browne with a mixed bag at the All Ireland Canal Championships

Trout fishing on the loughs has been patchy, the ‘in-between time’ with the end of the duckfly and the wait for the olives on some loughs, while on others the first mayfly of 2019 have begun to make an appearance; anglers who stuck to trolling had more success with some nice fish caught. Having said that, those anglers who happened to be in the right place at the right time (with the right flies on) did well and guests of Corrib View Lodge ticked all three of these boxes. Reports are scarce from the rivers; the extremes of either high temperatures or high water in some parts may have contributed to lack of fishing effort.

There are reports of some salmon in the south west, the Ilen and Bandon produced small numbers of fish when conditions allowed but low water on the Laune and high water on the Blackwater made fish hard to come by. Currane also had a quiet week with light winds and air temperatures touching 21°C, a couple of nice salmon were caught on the troll along with the first decent sea trout of 2019 on the fly, a fish of 3lbs or more. In the west, a couple of fish came off Delphi but again the bright conditions and low water made things difficult. Over in Mayo during the Easter break, dropping water levels and much milder weather combined to see a considerable increase in angling effort on the Moy; this resulted in 74 salmon reported caught from throughout the system.

Catch of the week goes to Leo from Austria with his fine pike

Pike fishing has been good by all accounts; Lough Gowna and Upper Erne Anglers’ Association had a great day out with their juniors, some 24 eager anglers taking part. Over in Longford, Melview Fishing Lodge has hosted anglers from as far apart as Austria to Australia this week, with a few Kilkenny men to add to the mix; needless to say everybody caught some pike, although no monsters were encountered. On Lough Key, the Boyle and District Anglers successfully held their Easter Pike Fest with 126 competitors taking part.

Junior anglers at Lough Gowna

Offshore and the Easter weekend’s mild, warm conditions gave an opportunity for some skippers to dip their toes in for the first time in 2019; the Clare Dragoon was one boat to wet her hull over the weekend and plenty of pollack and coalfish along with a handful of mackerel came aboard. Further north, skippers in Sligo had good numbers of mackerel and, on dry land, shore anglers are reporting the first ray of 2019 from some marks with the odd schoolie bass turning up too.

Inland Fisheries Ireland launches 2019 Funding Call Workshops

A reminder that Inland Fisheries Ireland is hosting information workshops across the country for angling clubs and community groups who are interested in applying to the 2019 Funding Call.

Funding is available for fisheries conservation projects and development projects nationwide through the National Strategy for Angling Development.

The workshops will take place as follows:

  • Dublin: Citywest Hotel, 29th of April
  • Cavan: Cavan Crystal Hotel, 30th of April
  • Donegal: Harvey’s Point, 1st of May
  • Ballina: The Great National Hotel, 2nd of May
  • Galway: The Maldron Hotel, Oranmore, 3rd of May
  • Limerick: The Maldron Hotel, 7th of May
  • Tralee: Ballygarry Hotel, 8th of May
  • Cork City: Rochestown Park Hotel 9th of May
  • Kilkenny: Ormonde Hotel, 10th of May

Staff from Inland Fisheries Ireland will outline the various funding schemes and provide guidance around how to submit an expression of interest for funding. Applications are invited from angling clubs, local development associations, tidy towns and others who may be looking to carry out projects.

Visit for further information.

And now the weather…

Friday morning will be mostly cloudy with rain spreading over Leinster and Ulster. In the afternoon, more rain will spread from the west with strengthening southerly winds. In the evening it will become very windy or stormy in west and south Munster, with very strong, gusty west to northwest winds. Highest temperatures of 10 to 12 degrees. Strong, gusty northwest winds will extend to all areas later in the night and rain will clear eastwards from most areas. Lowest temperatures of 3 to 6 degrees.

Batten down the hatches in the south west on Friday night

On Saturday morning, rain in the east and northeast will clear and the strong, gusty northwest winds will gradually ease. It will be a cool bright day with sunny spells and scattered showers. Highest temperatures of 9 to 12 degrees.

Sunday will be mild and mostly cloudy with patchy rain or drizzle in many areas. Amounts will be small. Highest temperatures of 12 to 16 degrees with moderate southerly breezes.

On Monday, a band of rain will move eastwards across the country, clearing later with scattered showers following. Highest temperatures of 11 to 14 degrees with moderate southerly winds.

Current indications suggest that Tuesday and Wednesday next will bring sunny spells and scattered showers. Highest temperatures between 13 and 15 degrees with mostly light breezes.

Safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland.

Paul O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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